Friday, July 14, 2023

An Amtrak Adventure

We spent three days taking Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from San Jose, California to Los Angeles. It was so much fun! It took us eleven hours each direction and along the way were great views of the coast.

The time flew by. At the end of each day I found myself wanting more time. It could be because I was hoping I would have finished more crocheting for a sweater Annelies is making. Henry and I spent the entire time (except for a few hours when Henry slept) in the observation car which is open seating for all passengers. Annelies spent it all in her seat which was super spacious. She could completely stretch out her legs  

The train was pretty busy but it is summer. Trust me, there is lots of people watching on a train. We brought the majority of our food and drinks and had one meal in the dining car ($25 for lunch and $45 for dinner). The amount of luggage you can bring is pretty much unlimited so we brought a cooler and dry food bag.


The train stopped several times but we didn’t feel a need to get out so we only did it once in San Luis Obispo for a photo. It was probably more stressful thinking about getting back in time. The Amtrak schedule is fairly lose. 

We spent the following day in LA doing touristy things. Annelies once again planned the entire day from TikTok videos. I love when she does the planning. We visited Venice Beach and walked to Santa Monica pier. We spent three hours at a Korean spa, WiSpa, which was Annelies’ favorite part of the day. We ended the day riding up the nation’s shortest train, Angels Flight Railway, and having dinner at grand Central Market. 

The next day we walked to Union Station and returned home. We had fog on the way down but the ride north was clear. There were two National Park volunteers on the ride and they were so interesting! 

Overall, I would do this again in a heart beat if I had time to kill. It was relaxing and entertaining. The cost, unfortunately, can be more than a flight though. Our tickets were $50 each way. Not bad for eleven hours but I just flew to LA for $29 round trip. 

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Yosemite National Park

Henry’s boys attend camp for a week each summer so we spent hours trying to decide what to do with a full week together. The planning to travel frugally can be exhausting and traveling in the summer is not cheap. So we landed on a staycation. I am so glad we did because afterwards Anna decided to stay with me for the summer and she could join us! We kicked off the week with a long weekend in Yosemite. 

We stayed at an awesome Airbnb in Oakhurst. The place was perfect and the host, Mary, was wonderful! I could see us being friends. One of the best parts of travel is meeting people. Anna did a ton of planning for the weekend by watching TikTok videos. Some people bash that platform but I think it is amazing what people are doing with it. This year is the busiest year ever for Yosemite. Ever. So we opted for an early departure to avoid the crowds. That meant a 3am wake up call but it was perfect! 

We landed at Tunnel View just at sunrise (planned) and it was beautiful. Not only was the sunrise spectacular but there were no crowds. We then parked and checked out FREE bikes through Yosemite Conservatory’s Bike Share program. Public transportation, baby! It was awesome! Yosemite is huge and parking your car and biking your way around is the way to go. 

We biked to Mirror Lake, the tallest waterfall in America, and had a picnic at the Swinging Bridge. 

We made our way out of the park with no traffic and saw El Capitan on the way. I could not resist stopping for a photo by the Sierra sign since I was wearing my Sierra Wool& dress, which I estimate I have worn 400+ days! I love the benefits of what wool brings to my nomadic life. 

We ended the evening going out to a country bar (after napping for a couple hours). It was a really fun weekend.