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Bronies of Northern California - BONC Message Board › IDEA: Friendship Express to EverfreeNW 2013!

IDEA: Friendship Express to EverfreeNW 2013!

Austin B.
Logician
Turlock, CA
Post #: 3
I'm planning on going to EverfreeNW next year. This is for anypony else who's going.

How about instead of driving, we take the train?

Amtrak has a fully equipped train with sleeping and dining cars going from Sacramento to Seattle on a regular schedule.

I did the math, and Amtrak costs about the same as gas alone driving to Seattle from Sacramento. Add in lodging (you're honestly not going to drive 14 hours straight, right?), and it's even cheaper.

Throw in group discounts, AAA discounts, and a discount code from EverfreeNW (they had one this year, though it might not apply to groups), and it starts to look like a pretty nice option.

Instead of urban sprawl, when you look out the windows you'll see picturesque coastlines and beautiful mountain skylines, and the best part is you'll be able to enjoy it instead of having to focus on the road.

They have single and double rooms, and naturally the latter is cheaper if you don't mind bunking up. You can be cheap and ride coach; you'll still be taken care of. However, sleeping car passengers get complimentary dining in a real restaurant-style dining car.

There's a bar, arcade, theater, cafe, and more, not to mention free WiFi (although my experience on their day trains has shown it to be unsatisfactory under load; it's only a 4G hotspot [actually, if somepony has hotspot service on their phone or whatever, we could start a pool for use of it, or even get our own for the trip; we should coordinate on that]).

And to top it all off, as a group, we can get a section of the train all to ourselves.

Link: Amtrak's Coast Starlight train

Choo choo!

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Add me on Skype to join the ongoing discussion: cybergeek94
Austin B.
Logician
Turlock, CA
Post #: 4
Update:

The train actually goes all the way down to LA, so our SoCal bronies could potentially join us.
Robertshy S.
user 42436542
Modesto, CA
Post #: 34
That sounds pretty awesome. I am so down for that as long as it works with the timing with my jobs.

That would be so fun to get our SoCal brethren in on this too!!!
Rebecca B.
user 19399071
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 2
I'm liking this idea!

Normally I'm freaked out by trains, but I think with a group I'll be fine.
Damon Y.
Exenteron
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 43
Someone better play dubstep train on the way
Jordan O.
user 18454221
Danville, CA
Post #: 64
(you're honestly not going to drive 14 hours straight, right?)

But that's exactly what Michael's, Ohad's, and Nicholas' cars did! We drove for that long or longer!

Aside, a train ride does sound cool, but it's so early, I don't know yet if I'll be able to go to next year's EverfreeNW.

Oh, and the SoCal bronies never talk to us, so I'm told. They're way more unorganized and leaderless than we are.
Alex S.
thedoctorinblue
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 4
I'm so down for this if we could plan out exactly what train we'd be taking so we could all get to our respective stops in time to hop on and find everyone.
Austin B.
Logician
Turlock, CA
Post #: 5
All right. On Monday, during business hours, I'm gonna give Amtrak a call (1-800-USA-RAIL) and get some real information on this route. I'll let you guys know what I find out.
Austin B.
Logician
Turlock, CA
Post #: 6
All right, I just got off the phone with Amtrak.

We would have to get on at the same station, since a group ticket is just one big ticket instead of one ticket per person. Thusly, we'd all have to get the same amentities, so we'd all have to either get rooms or coach. We'll figure that out.

We can't book more than 11 months ahead, so we have quite some time to discuss specifics.

There's two payments: a 10% deposit made within 21 days of approval (which happens two or three days after reservation) and the remaining balance paid at least 45 days before the travel date.

The two payments have to be lump sums, which means I (or whoever else wants to be the coordinator) would have to get the money from everyone and then pay Amtrak. I know that sounds a little shady, so hopefully we'll fix that with further discussion. Maybe we can come up with a more secure and elegant solution than everypony simply writing me a check.

We would get a section of the train to ourselves, as the whole point of the group ticket is to stay together. If we have enough to fill up a car, then we get a car to ourselves. (Wanna make that our goal?)

They have double, quad, and deluxe double rooms, and also upstairs and downstairs coach. The trip is a long 26 hours, so we'll have to take a poll on whether to get rooms or coach. Believe me, coach isn't all that bad. Coach on a train is a lot more comfortable than coach on a plane. And you still get access to everything, just have to buy your own meals.

There are no sections of the route by bus. It goes an entirely different route than the San Joaquin train that I take. But since we have to get on at the same station, any SoCal bronies would have to get a different ticket or otherwise get on with us up here, which I doubt they'll want to do.

There are stops all through the bay area, including San Luis Obispo, San Jose, San Fran, Emeryville, and then there's a stop in Sacramento. Once we know where everyone is who's going, we can figure the most optimal station to get on at.

Group discount overrides all other discounts, including AAA and the EverfreeNW code. BUT that's okay, because the group discount is a WHOPPING 20%!! Awesome!

I don't know what the minimum is to count as a "group". I heard 18, but I'm not sure. Somewhere in the teens. To be safe, let's get at least that many.

The lady I talked to told me straight-up: it's easier to take people off the ticket than to add more on. We don't really need an exact count to reserve. Just as close an estimate as possible. If people end up cancelling, all that should happen is they'll get their money back, with no effect on the rest of us.

I'm pretty stoked. Let's make this happen, yeah?
Sophianna K. A.
DiamondDoodle
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 4
I'd be down with this - normally I fly, but I've always wanted to do a long train trip!

I'll have to monitor this and keep an eye on it, but with enough of us we could take over a car or two - Pony Car to Everfree!
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