Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

When you decide to travel the world, or part of it for 8 months, getting around is a major question.

While the sale of the restaurants were underway, Dirk and I decided to travel. He was adamant that I needed to take a year off, something I have never done before in my life. I have to admit, it caused me stress. I have been working since I was 12 years old, my first job was a paper route.

Once the planning of our travels started and all the possible places to go were discussed, traveling the world far outweighed the idea of working. Dates were discussed as to when this adventure would begin and April 1st was set as the estimated departure date.

Our decision to travel through California started with Dirk’s youngest sister as she had planned her stagette in Disneyland at the end of April. There was no question in my mind that I wanted to attend, and as his sisters say, ‘Dirk is one of the girls’, so he was also invited. Knowing these facts we began planning visits with friends in California we have not seen in years.

But how to get around? First thought, fly to San Francisco and rent a car for the month. That amounted to about $2000. More googling and investigating. That is where I first saw the California Rail Pass. So why not the train, on second thought, fly to San Francisco and rail travel until the end of April. This cost about $700. That is how we decided on the train.

In the end, we took a ferry to Seattle and road the train right down the coast, making several stops along the way. On our first leg, we did have some excitement. The train actually had to slam on the brakes. Yeah!! Crazy!! A car had decided to proceed over the rails as the arm came down. The driver failed to consider the fact that the cars in front of him were not moving. This gave him no room to fully pull off the tracks. The train just missed the car, but the slamming of the breaks had us stopped for a period of time.

Our longest trek was from Portland to Chico, 14 hours. We decided to upgrade at the Portland station to a sleeping car. It was pricey, but really worth it. We were treated to a wine tasting, free movies in the theatre, three course meals, and of course our own private sleeping car with access to a shower. Beds were turned down for us upon returning from the movie. The attendant was fully aware of our stop, waking us in plenty of time to get ready before we disembarked.

I came across several people that thought taking the train was an odd method of transportation in North America. Something they have never done or even thought about. It is a slower method then driving. There are many stops along the way. But, I really enjoyed it. It was relaxing and allowed both Dirk and I time to take in the scenery.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles have lead us to Asia, we even threw in a boat to mix it up. I am excited about our new adventure and what our next mode of transportation maybe.

Check out our photo’s of California.

Travel Tip:

Train travel in most countries, except probably Canada, is an economical way to travel. Over the years, trains have improved and offer comfortable reclining chairs, viewing lounges, dinning and parlour cars. I would recommend that if you are on a tight budget bring your own food and beverages. The food is okay but over priced, sharing a sandwich with two waters was $16US ($20CAD) . If you would like to surf the internet, the trains offers WiFi free of charge. 



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