I decided to get to the next cross-country train by way of Los Angeles by taking the Coast Starlight, a train that goes from Seattle to LA. I only took the Southern portion of the route.
After Billy Joel the previous night, my intention was to get some sleep on this train, but that didn’t really happen. Oh well. This ride did give me some insight into the extent of the drought. We passed by hundreds of miles of grass that had a dull yellow color to it, other than on the top of some hills and mountains.
The most exciting part of this trip was being next to water for a good extent of the length of it. On the train itself, the best part was the Pacific Parlour Car, a 1940s/1950s-ish style car with couches, armchairs, and a full bar. It even had wi-fi enabled when we were in an area with reception.
We got into LA’s Union Station about an hour early. I found my hotel pretty quickly – nothjng special – but it was near the hotel and good for a night. I’d had dinner on the train, so desperate for some sleep, I headed to bed.
The next day I got up early to take a trip to Santa Monica to visit Ed, one of my cousins. I got to see his recording studio (he does recording and the Santa Monica pier. We also had breakfast at this great Mexican place that also serves a traditional breakfast. They had like four full pieces of toast and a few pieces of bacon for about $7.00. That’s a lot of food! The pier was busy but not unmanageable, and I was able to see the Pacific Ocean and the promenade.
After that, I thought I should get back to downtown LA so I could get my luggage, which I left at the hotel and head back to Union Station. By the way, they need better signage for the subway. The sign says Red Line, but is the entrance for all the lines served out of Union Station.
I was able to spend a little time in the station’s Metropolitan Lounge, which was pretty swanky. After about half an hour wait, I boarded the Southwest Chief back to Chicago.