WHERE'S MY BAG: AMTRAK & THE CALIFORNIA COAST

The “Where’s My Bag?” series highlights Clark & Mayfield bags in interesting locations around the world. This is a guest post by Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com. Michelle and her husband are "digital nomads," running their business online as they travel. As a proud owner of our Morrison laptop bag, Michelle shares about some of the destinations she's visited with this Clark & Mayfield bag in tow.

California Surfliner and Coast Starlight

Overnight train travel in the States is for those who appreciate staring at ever-changing scenery out the window, who don't mind getting to their destination at a slow roll if it means not dealing with traffic or airport security lines, and who find a cozy nostalgia in the somewhat antiquated ambiance of Amtrak's sleeper cars.

On the West Coast, you can take the rail from San Diego all the way up to Seattle - or even Vancouver, BC. The trip will include a change of trains in Los Angeles, and at least one overnight. If you get a roomette (a two-chair cabin that transforms into bunk beds) or a private bedroom, your three meals per day are included in the ticket cost as well as access to the train's scenic Parlour Car and movie theater car. 

The views are absolutely gorgeous, from watching surfers catch waves at sunrise to waking up the following day in a snowy wonderland near Shasta.

Why We Went

We always enjoy train travel when we're in places like Europe or Japan, but until this trip we had only tried Amtrak for short jaunts. An overnight train trip was high on our bucket list, so we finally decided to give it a try. 

At the time of this trip, we had a free one-way flight to San Diego, and we were able to transfer miles to Amtrak to get a private roomette for free (includes two passengers and all meals). So we made a long weekend of it and visited family down in San Diego, taking two days on the train to return back to Portland.

We loved this experience, despite the quirks, and we would definitely do it again for the right price. We used our train time to do some writing, reading, and take naps, plus we met some other interesting travelers during the communal meal times. If you're interested in learning more about this trip, with photos and video, visit our Overnight On Amtrak blog post.