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  1. The redwoods are gorgeous in winter and the parks are much less crowded than in summer. You have to decide whether you want the wide ones (Sequoia and Yosemite) or the tall ones (along the coast). I'm assuming you mean the inland species. YARTS runs year round from Merced to Yosemite Valley, and you can get from LA to Merced by Amtrak. To get to Sequoia in winter, you need a car, and you need to carry chains or have 4wd and snow tires. Sequoia is where all of the really big trees are. Some car rental agencies in the LA area have ski packages that include appropriate vehicles for driving in snow. There are plenty of outdoor winter activities in both Yosemite and Sequoia to spend weeks, so don't fret about that. The web has numerous recommendations for loop trips encompassing Sequoia, Kings Canyon (adjoins Sequoia and also has big redwoods) and Yosemite, including winter trips. People I've taken up have been blown away by the scenery, there isn't anything else like it. I recommend trying to fit in redwoods if at all feasible. It will be a great way to unwind after the madhouse of the Rose Parade. (Note: Hats of to your friend Milton. Tease your friends back home with selfies of yourselves enjoying the sunshine in shorts and T-shirts. If you get a chance, tour the floats while they are still decorating them before the parade.)
  2. Alice

    Leaving AU

    cpotisch, Hope others have convinced you to reconsider. But if you are counting votes, add me to the "please stay, I value your comments" column.
  3. If you get on Vagabond Inn's email list, they'll send you discount codes now and then. There was one last week but I didn't keep it. Sent from my SM-N900V using Amtrak Forum mobile app
  4. Scanner and earbuds, gps, maps, timetable, notepaper, camera. No books, no cards, no videos or movies. Used to take books but never got to them.
  5. Seaboard, thanks for the great list. Yes links would be nice if they are easy to do and you have spare time, but those are all real easy to find ourselves should we be in a position to take a trip. You give dates and cities, much more important for initial planning. You have some Owosso activity and that throttle experience you list sounds like a festival. In 2009 I went to a huge steam festival there. It was hands-down the best run steam festival I've ever been to. They have a great facility and also have access to good tracks and incredibly supportive people along them for both riders and chasers. Leviathan was new and she steamed onto the turntable to show off (that is some precision control, wonderful to be ringside). 2010 they had a smaller festival, and the big festival was someplace else. Do you know when (year) they might be hosting that big festival again? I wish I remembered the name but can't find it. I think it was the same festival in Rock Island in 2011, at least a lot of the same engines and PVs were there.
  6. I haven't parked there for a while, but there used to be plenty of free parking for as long as you want. You might call the station to make sure nothing has changed. I think your car is safer there than at Emeryville. If you have time before your trip, drive up on a Sunday 10-2 for farmers market on Main near station, then walk over to the park for waterfront picnic. Swing by dilapidated steam engine, too. There are other things in the area if you want to make a day of it. Crockett has little museum in former depot. Port Costa for beer. Some parks with hikes. Etc. These are small towns, check hours first. Sent from my SM-N900V using Amtrak Forum mobile app
  7. Great story as usual, Seaboard. Sorry about Kathleen. Glad your friends were able to provide you with good support when it mattered.
  8. Alice

    Coast Starlight and Northern CA fires

    I-5 is open one lane each direction, from your link, click through to CalTrans. Sent from my SM-N900V using Amtrak Forum mobile app
  9. Alice

    Silmaril's Trip

    Geez, what a terrible way to end a trip! Hope you give us another chance when you come back to do Canada. Sent from my SM-N900V using Amtrak Forum mobile app
  10. Alice

    Silmaril's Trip

    So sorry you feel homesick, especially bad enough to consider going home early. No advice about that. Did you try the hot springs yet? Sent from my SM-N900V using Amtrak Forum mobile app
  11. I have traveled in a Superliner H-room with three different people who couldn't climb to the upper bunk. It helps if all parties are easy-going and flexible, and can see the humor in any oddball setups. In all cases so far I have taken the floor. I like to put my head under the sink so it doesn't get stepped on when the other person gets up in the middle of the night. I try to use the thin mattress that is supposed to cover the lower berth upholstery but can't always snag it, then I fold up whatever soft stuff I can into a little padding. Sometimes I take my chair apart and sometimes I leave it together and slip my feet under it. My chair doesn't have brakes so rolls around (usually over me) if not blocked in well. This is a good reason to take it apart. Nowadays the H-room has a bracket that grabs and holds it. The most challenging was traveling with my mother. The first time we tried to sleep feet to feet in the lower bed, and we were both awake all night. What we eventually worked out was her big scooter along the back wall, my head under the sink and feet by her bed (so my body was kind of diagonal across the room), and my chair either apart somewhere or parked in front of the toilet. This meant when my mother got up in the middle of the night, she'd step on my feet and wake me, which was exactly what I wanted because she needed help for that. The curtains that go across the room are just in the way for wheelers. We do privacy other ways, like looking away. So, I'm figuring you are "senior" by age, not agility, and won't have trouble getting up from the floor. If you'll need a little help, you'll want your daughter's wheelchair at the right place and height, and that will determine whether you take it apart or leave it together by your bed, or put it in the upper bunk (after you've filched the upper bedclothes). There are no grab bars convenient for rising from the floor. The floors are often filthy and have things sharp enough to put a hole in your air mattress. So I'd recommend a cheap ground cloth (old shower curtain?). If the air mattress does fail, or goes flat before morning, or you just want more padding, then borrow your daughter's mattress and see if she is okay with the remaining padding in her bed. There is another mattress in the upper bunk but it is too high and heavy for me to get down, don't know if your attendant could manage it. Remember it also has to go back up. I do not think you will have any trouble. If the air mattress doesn't quite fit, just bend one end up or fold a section under. If you are too tall, you may need to sleep bent. If you absolutely can't sleep, you can put a pillow on the toilet lid and swivel around to look out the window, then take a nap the next day in your daughter's bed or the upper bunk. GPS and/or scanner are especially nice looking out a night window. The Zephyr is a stunning route and it is a shame to sleep through any of it. In RRRick's photos, The luggage is placed against a heater. You can see a little of the metal casing under the sink. Sometimes that gets hot and I have caused burning rubber smells when I thought that was a good place to put shoes. If you are traveling in winter when that might come on, I suggest being careful of your bed and body parts against that back wall.
  12. Once when I was to be bussed due to slides into Seattle, none were wheelchair accessible despite my wheelchair reservation. They took me off the train last so they could see me in line in a wheelchair for quite a while. They did not order an accessible taxi until I got to the front of the line, then it was another hour plus before it arrived. The lesson, if it looks like you will be bussed, get word to the conductor immediately if you need any special equipment. Sent from my SM-N900V using Amtrak Forum mobile app
  13. Alice

    Questions (wheelchair access, etc.)

    Amtrak doesn't provide anything reasonable in coach. I have used the cupholder on my chair for beverages and my lap for food. The H-room isn't much better for dining. There is no way to get a wc close to the table. I either transfer or pull up sideways so I have a place to put things. The H-room is big enough for your husband to recline all the way although you won't be able to move around him unless you are small and nimble. He won't be able to get close to the windows on either side. I sometimes hang out in the vestibule for that reason. There is a commode in the room that is minimally accessible, same with the sink. There is no accessible shower on board. Sleepers include all meals including non-alcoholic beverages and dessert. Since you've tried coach, I suggest you try a sleeper to see which you like better.
  14. I've arrived past closing in other cities with car transferred to airport, original price honored, and once in Portland cab fare reimbursed. I keep them up-to-date with schedule starting way ahead in case of lousy cell service down the line.
  15. I'd say it depends on the family. With two roomettes across from each other you can use them differently, say one for sitting and one for napping. You have access to PPC, lounge car, diner. Don't put anyone in coach.