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Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

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Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby BSquared » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:43 am

We tried to take Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Airport a couple of weeks ago, but the train that was to take us from Jack London Square to the airport refused to make the trip, despite the fact that it was on the schedule. We had to take a taxi from Jack London to the Airport. :unibrow:

Here's the deal: As long as you make reservations on a train that is scheduled to go all the way to the Airport/Coliseum station you're fine. However, if you have to change trains in Jack London Square (which will depend on exactly when you leave Merced), the train that's scheduled to take you the last leg, from the Square to the Airport, won't actually make that last part of the trip unless someone already on that train has reservations for the Airport/Coliseum station. Apparently Amtrak has to reserve the tracks in advance, and their default is not to reserve them unless they know someone's going to need that part of the trip. As far as I know, there's nothing one can do about this once one is stuck in the Jack London Square station, but I haven't investigated thoroughly.

A cab from Jack London Square to the Oakland Airport is about twenty bucks and will take you right to your airline, while with Amtrak you have to take a (free) shuttle bus from the Coliseum to the airport, so a cab might be a better idea anyway...
—B²



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Re: Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby ERIC » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:48 pm

We usually take Amtrak to Richmond Amtrak station and walk over to the Richmond BART station (just the other side of the tracks, ~5 minute walk). If traveling on the weekend, think you need to change lines once along the way (Daly City is recommended), but other than that, it's a really painless way to get to SFO from the Central Valley.
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Re: Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:42 pm

Hey B2,

Glad you made it back ok. How was the JMT hike ?
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Re: Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby markskor » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:02 pm

Yes B²,
I am glad you made it back safe. I waited for you below Donahue and again at 1000 Island...no show...was almost worried, but the fishing was too good there to stop and look for you.
Sorry to hear about the sore foot and that you had to bail out for a spell at Mammoth...I guess you were just a bit out of shape for the entire ordeal this year...must be getting old. (Speaking as another old fart who just turned 60.)...BTW, You should have seen OldRanger work the trail...62 years young and an amazing hiker...I would actually hate him now, but he is, afterall, a fisherman like me, so I guess we have to make certain allowances for our elders.
Trail Crest can indeed be a nice afternoon place to wait.
Mark
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Re: Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby BSquared » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:50 pm

ERIC wrote:We usually take Amtrak to Richmond Amtrak station and walk over to the Richmond BART station (just the other side of the tracks, ~5 minute walk). If traveling on the weekend, think you need to change lines once along the way (Daly City is recommended), but other than that, it's a really painless way to get to SFO from the Central Valley.


Oops, yes, I'd forgot that we found about the BART/Amtrak transfer business in Richmond after we'd finished our trip. Yes, absolutely that would be the way to go.

Thanks for the encouragement, ToT and Mark! I think if I ever do this again (and I probably won't do the JMT again -- I think I'd rather do some basecamping/dayhiking trips), I'll be sure to (1.) start more slowly, and (2.) put in LOTS of layover days. I have schedules to keep to at work; no need to do the same thing at play!
—B²
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Re: Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:12 pm

B2,

Your friends SPOT device was fun to watch though, as it bounced Waay to the airport and back to the trailhead, and thenafter. Thanks for sharing that link.

Russ
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Re: Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby markskor » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:44 pm

Doing the big ticket hikes like the JMT (PCT or Sierra High Route) is nice, but always involves: Schedules...x miles per day...food drops...have to be there/cannot stop here...always pushing ahead...just 5 more miles today.
This whole ordeal just messes with my aging psyche.

When I was a young man, maybe it was worth it to subject myself to all this strenuous mileage/day crapola, but now that I am approaching senility, I find that the Sierra is just too nice to hurry through...take your sweet ass time instead...it is a vacation after all. Sure is better to not plan everything so tightly, figuring in accordingly with extra free days aplenty and enjoy yourself thoroughly, than make the entire trek a totally pre-planned, pre-programmed ordeal... can turn quickly into a long scheduled two weeks of misery that way. You must allow the trail (and serendipity) to dictate its terms, not the other way around. The Trail always knows best...take your time...maybe less miles but more smiles.

Sure, it is nice to say that you did the Muir (again), but why rush it and perhaps injure yourself.
I would rather do my type summer's hike...125 miles in 24 days and stop when and where I want, than have to do that whole thing again...no thanks. I have done the Muir now 5 times...the Tahoe Yosemite trail twice, and various parts of the PCT in the past...thus I know how it goes. Why spend the entire trip looking down at your shoes? Now I have different priorities...fishing. It is nicer to do ~8 miles, hit camp early afternoon, and spend my remaining energy next to some azure lake...the trail will always be there...the fish may not be biting later.

A hiking man today must have the right priorities, and killing oneself just to finish up some arbitrary pre-set schedule is not one of mine. Take the time to smell the roses along the way.
Mark
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Re: Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:57 pm

markskor wrote:Doing the big ticket hikes like the JMT (PCT or Sierra High Route) is nice, but always involves: Schedules...x miles per day...food drops...have to be there/cannot stop here...always pushing ahead...just 5 more miles today.
This whole ordeal just messes with my aging psyche.


Wow. So in this thread i've learned that you two are old(er) than me; OR goes without saying :D . I learned at 40 that i target what i want to do, and it's not about hiking; It's the target. For me, picking good fishing lakes and having a good time with friends who share the experience.

In my 20's/30's it was about hiking and looking around, but there were still goals. Yes, again fish.

BSquared, i hope you had a good time. Mark, sorry you lost your grand marnier. Some on this site have it right; pick a goal, go for it, and report what messed you up, or if it was glorious (like BadMan's family trip report,) kudos.

Random thoughts,

Russ
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Re: Amtrak from Merced to Oakland Warning

Postby BSquared » Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:48 am

Amen to all, Mark. Utterly :)
—B²
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