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About YourFoodSherpa

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    Train Attendant

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  • Location
    Central Florida
  • Interests
    Baseball, food, travel
  1. YourFoodSherpa

    Two weeks until my first long distance trip!

    The portable power strip is invaluable, especially if you have a lot of electronics - and, most people have more electronics than they think they have! Between the cell phone, the laptop, the portable DVD player, the camera - and whatever else - you may need more power outlets than are available at any given time. I own this, and it was one of the best purchases I ever made. In addition to coming in handy in your roomette, it can be useful in the hotel or in a group setting where there are limited sources of power. I have made my share of friends by offering to share additional power at crowded "power trees" at the airport (yeah...I know, airport is a bad word around here), so perhaps the train equivalent is the lounge car. This was recommended by a travel blogger, due to its compact size - about the size of a dollar bill, so it fits easily in your carry-on bag. They also make a newer product now that has USB, but one fewer AC outlet.
  2. YourFoodSherpa

    Rental car in Richmond, VA

    Enterprise, huh? I can rent one-way with relative ease with my corporate code from Hertz, Avis and National...but, not Enterprise. :-( A one-way rental on Enterprise, even for one day (and then swap out rentals at RDU) is exorbitant. I think it would be cheaper to pay for the cab ride out to RIC. Thanks for the reply, though. I really do appreciate the help.
  3. YourFoodSherpa

    Rental car in Richmond, VA

    I am traveling from WAS-RVM on #95, which puts me in downtown Richmond around 5:30 pm. Is the only option for a rental car to take a taxi to RIC airport and pick one up there? I cannot figure out if there is a car rental location at the train station - or if there is a car rental operator at RVR? My plan is to drive to North Carolina for the night and then continue driving to Florida (no, taking the train the entire distance is not an option), and I would like to get started towards North Carolina as soon as possible upon arrival. Thanks for any suggestions.
  4. YourFoodSherpa

    Just 'Cause We Need Another Dining Car Thread...

    I don't know, but this appears to be the newest way to keep the never-ending new threads on the dining car relevant.
  5. I am sure that weather has most to do with this - absent the occasional car/truck/bus versus train incident, but I rode the Zephyr last January from Chicago to Emeryville and we were almost a half-hour early. I cut myself particularly close, as I flew from SFO to San Diego that evening. If there had been a delay, it would have gummed up my connecting travel plans, but it all worked out finer than fine.
  6. YourFoodSherpa

    Amtrak meal photos?

    Forgive the grainy photo, but it was a dark dining car and this was a cell phone photo. That said, this was the best meal (crab cakes - chef's special on CZ westbound) I have had on Amtrak - and, if on a report card, I would still maybe grade this a B- or a B. For some reason, people on this board really seem to think of the meals served on Amtrak trains as something special. I have not found that to be the case. I would grade this above the average meal served in first class on an airline, but if this were a restaurant, they'd be out of business. I always like to order the special, rather than the standard menu, despite comedian Jim Gaffigan's warning that "if it's so special, why isn't it on the menu?" This was described as a chicken pot pie. That is an insult to chicken pot pies. This was nearly inedible. The LSA came by and asked me if I liked it and I was absolutely honest about my opinion. She told me that she had been considering ordering one for herself - until she saw what was on my plate. She offered me another meal, but I declined, as I was sure I'd be eating again in a few hours. She did tip me off to one of Amtrak's finer dessert offerings.... The icing on the chocolate bundt cake was still warm when served. It helped wash away the taste of that befouled chicken pot pie. I also tried the cheeseburger, which most folks around here find to be one of the better options for lunch. It was weak. I wasn't expecting a gourmet burger, but this was weak even for banquet food standards. Unfortunately, the burger was absent on photo day.
  7. YourFoodSherpa

    NER or Keystone?

    I booked myself on 643, which appears to only have stops at Newark and Trenton. There is a NER train that leaves NYP five minutes later and gets into PHL twelve minutes later, so I guess the additional stops don't add THAT much time.
  8. YourFoodSherpa

    NER or Keystone?

    Ahhhh.....OK. I don't think I would care about riding backwards. I don't need a cafe car for an hour-and-a-half train ride. BUT...the thought of having an extra seat to myself is appealing. And, I suppose that fewer stops theoretically mean fewer opportunities for delay. Thanks for the help. Looks like I will try to lock in the Keystone.
  9. YourFoodSherpa

    NER or Keystone?

    I am traveling from NYP-PHL on New Year's Eve. Is there a compelling reason to choose the Keystone over the Northeast Regional train? Cost is the same, for the moment. I have ridden the NER train before, but not the Keystone. That said, I am not inclined to choose an inferior option just for the sake of doing so. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  10. I was on the CS last week (boarded Thurs morning in LA; departed Friday night in SEA). The Wi-Fi did not work the entire trip. I am inclined to think that a reset of the router might have solved the problem, but who knows? The downstairs movie theater was also out of order, which also appears to be pretty standard.
  11. YourFoodSherpa


    I just got back from a cross-country trip myself, and as much as I enjoyed the trip, I really do think that lack of available wi-fi on long distance trains is a major failing of Amtrak. Almost all of the airlines (at least on some of their aircraft) now offer some sort of wi-fi on their planes for much shorter journeys. Some even offer the service over water. I just don't understand, other than a lack of funding, what the deal is with no reliable internet access on board long distance trains. Even the Coast Starlight, which promises wi-fi in the Pacific Parlour Car had no wi-fi service. My gut says that the router just needed to be reset and no one on board knew how to do it, but that is a separate issue. I loved riding the train. But, being disconnected for a day-and-a-half (Capitol Limited). almost two-and-a-half more days (California Zephyr), and another day-and-a-half (Coast Starlight) is just unacceptable. Yes, I have a data plan on my phone, but there are a surprising number of areas that do not get cell service (or get incredibly weak cell service) through those rural towns in Utah, Colorado, Nevada, etc. This really shouldn't be such a hard fix.
  12. It looks like the two-hour time change on the current northbound route coincides pretty well with the current sunrise. I will be on that route in about two weeks and the sunrise around DUN is scheduled for about 7:25 am. Hopefully, I will be able to get some good views of Mt. Shasta.
  13. YourFoodSherpa

    Connect from EMY to SFO?

    Yeah...I'm not that guy. I don't get uptight about these kinds of things. Whatever happens, happens. If I miss the flight, I will get a later flight. But, nowadays, it is easier for me to get on a later flight than it is for me to get on an earlier flight, if everything runs on time. So, I will just think that there is a schedule for a reason, and unless there is any kind of unforeseen circumstance, I will make the flight. A crime only in the minds of the most rapid rail fan. To the general public, you understand, this rationale makes no sense. Especially when you consider that you would not actually be missing any unique track segment since you'll be traveling on the same physical section of track when you ride the Coast Starlight. I didn't say that it made any sense! ;-) I haven't completely shut the door on the idea. I will monitor the situation and if it means that this becomes the most viable option, I have the information to be able to make that call. I really do appreciate all of the input - the more information I have, the better equipped I am to make a good decision.
  14. YourFoodSherpa

    Connect from EMY to SFO?

    Yes, that's very safe to assume. Actually, looking at the schedule, the connecting bus from the California Zephyr doesn't have the Financial District stop listed. The S.F. Shopping Center stop on Market Street, though, is within steps of the Powell BART station. (Although the Ferry Building stop isn't that far from BART -- a couple blocks from the Embarcadero station, if I recall correctly.) The original poster is referring to the bus stop that Amtrak calls "Financial District," which is in front of the Hyatt Regency (at California and Drumm, just off the Embarcadero). Edited to respond to guest post that came in while I was writing the first portion of this post. That is the stop to which I was referring, and after your information that the CZ bus doesn't have a scheduled stop at the Hyatt, I went back and looked and realized that I just don't know how to read a train schedule! :-) It would appear that the Hyatt is a pick-up point for those heading TO the EMY station, but not on the return. As I said, I probably won't mind the two-block walk to the Embarcadero station, provided everything is running on or close to schedule.
  15. YourFoodSherpa

    Connect from EMY to SFO?

    I knew there would be plenty of information here. I am bummed about losing a good dinner in San Francisco, but at least as airports go, SFO has a lot more decent options than others. Thanks for all the help. I will assess the situation as the Zephyr nears its northern California end. Upon further review, it would seem a shame to miss out on the complete run of the Zephyr, even if only by technicality, by getting off at the Richmond station. This is part of a more extensive trip where I will be riding the full lengths of the Capitol Limited and the Coast Starlight. Missing the entire length of the Zephyr by one stop would seem like a crime. That said, if it is the best way to ensure that I make my flight, I am all for it - but, if a little bit of inconvenience on my part at the end is all I would have to endure, then I think I may ride through to EMY, catch the bus to the financial district and do the BART from there. Can I safely assume that even though I am ticketed on the bus through to the ferry terminal that I could just tell the bus driver that I want to get off at the financial district and all would be fine?