Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:37 pm

FeetOfClay wrote:as far as I know:

Zhust
me :)
Tattoo Goddess
another guy who is really nice (he's from France...forgot his name...you out there?)


kalouts1 :)
and now BoyScoutGirl. Where are you getting on at?

Am I missing anyone?
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:10 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:Just want to remind you Amtrak peeps that the Barbie Death Camp Hotel Deal is still available. And if you ask nicely you may not even have to shower alone.


I just got off the phone with the hotel and their rates have dropped, so the discount code is actually a higher rate than their regular rate (at least for Saturday night at $50 pre-taxes). The woman I talked with said there were lots of rooms available so I figured I'd just do the overnight on Saturday and I would probably be able to get Sunday night if I needed it. On the return trip, it's Monday after Labor Day, so the rooms are pretty well available.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:10 pm

So sense one of us does not have fb. Any one like the idea of bringing some card games? They are small and easy to deal with. Would help pass time. I will be bringing a bottle of wine when I get on and some dinner for you two like i said.
Any thoughts on how to make this more fun for all of us then it already will be?
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:25 pm

I'm getting on in SLC, so I place myself in charge of bringing fresh food for (late) Saturday night or maybe fruit for Sunday breakfast. After boarding and saying a polite "hello," I'm going to attempt to get as much sleep as possible - Sunday is going to be a very long day.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:13 pm

Let me hash this out one more time:

I'm arriving in Reno on Saturday morning.

Everyone else is arriving in Reno on Sunday morning, right?
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:44 pm

yep
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:14 am

boss gave me a bottle of free champagne kidos. party on the iowa stops :P
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:25 am

Bump.

Anyone else?? or is it just us 3?
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Thecatman » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:28 pm

Trains have always facinated me so in 1993 we took Amtrak from Philadelphia to Atlanta. The ride to Atlanta wasn't bad but going back was terible. We sat in coach. We were sitting by a door that the conductor would open prior to arriving at every stop in every little hick town in South and North Carolina and Virgina at all hours of the night. The breaks squealing and people who were getting off were standing near us talking. Prior to arriving in Washington DC someone stole my Cannon AE1 35mm camera.
There were other issues that started as soon as we boarded in Atlanta to the point that I almost got 86ed before we even left. I thought it would be a fun trip. A few days after getting back home, I wrote a letter to Amtrak venting my frustrations. I still have a $100 pass that they sent me that doesn't have an experation date.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Savannah » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:40 pm

I've noticed that there has been an update to the Amtrak baggage policy in the last year. On journeys that allow checked baggage (not all of them do) things have changed from:

* 3 checked bags free, and 3 more for $10 apiece

to

* 2 checked bags free, and 2 more for $20 apiece

(2 carry-on bags + a small personal item or two still allowed.)

The weight and size allowed for these things are still generous (see site for details) but it was still a surprise. :|
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:04 pm

Wow that sucks! That is part of why I loved taking them cause the bags did it for me.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Savannah » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:12 pm

Yeah, it's a bit of a bummer and I didn't want it to catch anyone by surprise (I discovered it this month when pondering rates for a trip to see relatives).

I still actually take the train for the first 3.5 hours of my Burn travel, but I'm only bringing my clothes at that point.

I'm somewhat comforted that the luggage is still--for now--allowed to be fairly heavy (50 lbs apiece) and fairly large (up to 75 linear inches). I wonder how long that will last? If it gets worse, it's an active deterrent. :|
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby MikeGyver » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:15 pm

You'd think trains would be getting cheaper to try and draw people not more expensive. Kind of a catch 22 I guess, less people mean higher prices and lower prices mean more people.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:08 am

Mrpatatomoto wrote:You'd think trains would be getting cheaper to try and draw people not more expensive. Kind of a catch 22 I guess, less people mean higher prices and lower prices mean more people.


Actually, I think the problem is too many riders. Ridership keeps breaking records each year, and the current equipment is at capacity. Yet the government continues to heavily subsidize air travel (e.g. gov. pays for airports) while proposing huge cuts to rail. All this despite that "173 million Americans—more than half of our total population—live within 25 miles of an Amtrak station that is served by long distance trains" and that Americans are steadily drifting away from car-dominated culture.

Oops ... sorry ... soapboxing here ... back to your daily program.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:09 pm

Despite everything*, I love trains, and wish that we were properly railed in this country...
All the same, it's now a semi-crappy experience, especially with the creepy, crazy geezers I was stuck with from Reno to Emeryville in 2009...

*and you have to admit that's a lot...
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Savannah » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:21 pm

Nothing like taking the bus out of state last weekend to remind me how much I love the train. :lol:

The bus--so cramped, so chaotic. And one of the stations so particularly grimy and sad. But the ride, at an eminently reasonable $32.50, was just 1/3 the price of a last-minute train ticket, and I'm thrifty, so.

It's just 3 1/2 hours, how annoying can it be?

Well--on the way South, there was a fella who decided to show off his admittedly impressive knowledge of Mandarin Chinese at top volume to the stunned Chinese tourists wearing "God's Army" t-shirts. Over the next several hours, I learned all about the 8 years he spent in China and Indonesia. Not that it wasn't interesting, but it was a conversation you absolutely couldn't sleep through, or opt out of.

3 days later, coming home, the exact same guy(!) falls into line a few spots behind me, loudly boasting to some lady (apropos of very little) that he has a degree in neuroscience. Well, okay. I'm sure that came up naturally while wrangling a pair of suitcases.

2 stoners followed every single statement the bus driver made about bus rules (including "try not to use the bathroom") with either "Yeah!" or "I love you!" and then tilted their chairs back so dramatically that something may have in fact malfunctioned. (I was compelled to do the same, thus setting off a Nuclear Arms Race of Seat-Tilting.)

As we left town, the neuroscientist made 2 Very Important Phone Calls.

"What have you got? Is it quality? What kind? It IS? Hold onto it. I'll pay double. I'LL PAY TRIPLE. TRIPLE. Haha!"

(My seatmate grumbled into the book she was reading.)

and

"Heyyyyyy. Is this Jake junior or Jake senior? I've been fooled before, I won't get fooled again! Ah. Jake Junior! My man. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Jake. Jake. I spoke up for you, man, and they told me that three months ago we would have hired you, but we just don't have enough time to get a new guy up to speed. And I said--you're telling me that the exact same man who would've been good enough in March isn't someone we can hire now? You're kidding me. YOU'RE KIDDING. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I'm on a bus. I'm drunk. Jake. Jake. Jake. JAKE. I WILL PUT MY REPUTATION ON THE LINE FOR YOU. I will vouch for you. My career--MY CAREER on the line for you. Don't let me down, Jake. You've got the degree we want. I've got your back. I'll see what I can do. Contact the manager on Monday. No, Tuesday. I'll talk to him. And then I'll cram knowledge into your head 18 hours a day. Stop. Stop. Stop. STOP. JAKE. You're my boy. You're my boy, Jake. Jake. JAKE."

The Most Interesting Man in the World repeated the above in several new and astonishing combinations for--quite seriously--the next 35 or 40 minutes, while I wondered fiercely if anything in Jake's emotional makeup actually required these ministrations, or even if he existed at all. The bus driver's voice came over the loudspeaker about 10 minutes into the conversation and told our distinguished medical marijuana entrepreneur to pipe down, which he did immediately, with obsequious apology (before his voice gradually crept back up). My seatmate was so irritated that she told him to be quiet on her way back from the bathroom. He was not as impressed with her opinion.


Of course, it was still more fun than the time when the friendly hippie girl next to me said "Vegas, huh? . . . Bringing a lot of money with you?" (completely ruining my already tenuous ability to sleep, until she hopped off the bus at 6am) . . . or the Rastafarian who wouldn't stop moan-singing some damn song he'd made up in between preaching about the Rapture on my way back from Vegas . . . or the time on my way back from the '01 Burn, when I felt compelled to tell playa story after playa story to an enormous guy named Junior, so he would see me as human, and resist stabbing me in the neck if I napped. You can't kill Scheherazade.

Man, I have got to start buying my train tickets ahead. My luck won't hold forever. :lol:
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:49 pm

Can you get that kind of entertainment on a train though? :shock:
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:02 pm

Sure can! But went you want it to stop you have like ten other cars to go to.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby dragonpilot » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:53 pm

I was booked on Amtrak to Whitefish, MT to go skiing coupla winters ago. Amtrak called 2 days out and said tracks were closed due to avalanche, but not to worry as buses will take us. First I thot...how bad can it be? Nice big, roomy Scenicruiser blasting down I-90! Besides, to book a flight to Kalispell would mess up the timing and cost $200 more...nah...the bus will be fine.

The buses were a step above school buses...linoleum floors, narrow seats. Two gloomy train conductors handed out cold box lunches ("We're not any happier about this than anyone else.") We left the station and it couldn't make it up the hill to the interstate w/o a running start thru the intersection (traffic stopped by a nice policemen). It followed the exact route that the train takes...secondary roads and highways making every stop the train would make (didn't see that coming). Barely made it up Stevens Pass after dark in the ice and snow. Between Leavenworth and Cashmere...THUD!...I'm thinking we hit some drunk along the side of the road...Driver and conductors get out, come back and sadly report we'd hit a deer. Somebody on the bus yells out to bring it aboard..it'll be better than the damned box lunch!

We get to Spokane at 1 AM. Normally, on the train I'm snuggled between clean sheets snoozing away instead of sitting on a hard bench waiting for the connecting passengers arriving from Portland...at which time we ALL double up on another bus for the continuing leg to Whitefish. The man behind me raised such a stink when I asked if it would be OK to recline my seat that rather than pounding him into submission and going to jail, I let it go and sat upright all night into Whitefish. Climbing off the bus which arrived about 3 hours later than the train I felt like a platoon from the Mexican army had done the Mexican Hat Dance on my tongue...barefooted.

Anyway...it's a good story...but next time I pay extra for the flight and additional night's lodging! (The skiing was awesome!)
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:41 am

*bump*

We (Jenn and I) are leaving Rochester, NY on August 23, 2013. Chicago on August 24, arriving in Reno on Monday, August 26.

Returning, we leave Reno on September 3 then will stay in Chicago for a couple days and leave for Rochester on September 7.

So who all is arriving in Reno on August 26?

Who's leaving on September 3?
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby lemur » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:43 am

ya kno! i totally had fun doing the amtrak thing to burning man.. i did it 4 years..but dam, the rising amtrak prices over the years since i had done it has made flying competitive in price.. when i was riding amtrak out it was around $250 for the round trip chicago to reno

this year i looked it up and to do the trip from where i live on amtrak its $463 and 56 hours each way .....my flight this year is $472 and takes 1/8th the time

its something worth doing at least once.. especially from the east.. whether or not youre going to burning man the ride from denver to sanfran is awesome.... but dam the almighty dollar has basically priced me out of the amtrak thing for burningman
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Savannah » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:05 am

Yeah, the train is not as cheap as it used to be. If you buy tickets early the prices are good, but the closer you get, the more they know you really need it. The cost of a 3.5 hour trip to my CoPilot's house is modest, but it will double to $60 if I leave it until the last second.

They do have a rewards card where you are supposed to be able to build points towards future trips. I haven't seen that pay off.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:55 pm

lemur wrote:this year i looked it up and to do the trip from where i live on amtrak its $463 and 56 hours each way .....my flight this year is $472 and takes 1/8th the time


... but the shipping charges are what kills me.

Amtrak: personal bags (up to 12x12x12) plus 2 carry-on bags, <50 pounds (23kg) each (I've never seen the weight checked) 28 x 22 x 14 inches plus 2 (+2 more for $20 each) checked bags <50 pounds (23kg) each and less than 75 inches H+W+L.

JetBlue: 1 personal bag, 18 x 15 x 8 inches, 1 carry-on bag 24 x 16 x 10 inches, 1 checked bag (second for $40, more for $75 each) <50 pounds each and less than 62 inches H+W+L.

Put another way, to bring the 23 cubic feet Amtrak offers for free, it's an extra $190 on JetBlue. Spend $40 for 41 cubic feet on Amtrak and you'll spend $490 to match the volume on JetBlue.

That's my big (ha.) reason: I bring a ton of stuff to Burning Man, and it's just not feasible by plane. Plus, I can't imagine what an x-ray of mysterious custom electronics looks like to an overzealous TSA agent.

Savannah wrote:They do have a rewards card where you are supposed to be able to build points towards future trips. I haven't seen that pay off.


Earning points with train mileage might be effective if you take the Acela from Boston to New York every day, but I only really earn points with the credit card which I use for work and make a lot of large purchases. So I managed to rack up enough points for the roomette from Chicago to Reno and back and the whole trip costs $131 each out-of-pocket.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Savannah » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:04 pm

Excellent point, Zhust. The baggage allowance is great--though it's slightly less now. And some trains allow a bicycle.

Note: They always weigh my checked baggage, because it's huge. And what my home scale says is 50 lbs, Amtrak says is 55 lbs (commence mad scrambling to reorganize my bags in the station; not recommended).

It's carry-on they're unlikely to weigh--unless it's already flouting the size rules for carry-on. But carry-on is allowed to be a dense 50 lbs (45 lbs!) as well.

So my advice to anyone is to pack 5 lbs less than your scale says is right, and put some heavy things in your carry-on to spread out the weight.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:32 pm

Savannah wrote:It's carry-on they're unlikely to weigh


[to self: duh!] That's what I meant to say.

I have a cheap industrial scale that goes to 70 pounds, so I've used that to get the weight right before leaving the house. Last year, on the way back, the guy at the desk in Reno was really nice. He said I could check my bags any time during the day. I didn't have my scale on the return trip, so I didn't pack correctly but he let me shuffle things in the lobby until I got everything under 50 pounds.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby vlawrence84 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:17 pm

Do you have details on the amtrack getting to BM. I may be in the same position. Does it drop you close?

Please let me know.

I am coming from Los Angeles Cali
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Savannah » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:23 pm

You can get as far as Reno on the train, I think. You'll need to check the Amtrak site yourself to verify if that's still the case, and not sold out.

From Reno, you can rideshare (2013 Share Resources forum, and post on http://rideshare.burningman.com) or take the Burner Express bus.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby graidawg » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:38 pm

Hey i am getting the train from reno to DC after the burn. however i am embarrassed :oops: to say i don't know what the date i am getting on the train is. i think its a wednesday, fortunately i have a wonderful campmate logistical fetishist who does know. 8)

if i put a :coffee: out she is sure to let me know :D
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:22 am

vlawrence84 wrote:Do you have details on the amtrack getting to BM. I may be in the same position. Does it drop you close?


Reno is closest. The train station is a 1 mile walk from the Save Mart at I-80 (Center St. is right by the station: cross over the tracks there then take a left on E. 4th St. Save Mart is on the right after a mile, technically on Keystone, but you can cut across parking lots.) From there you can hitch a ride.

We're taking the Burner Express bus which leaves from the airport. If the train is on time, we'll go to Save Mart for a while then take a cab to the airport; otherwise, just cab straight to the airport. And if it's really late, hitch a ride at Save Mart.

On the way back, we're going to stay at a casino/hotel by the train station, so we'll take the hotel's shuttle from the airport. We are bringing big plastic bags to put our dusty shit in so the drivers won't have reason to have a hissy fit. The train leaves long after we check out at noon, but last year they let me check my bags early in the day (and even shuffle things in the lobby to hit the 50 pound weight limit.)
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby SmashyMcSpoodle » Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:32 pm

Amtrak website says they don't allow you to bring plastic containers as baggage. I was counting on using a big blue Rubbermaid bin for my costumes that I can't squish. Are they strict about this?

Will they care if I carry a little isopropoline camp fuel canister?

Aaaaannnnnd do people get to choose their own seats or is it decided for you like an airplane?
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