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Is SWC worth it between ABQ and LAX?

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T

Traveler

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I'm deciding between flying or taking the train between ABQ and LAX.

I understand that Raton Pass is the thing to see on this route, but the train will have already passed that once it reaches ABQ. I'm also disappointed that most of the travel between ABQ and LAX will occur during evening hours, limiting viewing opportunities.

Anyhow, I'm looking for insight from folks who have done this route and think it is worthwhile to do. I usually travel in a sleeper, but I will be doing coach this time.

Thanks.
 
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I live in Albuquerque and have taken SWC - LAX round trip three times in the past three years.

Much of what you'll see west of ABQ until sunset is flat, empty, high desert land. SWC arrives in L.A. early in the A.M., so not a lot to see in the morning either.

The barren landscape can be beautiful if you've never seen it before but, living here, I find a good book of more interest during those hours.

That said, I love taking the train and hope to ride this route again.

Just my personal opinion, of course. :)
 

KmH

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Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
I've always found the scenery between ABQ and Gallup very nice to look at.

Sunset in Gallup this time of year is at about 7 PM which is when the SWC is scheduled to arrive there.

The moon will be full on April 22.

A full moon always rises in the East at sunset.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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I'm deciding between flying or taking the train between ABQ and LAX. I understand that Raton Pass is the thing to see on this route, but the train will have already passed that once it reaches ABQ. I'm also disappointed that most of the travel between ABQ and LAX will occur during evening hours, limiting viewing opportunities. Anyhow, I'm looking for insight from folks who have done this route and think it is worthwhile to do. I usually travel in a sleeper, but I will be doing coach this time.
As you mentioned it's mostly at night and sleeping in an Amtrak coach seat isn't pleasant or comfortable for me. That being the case I'd probably fly. If this were a daytime trip I'd probably take the train.
 
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Albuquerque, NM
I've always found the scenery between ABQ and Gallup very nice to look at.

Sunset in Gallup this time of year is at about 7 PM which is when the SWC is scheduled to arrive there.

The moon will be full on April 22.

A full moon always rises in the East at sunset.
I was not aware of that. Does every full moon rise in the East at sunset?
 
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T

Traveler

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Many thanks. I'd be traveling on April 25, not too far off the full moon date of April 22!

I think the trip would have been worth it if I had more travel time during the day.
 

willem

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A full moon always rises in the East at sunset.
I was not aware of that. Does every full moon rise in the East at sunset?
Yes. The moon is full because it is opposite the sun. When the sun is setting on one horizon, the moon is rising on the other.

If the moon were not opposite the sun, then the part facing us would not appear fully illuminated, and therefore the moon would not be not full.
 

FrensicPic

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When we did LA to ABQ, we got a Roomette (vs Coach) and left it in daytime mode...enjoyed the AZ and NM scenery when daylight was available each way.
 

KmH

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Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
A full moon always rises in the East at sunset.
I was not aware of that. Does every full moon rise in the East at sunset?
Yes. The moon is full because it is opposite the sun. When the sun is setting on one horizon, the moon is rising on the other.

If the moon were not opposite the sun, then the part facing us would not appear fully illuminated, and therefore the moon would not be not full.
Yep.

Here is a mind bender for you to ponder - A day on the planet Venus is longer than a year on Venus.

Plus Venus is the only planet in our solar system that rotates from east to west on it's axis (clockwise).

So on Venus the Sun rises in the west and sets in the East, if anyone on Venus could see the Sun through the complete, constant, and very thick cloud cover.

Venus completes one orbit around the Sun (a Venus year) every 224.7 Earth days.

Venus rotates once on it's axis (a Venus day) every 243 Earth days—the slowest rotation of any solar system planet @ about 4 mph at it's equator. Earth's equator rotates at about 1,040 mph.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus#Orbit_and_rotation
 
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willem

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Continuing on the Venus theme, Venus is brightest when it is a crescent. When Venus is full, it is on the opposite side of the sun, and the light must travel a much longer distance to get from Venus to Earth. (Of course, when Venus is truly full, the sun is between Venus and Earth, so I'm talking about Venus being almost full.) When Venus is a crescent, it is because it is close to the line from the sun to Earth, and the light has a much shorter path. Although a much smaller fraction of Venus is illuminated, it appears brighter because it is so much closer.
 

KmH

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Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
When Venus is on the other side of the Sun from us and fully lit it is also very much smaller in the sky.

I don't know how much the apparent surface area is when compared between the close bright crescent Venus and the dimmer fully lit by further away Venus.

But I suspect the crescent has more surface area than a fully lit Venus opposite the Sun from us.

The inverse square law says that if the distance away a light is is doubled the light energy diminishes as a square function - 4 fold or 1/4, not 1/2.

Double the distance again and the reduction in light energy is 16x less, 4 squared.
 

the_traveler

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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
The reason the moon can cause a total solar eclipse - even though it's 30 times smaller than the sun - is because it's also 30 times closer to the earth than the sun is. So size does not really matter.

But we are really getting off topic here from the original question asked by the guest.
 

AmtrakBlue

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The reason the moon can cause a total solar eclipse - even though it's 30 times smaller than the sun - is because it's also 30 times closer to the earth than the sun is. So size does not really matter.

But we are really getting off topic here from the original question asked by the guest.
Yes and no. I watched the lunar eclipse while on the SWC between ABQ and LAX - yeah, even though it was 3 am (I guess I was still on eastern time :giggle: )

I know at least two others who watched the same lunar eclipse from the CZ.
 
T

Train

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So is the consensus that Albuquerque to Los Angeles just isn't worth it? For sights, just doesn't sound like it.
 

ehbowen

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West of Albuquerque you will experience essentially the only 90 mph running to be found in North America on a 95% freight traffic railroad. And I have the GPS capture to prove it...

BTW, while breakfast into LA is served at 5 am, it will feel like 6 am to passengers originating in New Mexico due to the time change.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I was actually thinking about doing this trip as well on the SWC. Is there breakfast before arrival into LAUS? There is dinner from what I have read leaving LAUS.
A modified breakfast (not the full menu).
So no eggs and only things that can be nuked?
I'm pretty sure I got my scrambled eggs in 2014. Since I always get that I'd think I'd remember if it was different that morning.
 

FrensicPic

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I was actually thinking about doing this trip as well on the SWC. Is there breakfast before arrival into LAUS? There is dinner from what I have read leaving LAUS.
A modified breakfast (not the full menu).
So no eggs and only things that can be nuked?
I'm pretty sure I got my scrambled eggs in 2014. Since I always get that I'd think I'd remember if it was different that morning.
A little better than nuked food....IIRC they had an omlet available, perhaps the French Toast, and something else. Its a simplified menu ... several items from the regular breakfast menu. And yes, it starts earlier than usual and is not announced (except that the time is announced the night prior before quiet hours begin).
 

willem

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I was reading about freighter crossings to get to Europe. One site had a FAQ page. (I have truncated the answer to the quoted question.)

What do you do on a freighter? Isn't it boring?
If you entertain such a question, the answer will undoubtedly be "yes!"
I think the same concept applies here. I'm with FrensicPic; I would take the train, and I would not entertain the question of whether it was worth it.

Anyone interested in the Venus digression (and more generally, the astronomical digressions) from a few posts earlier might want to look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day for today. It shows a full Venus being obscured by a crescent moon.
 
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