|Subject: Re: Coast Starlight|
I have taken that trip, and definitely would recommend the LA-SLO segment over the rest. As I recall, much of it goes right along the ocean. The most amazing stretch is the hourlong segment that cuts along the edge of Vandenberg AFB. It is untouched and pristine, and an area that you would otherwise never see because of its being a military base.
I would not worry about reserving a seat in the best spot, as you don't get the full effect from the coach seats. Instead, as soon as you board you should send one of your party over to the observation car to snag a few good spots there. The chairs aren't as plush and comfortable as the coach seats, but the tradeoff is worth it.
Also, don't expect the train to run on time. Sometimes it does, but often it doesn't.
JoAnne in sunny warm Silicon Valley, CA