Monday, March 16, 2015

Inca Empire Cruise - Train Day

Today is the day we travel to San Diego to start our Inca Empire Cruise, and we decided to get to San Diego by train.  Usually we drive to San Diego, but this year we decided to try the train and save the long drive.  We would be taking the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, which leaves San Luis Obispo (SLO) at 6:55 AM and goes all the way to San Diego.  Val and I both enjoy riding the train so we were looking forward to this as an enjoyable way to start the trip.

We were up at 5:00 AM and our friends Doug and Ev (and they truly are great friends to do this) were at our house by 6:00 to give us a ride to the train.  We arrived at the train station just before 6:30 and we were soon on the train and on our way.

It was still dark when we left, but a short time later we were treated to a beautiful sunrise.  From SLO until just after Ventura, the train route pretty much follows the coast with many ocean views.  Today it was clear so the views were spectacular and we even saw several whales spouting just offshore.  After Ventura, the route turns inland and stays there until south of Los Angeles where it returns to the coast.  This is a much more populated area, but the views were still great.

The trip by train to San Diego takes just over eight hours, but it seemed to go by quickly.  We arrived in San Diego just after 3:00 PM, and after getting our checked luggage, we grabbed a cab and were soon at our hotel.  It was very hot (90 degrees) and very crowded in San Diego as there were several St. Patrick’s Day events going on.  We were staying at the Best Western Yacht Harbor Hotel, which is the same hotel we stayed at when before our South Pacific Cruise.  The reason we stayed there then was because they offered a great deal on long term parking, but this time we stayed there was because it was one of the few places near the cruise terminal that had a vacancy.  Next time I won’t wait so long to make reservations.  We’re very happy with the hotel, but it’s not quite as convenient as the hotels closer to the terminal.  We did get a nice room with a view of the yacht harbor so all-in-all we are pretty happy.

The view of the yacht harbor from our hotel room.
There are only a couple of restaurants within walking distance so we ate at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, which has good food, but was very crowded.  After a good dinner we returned to the hotel and made our final preparations for our cruise tomorrow.

Today was a great day, we really enjoyed the train ride and it was much easier than the long drive through some very high traffic areas.  We would certainly do it again if the opportunity arises.  The weather is perfect so it looks like the first leg of our cruise will be calm and clear.  We can’t wait to get going.

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