Monthly Archives: November 2007

The Amtrak report

I just had my first Amtrak experience over Thanksgiving. I was not looking forward to being stuck in traffic for hours on end driving to Sacramento for Thanksgiving, so I had the brilliant idea of taking the train. I’ve become quite the train fan this past year, so I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, I am toying with the idea of going carless, so this would be a good experiment to see if long-distance trips are doable sans auto.

The train ticket is only $28 each way, and the trip time is three hours from San Jose to Sacramento. This seems to be in the same ball park for time and money. But, the only thing I didn’t take into consideration was the time it takes to get to and from the train station on either side. Since San Jose’s light rail does not directly connect to the train station, I had to give myself over a half hour to get there. I got there way too early this time, and it turns out that 10-15 minutes early would be plenty of time.

I was hoping to sleep on the train, but it makes frequent stops, and with those stops are frequent announcements and people shuffling by. I might have dozed off eventually, but we were stopped in Emeryville for an hour and a half due to a freight train derailment ahead of us. With the delay three times longer than the original 25-minute estimate and my severe lack of sleep, I was craaaan-ky.

But the ride back to San Jose was much less eventful. Thanks to my two adorable nephews waking me up early for two days, I was so sleepy that I slept most of the way back. This was so much better than past drives home where I’ve had to stop in a parking lot for a nap because I was so tired. So was the train better than driving: hell yeah. Definitely the way to go if you are faced with a solo drive to the central valley.

I bit about the train: The seats are much more comfortable than Caltrain. They recline and have footrests.  It was fairly full, but most people each had the two seats to themselves. There is food available on the train, but I don’t recommend it. It makes an annoyingly large number of stops, and I don’t understand why there isn’t an express at least between SF and Sac.

It’s that time of year

So many excuses to celebrate these days. Tomorrow is my one-year anniversary at Coverity, and I’ll finally know what it is like to have stock options. Then we have Thanksgiving and my nephew’s birthday. And then, what really matters: my birthday! I want to have a party in San Francisco, but I am still figuring it out the details. So keep either the 11th itself, or the Saturday before (the 8th) open on your calendars. As an early birthday present to myself, I am finally going to replace my lost camera (don’t know what I want though–they don’t make one as small as my old one anymore).

Then of course is the Christmas craziness, and I haven’t figured out what I am going to do, although I think it won’t be much. I want to save up my vacation for a Colorado ski trip in January, and thanks to my crazy summer, I have almost no vacation time. Besides, traveling around the holidays is no fun. Speaking of which, I am going to take the train to Sacramento for Thanksgiving for the first time. I think it will be just as fast and cheaper than driving, so I am looking forward to it (and seeing the family of course!).

I am hoping for a good ski season this year, and I plan on doing a lot of skiing, unlike last year. I have new skis that I have been staring at all summer, so I can’t wait to use them again. So I guess I have made that transition from disbelief that it is the holiday season to looking forward to everything that is coming up!