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Sacramento was not on my list of 'must see' places, but in actual fact I had no such list anyway! My intention was to leave Portland, Oregon by Amtrak, and travel in the general direction of Los Angeles, and stop off in a couple of 'nice places' en route. The trouble was that I didn't know of any such places, and the train doesn't stop very often anyway. Cutting a long story short(er!!), I took the advice of Phil and Deni, my VT hosts in Portland, and decided to go to Sacramento, and out to Lake Tahoe.
Booking the train ticket was easy, and I actually did it the day before travelling, at the Union Station in Portland, although you can book on the internet. You need to produce evidence of ID (passport in my case) when you collect your ticket.
The train left Portland, on time at 2.25 pm for Eugene, where we transferred to a bus (coach) for the 5 hour journey to Klamath Falls. I'm not sure just why this is necessary, as the rail line runs all the way through from Eugene to Klamath Falls, and to Sacramento. It may have something to do with freight trains using the line, as these usually have priority. Anyway, arriving at Klamath Falls at 10 pm, we again boarded the train for Sacramento, arriving at 6.15 am next morning. The fare for this journey was $101, and I think well worth the cost. Unfortunately, the nicest part of the journey seemed to be through the night, when you couldn't really see anything!
Updated Jan 16, 2004
OK, so you decide to use Amtrak, and why not? You have some travel options. You can chose 'coach' travel, or 'business class', and a sleeper for your overnight travel if you wish. I opted for the straightforward 'coach' class. Unlike the British trains, there was ample leg room, with reclining seats, and a foot rest. The allocation of seats is rather different than in Britain. On departure from Portland, you will be allocated a coach. You will have been given a boarding pass, with (for instance) 'SAC' on it (Sacramento). It's then up to you to find a vacant seat, and you place your boarding pass above your own seat. This enables the Conductor to see who is going where on the train!
At Klamath Falls we disembarked from the buses, and were allocated a coach on the train, and verbally given a seat number. Something went terribly wrong with this simple system, and people were allocated seats that were already occupied. I'm not sure if this was the fault of the staff, or just people sitting in the wrong seats. I think perhaps it was a bit of both. Personally, I would have thought Amtrak would have handed out a boarding card, as at Portland, but with a seat number written on it. There was plenty of room anyway, so no one was left behind! Oh, and don't forget, if you break the journey, jou must take your boarding pass with you, and display it again when you rejoin the train.
This may not be typical of all Amtrak journies, but it's worth noting if you do use the service. and it was still a great way to get around!
Updated Jan 16, 2004
I knew that when I arrived in Sacramento I would have to rent (hire) a car for the two days. I suppose this was perhaps the most apprehensive part of my trip, as I had never driven in the States, nor driven a left-hand drive car. I had, of course, driven in Europe, on the 'wrong side', but with a right-hand drive car. and what about the different traffic rules? In england we have traffic roundabouts at major junctions, or traffic lights, where all traffic stops, unless there is a filter lane which has a green light. Well, having been with Phil and been driven many hundreds of miles, I quickly adapted to the different driving conditions. I still felt I was 'doing wrong' by turning right at junctions when the lights were red. But what a sensible thing to do to help ease traffic congestion. The other thing I liked was the speed restriction signs, especially those on the 'grades' and curves. I soon got to appreciate those when driving through the mountail passes!
Updated Jan 16, 2004
As for rental cars. Well, there are several companies in Sacramento, including Hertz, Avis and Enterprise, and these three are all located on 16th Street. Unfortuantely for me, none of them had vehicles available at that time, and I could see me staying in Sacramento for the next 2 days. fortunately I had previously looked up some rental companies on the internet, but only written down one name and telephone number - Senator/New Frontier. I found a phone booth, and gave them a ring, and was very pleased when they said they could provide me with a vehicle immediately. I eventually found their offices, which are located some distance from the town centre, and really I should have taken a taxi. I was very pleased with the vehicle they supplied, which was a Ford Focus Station Wagon (what we in England would call an Estate Car). They weren't able to provide me with the budget/economy car that I had asked for on the 'phone, but I got the Focus at the same rate of $32 a day, with unlimited mileage. I also paid $12 a day for full accidental damage cover, although this was optional. As far as the rental paperwork went, I just had to produce my UK driving licence (which is the older type without a photo), and my Passport. They also asked for a contact telephone number in the States, and I gave them the number of a VT friend where I was going to be after Sacramento. A bonus of walking to the rental company was that I found it easy to drive back to the city the way I had walked! Two or three times around the blocks, trying to locate the train station, where I had left my suitcase, and I felt quite 'at home'!
Senator Rent-a-Car, 200 Jibboom Street.
Main Office: 3565 Florin Road, Sacramento. Tel: 916-392-4225
Updated Jan 16, 2004
There's no shortage of taxis in Sacramento. I enquired of one, about the fare from the City centre to the airport, only about 10-15 minutes drive. The usual fare is about $28. Jas (Jaswimder) the cab driver I spoke to, said he could do a special 'deal'. As it turned out, the car rental company (Senator) run a free shuttle service to and from the airport, so just remember that. It's almost the saving of on day's car rental!
Updated Jan 16, 2004
You really need a car to visit Sacramento.
There is a light rail system which is used by commuters but it would not be practical for tourists.
Public buses are also available but not too convenient for visitors.
Written Apr 19, 2005
The River Otter Water Taxi, based in Old Sacramento, plies a short stretch of the Sacramento River. It stops at three marinas before returning to Old Sacramento. You may use the water taxi to cruise the river. Just tell the captain that you are staying on board.
Fare is only $6. A round trip takes approximately 50 minutes.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
The free DASH Trolley travels in a loop and stops at Old Sacramento and the Convention Center, among others. It traverses the K Street Mall from 13th Street to 7th Street. Near its many stops are hotels, shops, restaurants, and museums. For its complete schedule and route, check out the web site below.
The DASH Trolley operates from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. The interval between rides during weekdays is 15 minutes; during weekends, it's 30 minutes.
Updated Jul 7, 2005
I took the Amtrak train from Los Angeles to Sacramento. My trip was actually divided into three legs. The first leg was a bus ride from Los Angeles to Bakersfield. The second leg was a train ride on the San Joaquin from Bakersfield to Stockton. The last leg was a bus ride from Stockton to Sacramento.
It sounds more complicated than it really is. The bus rides were also provided by Amtrak so the coordination between rides was near-perfect. I traveled in comfort and, to top it all, I had a nice view of Central California.
By the way, you can take an all-train trip from Los Angeles to Sacramento via Amtrak's Coast Starlight but it usually is more expensive and it takes a lot longer.
With Sacramento as my base, I took Amtrak's Capitol Corridor train to San Francisco which I toured for a day. I also made another side trip to Reno via Amtrak bus.
Updated Dec 22, 2003
Here's a map of the SACRT and i should have known +52 have senior fare of 1.25 or $3 for the day,
so for the first half day, with a map, just ride the trams and discover downtown from the comfort of seat and get familiar with landmarks and streets. A fine investment of time
Written Nov 5, 2012
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