As my ride on the sunset limited came to a close, the sun rose slowly over palm trees in Los Angeles. Nearing the end of the trip, returning to something familiar. Leaving Union Station I headed towards my Auntie Margaret’s house to have breakfast and spend the weekend with one of my favorite families. This is exactly the kind of recharge I needed towards the end of such a long trip. Avocado Toast and Breakfast Sausage with a giant cup of coffee to take the edge off of so many consecutive days of travel. Margaret, Zevon and Daisy welcomed me to relax and be at home after months in transit.

I had limited downtime before heading to San Francisco but I planned to make the most of it. I also reached out to my cousin Theo to see if he wanted to grab lunch. He and I snagged tacos and talked about how to best get around UCLA campus and the city beyond without a car. He showed me around the walking paths, medical buildings, and watched as multiple modes of transportation were used and how they were used.

That afternoon, I headed to a K-town sweet spot, Boba Bear to meet up with a friend. This is a fun modern cafe with with something for everyone. Fried Food, Vegan options, beer, cocktails, hookah, wifi and DJs. If you find yourself looking for a fun spot to play mid day this is a great option.

A fellow transit content contributor and I talked about getting there by bus and that with newer routes and last mile solutions that ride is becoming easier for people coming from campus and downtown as well. They told me about the need for helmets and reflective gear while biking or using a scooter. The traffic is getting worse, and DUIs are becoming a more common occurrence. The one thing they said was most needed was a solution to the 405, 10, and 110 traffic.

California needs regional high speed rail service asap. The distance Angelenos and those in the surrounding counties have to traverse by car is ridiculous and harmful. It’s a competitive city and it’s people deserve a fast, affordable option that isn’t dependent on fossil fuel. 

Per the California High Speed Rail Authority: 

Travelers who need to go from Northern California to Southern California, or vice versa, can choose between driving, flying or taking a bus:

  • It’s a nearly seven-hour drive under good conditions, which eats an entire workday in the best-case scenario. In the worst-case, a driver is looking at up to nine hours in the car.
  • Flying may be quicker but no less frustrating. Actual flight time between the two regions is approximately an hour-and-a-half, but an hour-and-a-half flight quickly turns into four or five hours when getting to and from the airport, finding parking and going through security checks are factored into the travel equation.
  • Hopping on a bus means a nearly 10-hour ride, not exactly ideal for travelers under time constraints.

It is also possible to take conventional rail between Oakland and Los Angeles. There is one trip daily in each direction, with a scheduled travel time of more than 12 hours southbound and more than 11 hours northbound.

Having taken the conventional rail on the 11 hour trek north, I empathize with the need for a faster option.

However, I will say that the Coastal Starlight route is absolutely breathtaking. It’s a fantastic vacation option and definitely a good ride for the whole family. This is the kind of ride where the observation car provides optimal views. While working on the blog I still managed to take part in the scenery. Though it was a brief overnight in LA, I had a good time seeing family and grabbing snacks.

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One Comment

  • Beth Whitehead says:

    Thanks so much Chef Madi! I thoroughly enjoyed your posts and pictures (particularly of the food!) and enjoyed the trip by proxy. You’re a great advocate for the future of rail & food!