Good Times Travel
17132 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Featuring 4 Train Rides, Lake Tahoe, Monterey, Sacramento, Reno, Carson City, Virginia City, Eastern Sierra
Activity Level 2
Pace Level 3
Embark on a unique rail journey across California and into Nevada that includes four train adventures and a cruise on Lake Tahoe. From the Pacific coast to the giant Redwoods to the Sierra Nevada and the Eastern Sierra, this comprehensive 7-day tour at a delightful time of year features the best that the Golden State and Silver State have to offer while traveling by rail and setting sail.
From our departure points this morning, we’ll travel aboard a deluxe motorcoach to downtown Los Angeles’ Union Station to board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train for a five-hour rail journey along California’s spectacular coastline and through its fertile valleys to San Luis Obispo. Enjoy the relaxing ride in your reclining seat or check out the view from the observation car offering unparalleled views. We’ll enjoy an included boxed lunch onboard. Upon arrival in San Luis Obispo, we’ll reboard our motorcoach and continue north to Monterey where we’ll enjoy an overnight stay at a AAA Four Diamond bayfront hotel situated adjacent to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf in Old Monterey. Enjoy the balance of the evening at leisure with dinner on your own at the hotel or a nearby restaurant. (Lunch)
This morning we’ll travel north to the Santa Cruz Mountains and arrive at Roaring Camp, which resembles a 1880s logging town. We’ll board the Redwood Forest Steam Train and travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as the conductor provides narration. We’ll then continue east by motorcoach to Sacramento and begin a two-night stay at a AAA Four Diamond hotel adjacent to the State Capitol. (Breakfast)
This morning we’ll be joined by a local guide for a Sacramento city tour and learn about the legendary past of California’s capital city, from the first days of the Gold Rush to the booming metropolis that is here today. Learn about the legendary figures that made Sacramento famous and see the city’s most historic landmarks including Sutter’s Fort, the Stanford Mansion and the Governor’s Mansion. We’ll take a walk through Capitol Park, home to the beautiful California State Capitol as well as a number of memorials, monuments and hundreds of trees from around the world. We’ll visit Old Sacramento State Historic Park, the waterfront district that sprang up overnight during the early days of “gold fever.” This National Historic Landmark features more than 50 historic buildings within its 296 acres, more than any area of similar size in the West. Learn how trains have shaped people’s lives, the economy, and the unique culture of California and the West while visiting the California State Railroad Museum, the finest and most visited museum of its kind in North America. Discover why the romance of rail travel still holds a special charm, as it conjures up images of fine dining with distinctive railroad china, sparkling crystal, and polished silver aboard a 1930s dining car. Feel the gentle motion of the train while listening to sounds of high-speed night travel on a typical 1929 sleeping car. Learn about the fast-paced routine of sorting mail on a postal car, and then gaze in awe at the sheer magnitude of Locomotive No. 4294 – one million pounds of steel! Enjoy time at leisure to explore the wooden boardwalks, shops and river views in Old Sacramento. (Breakfast)
All aboard the California Zephyr this morning for a five-hour rail journey. Ask any train aficionado and they’ll tell you that one of the most beautiful train trips in North America is aboard this train between Sacramento and Reno. As you climb to the sky through the breathtakingly beautiful Sierra Nevada, you’ll surely agree. See the stunningly picturesque and historic Donner Lake as we travel through Donner Pass, where in during the winter of 1846-47, the Donner Party – led by George and Jacob Donner – was stranded in a snow storm near the eastern shore of the lake. As we descend out of the Sierra Nevada, we’ll arrive in Reno, Nevada – known as “The Biggest Little City in the World.” After enjoying an included, traditional family-style Basque dinner at a locals’ favorite, we’ll begin a two-night stay at a premier, AAA Four Diamond casino resort. (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we’ll be joined by a local guide as we explore Reno, Carson City and Virginia City. In Carson City we’ll visit the Nevada State Capitol – constructed of native sandstone, it is the second oldest capitol building west of the Mississippi River. We continue to Virginia City which at its peak, was a boisterous town, filled with men from everywhere who had come to stake their claim at the Comstock Lode. In its heyday during the 1860s and 1870s, 24-hour silver and gold mines dotted the mountain. Enjoy time at leisure in the Virginia City Historic District featuring a remarkable collection of over 400 buildings – most dating from the 19th century – filled with restaurants, saloons, shops and museums. This afternoon we’ll board the Virginia & Truckee Railroad for an excursion back into the Old West. By far the most famous of all American short line railroads, on this ride we’ll savor the spectacular mountain scenery while the train travels past the famous Comstock Bonanza mine ruins. We return to the hotel with the balance of the evening at leisure. (Breakfast)
This morning we’ll travel by motorcoach to Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. At Zephyr Cove, we’ll board the M.S. Dixie II paddlewheeler for a memorable lunch cruise. Sit back, relax and take in the dazzling vistas of the surrounding mountains on this two-hour narrated cruise that offers non-stop photo opportunities. In Emerald Bay we’ll gaze upon Fannente Island (nicknamed “little rock island”) and Vikingsholm Castle, the stone mansion on its picturesque shores. We continue south this afternoon on Highway 395 paralleling the scenic Sierra Nevada. This time of year offers the best opportunity to see the magnificent fall foliage in the High Sierra. This evening we arrive in Mammoth Lakes (elevation 7,881 feet) to enjoy an overnight stay at The Village Lodge in the heart of the Village at Mammoth. Each villa of this upscale lodge features a separate living area, fireplace and balcony. (Breakfast, Lunch)
This morning we’ll continue south along the Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway in the shadow of the
towering Sierra Nevada. We’ll visit Erick Schat’s Bakery in Bishop, known for their famous original sheepherder’s bread. We’ll enjoy an included picnic lunch in Lone Pine before we arrive at Manzanar National Historic Site. On a driving tour we’ll see the original sentry posts, the cemetery monument, remnants of original buildings, rock gardens, orchards and the hospital grounds. We continue south
towards Southern California this afternoon, returning to our drop-off points this evening with many fond memories of our time exploring California and Nevada by rail! (Breakfast, Lunch)
While we make every effort to operate our tours as outlined in the itinerary, we ask for your patience, understanding and flexibility and to retain a sense of adventure while traveling with us. Situations may arise that necessitate changes to the itinerary. Should we need to adjust the itinerary either prior to or while on tour, these changes will be communicated to you and only done when absolutely necessary.
Thank you for your patience while we process this...