Thoughts on The Zephyr in January...

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chickpea

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You could go part way. Once I took it only as far as Grand Junction. Salt Lake might be a good stop.
What's to do in Grand Junction, out of curiosity? It seems from the station platform as if there isn't much there, but obvs I haven't ventured further! (Photos below, just for fun...) Salt Lake at 11pm westbound not so bad but eastbound at 3am, not for me! :)

2022-01-13 10.54.31.jpg 2022-01-13 10.49.02.jpg
 

tgstubbs1

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What's to do in Grand Junction, out of curiosity? It seems from the station platform as if there isn't much there, but obvs I haven't ventured further! (Photos below, just for fun...) Salt Lake at 11pm westbound not so bad but eastbound at 3am, not for me! :)

View attachment 26743 View attachment 26745
There's a restaurant next to the station called The Pufferbelly. Grand Junction is close to Colorado National Monument, Arches, Rifle and other scenic places. Moab and Green River are towns nearby.

Green River has a stop but no station so GJT is probably your best station near Moab.

As far as things to do in Grand Junction. I'm not sure. Do you like pool, or bingo? ๐Ÿ™‚
 
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What's to do in Grand Junction, out of curiosity?
Not much directly around the station area, but there are car rentals nearby (Enterprise is 4 blocks from the station) and there are a number of places to go nearby. We liked Palisades, we were there in September and did a wine tasting tour. Don't know if those are offered in the winter.
 

chickpea

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There's a restaurant next to the station called The Pufferbelly. Grand Junction is close to Colorado National Monument, Arches, Rifle and other scenic places. Moab and Green River are towns nearby.

Green River has a stop but no station so GJT is probably your best station near Moab.

As far as things to do in Grand Junction. I'm not sure. Do you like pool, or bingo? ๐Ÿ™‚

I love LOVE Arches and that area, though I'd always figured Green River - makes some sense what you suggest though. Is Glenwood Springs not a "better" destination for things to do perhaps? I don't know - and as I said I do love Arches, but you need a car. Another reason to stop at GJT per @AmtrakMaineiac ๐Ÿ‘
 
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You're right. Because if this doesn't go well, it will probably be my last train ride. I'm still thinking what to do. I love seeing snowy mountains. I'm kind of wondering if I really want 3-days worth of seeing snowy mountains in a 25 cubic-foot container (roomette), that's probably going to be cold, clunky, crowded, and semi-dirty. LOL.... I lived in Colordo and so I know the mountains, but I have never seen them on a train. I just don't to spend all this money and get bored (and uncomfortable) after about 6 hours and then rather ENJOY the rest of the 50+ hour ride, I'm dreading it waiting for it to be over. Lot's to think about.
As for crowded - it shouldnt be too bad in your time frame. Should actually be very relaxing time to take the train. Obviously weather is always a risk this time of year but the risk is probably worth it for the winter views. As far as dirty - that doesnโ€™t generally occur as much as one may think reading this board. Keep in mind we are all very passionate about passenger rail and in some threads you may see a larger focus on certain little gripes and complaints and yes sometimes these things occur which is why we discuss them - but they arenโ€™t usually as widespread as one might otherwise think if you just read on this board. I did a cross country trip this past summer which includes two ways on the lake shore- west on zephyr, south on starlight, east on Chief and had absolutely zero issues with cleanliness on any of the trains - there were some delays due to heat (and a passenger death on my trip home) but the crews were all great and overall a trip of a lifetime.
 
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What's to do in Grand Junction, out of curiosity? It seems from the station platform as if there isn't much there, but obvs I haven't ventured further! (Photos below, just for fun...) Salt Lake at 11pm westbound not so bad but eastbound at 3am, not for me! :)

Enstrom's Toffee factory tour and shop of course!

Downtown GJ is fairly nice and a pleasant stroll.
 

jha6

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Any idea why I cannot book passage from Detroit to EMY on January 18 via the Zephyr? I could the past 3 days I have been interested in this. I can book Detroit to Chicago (arrive at 10ish) and Chicago to EMY (depart at 2), all on Jan. 18, but when I try to do it all in one shot, they send me on the Chief train????? I'm confused....

Maybe someone with more knowledge can see, is the problem with my Detroit Wolverine train? I now have NO choices ANY days to even get to Colorado!!
 
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tgstubbs1

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Any idea why I cannot book passage from Detroit to EMY on January 18 via the Zephyr? I could the past 3 days I have been interested in this. I can book Detroit to Chicago (arrive at 10ish) and Chicago to EMY (depart at 2), all on Jan. 18, but when I try to do it all in one shot, they send me on the Chief train????? I'm confused....
With all of the new reductions across the country it seems the schedule system on the web site is "confused", or at least confusing. They are dropping certain trains on certain days and that doesn't help. I guess in some cases you might need to call Amtrak.
 

jha6

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With all of the new reductions across the country it seems the schedule system on the web site is "confused", or at least confusing. They are dropping certain trains on certain days and that doesn't help. I guess in some cases you might need to call Amtrak.
I guessing they might be cutting some Wolverine trains but it makes no sense that I can do two reservations but not one.
 

jis

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I guessing they might be cutting some Wolverine trains but it makes no sense that I can do two reservations but not one.
It is a well known shortcoming of the system and it has existed forever. They have to hand enter all valid connections. Until they do that what appears to be obvious connections may not show up in itinerary search. This is another reason why getting rid of the PDF timetables was a terrible idea. Their web interface is really not upto snuff to substitute for itinerary searches that one could do using printable timetables.

My general attitude is if I can get an itinerary using "Multi-segment" I'd take it, since it takes less time that sitting in interminable infernal telephone queues. But that may be just me.
 
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Any idea why I cannot book passage from Detroit to EMY on January 18 via the Zephyr? I could the past 3 days I have been interested in this. I can book Detroit to Chicago (arrive at 10ish) and Chicago to EMY (depart at 2), all on Jan. 18, but when I try to do it all in one shot, they send me on the Chief train????? I'm confused....

Maybe someone with more knowledge can see, is the problem with my Detroit Wolverine train? I now have NO choices ANY days to even get to Colorado!!
If you take Wolverine 351 to Chicago that will give you enough time to make the connection to the zephyr and likely enough time to get lunch in Chicago. if you book Detroit to Chicago on 351 and then chicago to wherever on the zephyr you want to go. Sometimes the system has glitches with connections but that has way more than enough time to allow a connection.
 

jha6

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THANK YOU to everyone! I AM going to buy my ticket from Detroit to EMY, albeit in two pieces...LOL

Some quick questions:

1. Do I tip the steward that takes care of my roomette? How much?
2. Do I tip at every meal? How much (considering they are free)?
3. -
4. Should I take anything other than regular clothes? My guess is blankets/pillows provided? I get cold so I do want to be warm.
5. Alcohol: Can I take some? I did JUST retired ya' know! LOL I know beer would be a pain but I would like some wine/vodka in my roomette. Is it allowed?
6. WIFI: Does the Zephyr have it? Free? Throughout the entire trip? I went 40 years without internet, no big deal if I lose it for a while. Just wondering...
7. Any good places along the route to get outside and stretch my legs?
8. Someone said get to the observation car FAST when I leave Denver. True?
9. Any decent hotels in Emeryville that someone could reccomend, or someoplace near there? I MAY go to SF but I was there 30 years ago and thought it was mostly congested and dirty. Not sure if it's changed. Convince me if I'm wrong, like I said, it's been 30 years.
10. I will, eventually fly back to Detroit. I am not going to book ANYTHING at this point. I was actually thinking of taking the train/bus toward San Diego while I am all the way out there. Could someone PLEASE throw out some suggestions of places to go/things to do AFTER EMY? I am open for anything. I just want it to be relaxing so anyone that has California train experience (In January mind you) I would appreciate the suggestions. I can fly back to Detroit from anywhere so I don't care where you tell me to go..... LOL....you know what I meant. LOL LOL


Again, thank you, thank you for all the great folks here and their suggestions!
 
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THANK YOU to everyone! I AM going to buy my ticket from Detroit to EMY, albeit in two pieces...LOL

Some quick questions:

1. Do I tip the steward that takes care of my roomette? How much? I'd suggest $10 per person per night as a good baseline - can always do more for outstanding service
2. Do I tip at every meal? How much (considering they are free)? It will be the same dining car crew across the trip. I think on my two night trip on the SWC I did a $20 or $30 tip for the dining car I forget which.
3. -
4. Should I take anything other than regular clothes? My guess is blankets/pillows provided? I get cold so I do want to be warm. Blankets and pillows are provided - if you're cold sensitive may want to bring a sweat shirt or something just in case the room is cooler than you'd like.
5. Alcohol: Can I take some? I did JUST retired ya' know! LOL I know beer would be a pain but I would like some wine/vodka in my roomette. Is it allowed? You can have your own but may ONLY consume it in your roomette. In the Sightseer Lounge car you have to purchase drinks from the cafe car window on the lower level if you want any. You will get the first alcoholic beverage free with dinner in the dining car.
6. WIFI: Does the Zephyr have it? Free? Throughout the entire trip? I went 40 years without internet, no big deal if I lose it for a while. Just wondering... No wifi on the zephyr - though there are sections in which you can get cell service - some areas not.
7. Any good places along the route to get outside and stretch my legs? There are some longer stops in which you can do so generally the crew will let you know when these are. I remember getting off to stretch in Denver, Winter Park, Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction.
8. Someone said get to the observation car FAST when I leave Denver. True? If you want a seat in the SSL for the climb up the mountains out of Denver would recommend grabbing a seat. Some people may be boarding in Denver that will go right for the SSL as some people ride from Denver to Glenwood or Grand Junction for the views. If its busy in the lounge car the conductors may limit the time groups spend so that others have time - not sure how busy it will be - you check the train filled percentage between Denver and Glenwood.
9. Any decent hotels in Emeryville that someone could reccomend, or someoplace near there? I MAY go to SF but I was there 30 years ago and thought it was mostly congested and dirty. Not sure if it's changed. Convince me if I'm wrong, like I said, it's been 30 years. There are three decent hotels in Emeryville near the station. A Hyatt House, a Hyatt Place, and a Four Points.
10. I will, eventually fly back to Detroit. I am not going to book ANYTHING at this point. I was actually thinking of taking the train/bus toward San Diego while I am all the way out there. Could someone PLEASE throw out some suggestions of places to go/things to do AFTER EMY? I am open for anything. I just want it to be relaxing so anyone that has California train experience (In January mind you) I would appreciate the suggestions. I can fly back to Detroit from anywhere so I don't care where you tell me to go..... LOL....you know what I meant. LOL LOL If you are thinking of heading down towards San Diego the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner are also beautiful train routes. It's not an overnight down to LAX but you CAN still get a sleeper as a day room which would give you access to the dining car. If you don't want to get a room but want access to purchase meals in the dining car you'll need to book business class.
 

jha6

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
26
Location
Detroit, MI
THANK YOU to everyone! I AM going to buy my ticket from Detroit to EMY, albeit in two pieces...LOL

Some quick questions:

1. Do I tip the steward that takes care of my roomette? How much? I'd suggest $10 per person per night as a good baseline - can always do more for outstanding service
2. Do I tip at every meal? How much (considering they are free)? It will be the same dining car crew across the trip. I think on my two night trip on the SWC I did a $20 or $30 tip for the dining car I forget which.
3. -
4. Should I take anything other than regular clothes? My guess is blankets/pillows provided? I get cold so I do want to be warm. Blankets and pillows are provided - if you're cold sensitive may want to bring a sweat shirt or something just in case the room is cooler than you'd like.
5. Alcohol: Can I take some? I did JUST retired ya' know! LOL I know beer would be a pain but I would like some wine/vodka in my roomette. Is it allowed? You can have your own but may ONLY consume it in your roomette. In the Sightseer Lounge car you have to purchase drinks from the cafe car window on the lower level if you want any. You will get the first alcoholic beverage free with dinner in the dining car.
6. WIFI: Does the Zephyr have it? Free? Throughout the entire trip? I went 40 years without internet, no big deal if I lose it for a while. Just wondering... No wifi on the zephyr - though there are sections in which you can get cell service - some areas not.
7. Any good places along the route to get outside and stretch my legs? There are some longer stops in which you can do so generally the crew will let you know when these are. I remember getting off to stretch in Denver, Winter Park, Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction.
8. Someone said get to the observation car FAST when I leave Denver. True? If you want a seat in the SSL for the climb up the mountains out of Denver would recommend grabbing a seat. Some people may be boarding in Denver that will go right for the SSL as some people ride from Denver to Glenwood or Grand Junction for the views. If its busy in the lounge car the conductors may limit the time groups spend so that others have time - not sure how busy it will be - you check the train filled percentage between Denver and Glenwood.
9. Any decent hotels in Emeryville that someone could reccomend, or someoplace near there? I MAY go to SF but I was there 30 years ago and thought it was mostly congested and dirty. Not sure if it's changed. Convince me if I'm wrong, like I said, it's been 30 years. There are three decent hotels in Emeryville near the station. A Hyatt House, a Hyatt Place, and a Four Points.
10. I will, eventually fly back to Detroit. I am not going to book ANYTHING at this point. I was actually thinking of taking the train/bus toward San Diego while I am all the way out there. Could someone PLEASE throw out some suggestions of places to go/things to do AFTER EMY? I am open for anything. I just want it to be relaxing so anyone that has California train experience (In January mind you) I would appreciate the suggestions. I can fly back to Detroit from anywhere so I don't care where you tell me to go..... LOL....you know what I meant. LOL LOL If you are thinking of heading down towards San Diego the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner are also beautiful train routes. It's not an overnight down to LAX but you CAN still get a sleeper as a day room which would give you access to the dining car. If you don't want to get a room but want access to purchase meals in the dining car you'll need to book business class.
Very helpful, thank you!!!
 

Devil's Advocate

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I'm kind of wondering if I really want 3-days worth
I would start small and book longer trips if you find yourself enjoying the shorter versions.

1. Do I tip the steward that takes care of my roomette? How much?
2. Do I tip at every meal? How much (considering they are free)?
Unlike most tipped positions Amtrak staff are well compensated with good wages and amazing benefits so tip whatever you feel is appropriate for exceptional service.

4. Should I take anything other than regular clothes? My guess is blankets/pillows provided? I get cold so I do want to be warm.
5. Alcohol: Can I take some? I did JUST retired ya' know! LOL I know beer would be a pain but I would like some wine/vodka in my roomette. Is it allowed?
I would bring comfortable casual clothing. Basic blankets, pillows, and sheets are provided. Amtrak in winter is generally quite warm, sometimes to the point of being hot, on the top floor of a Superliner Sleeper. You can bring your own alcohol but youโ€™re only allowed to consume it in your room.

6. WIFI: Does the Zephyr have it? Free? Throughout the entire trip? I went 40 years without internet, no big deal if I lose it for a while. Just wondering...
7. Any good places along the route to get outside and stretch my legs?
Amtrak staff sometimes carry consumer hotspots but these are barely usable over much of the Western network. When the train is on time there are stops every few hours for stretching and fresh air (smokers use the same stops).

8. Someone said get to the observation car FAST when I leave Denver. True?
YES!
 
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pennyk

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9. Any decent hotels in Emeryville that someone could reccomend, or someoplace near there? I MAY go to SF but I was there 30 years ago and thought it was mostly congested and dirty. Not sure if it's changed. Convince me if I'm wrong, like I said, it's been 30 years.
I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Emeryville a few years ago and I found the hotel very nice. I took a cab from the Station when I arrived (because it was dark), but walked to it a several times during my stay and walked with luggage when I departed.
 

jis

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I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Emeryville a few years ago and I found the hotel very nice. I took a cab from the Station when I arrived (because it was dark), but walked to it a several times during my stay and walked with luggage when I departed.
There is also the Emery Go Round, but oddly it is not as convenient as it could be as I recall, for getting to the Amtrak station. It is much better for getting to the BART station.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Regarding tipping - youโ€™ll get lots of different answers but I usually tip my attendant $5-10 per night (so $10-20 for a 2 night trip like the zephyr). I tip $2-3 for breakfast and lunch, $5 for dinner.

Tips are actually tips on Amtrak, Amtrak employees are paid well so donโ€™t feel obligated to tip.

I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Emeryville a few years ago and I found the hotel very nice. I took a cab from the Station when I arrived (because it was dark), but walked to it a several times during my stay and walked with luggage when I departed.

Iโ€™ve stayed there as well, itโ€™s as convenient as youโ€™re going to get to the Amtrak station!
 
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I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Emeryville a few years ago and I found the hotel very nice. I took a cab from the Station when I arrived (because it was dark), but walked to it a several times during my stay and walked with luggage when I departed.
The Sonesta (which was formerly Courtyard by Marriott) was also decent when I stayed there in June. Stayed there one night after my Northern California week (where I had stayed a couple hours north in Lake County) as we were boarding the Starlight the next morning to head south (where the second week of the trip was in San Diego.) was clean and comfortable and convenient to the station.
 

jha6

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The Sonesta (which was formerly Courtyard by Marriott) was also decent when I stayed there in June. Stayed there one night after my Northern California week (where I had stayed a couple hours north in Lake County) as we were boarding the Starlight the next morning to head south (where the second week of the trip was in San Diego.) was clean and comfortable and convenient to the station.
Yes, that's the one I am looking at. I think that would be a safe choice. I haven't determined what I'm doing after I arrive to EMY. Resting for a might and thinking it over might be good! ๐Ÿ˜€ I'm excited!
 

chickpea

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Con
With all of the new reductions across the country it seems the schedule system on the web site is "confused", or at least confusing. They are dropping certain trains on certain days and that doesn't help. I guess in some cases you might need to call Amtrak.
Concur. I have found this to be true for almost everything I book!
 
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