We had a great breakfast buffet at the hotel and then a very short taxi ride to Union Station to get the train. Getting to Amtrak was a breeze. Union Station in LA was only a short cab ride, and all the Amtrak employees were courteous, friendly, and helpful. Big change from the airline situation! As we had a "sleeper car" reservation, we got to go to the "first class" lounge and also a ride to the train in a large golf-cart sort of thing when it was time to get on.
We found our bedroom on the train with no difficulty and, while it is not exactly the Ritz, it is comfortable and private with our own tiny bath and sink.
We are deciding that this is really a great way to see the country. As we don’t have to drive or be concerned about finding our way or filling the fuel tank or finding a restaurant, we can just sit back and watch the world go by out of large windows. We are not quite at treetop height, but much higher than we would be in an automobile, so there is a great view. We are also much closer to the passing scenery than we would be in a car: it feels as though we could reach out and touch the trees going by. We had a great view of the ocean and beaches as soon as we got beyond Los Angeles’ sprawl. Very peaceful out away from towns, but not so great in and around cities. Trains don’t go through the middle of the more desirable neighborhoods!
So far the food has been quite good, and the kitchen and wait staff do an amazing job of preparing and serving meals to a crowd on a constantly swaying platform.