West Coast Train Trip
|West Coast Train Trip|
|Location||Los Angeles to Seattle|
The West Coast Train Trip, or "PAXTrain" for short, is a coordinated effort for PAX-goers to ride the same train at the same time going up the western coast of the United States to Seattle for PAX Prime as an alternative to driving or flying.
Taking the train is like attending an intimate “Mini-Convention,” and has been described as Turning PAX into a week long event. It’s great way to get to know people who will be going to PAX with you, share stories of PAXs gone by, talk about general geekery, and, if you opt for the return trip, talk about all the cool shit you just did/saw/experienced at PAX.
The observation car is where one can find PAXTrain-goers who like to bring card games, table top games, pen and paper rpgs, etc. to play with other like-minded individuals, while RockBand is usually set up in the Arcade Car for those wishing to get their rock on.
When patrons of the PAXTrain feel the need to escape the excitement, they can return to their seat, or sleeper car if they have the coin, to read a book, listen to music, play solitaire, etc.
The West Coast Train Trip is the successor to The West Coast Super trip, the original collective nerd migration established in 2004.
- CTishman, an organizer for the West Coast Super Trip made the decision to move the trip from the highway to the rails. An idea he had considered previously. Does not actually go on said trip due to having moved to Seattle.
- With out a leader, patrons of the First West Coast Train Trip thrust the role onto Augustus.
- With the experience of the first year under his belt Augustus gives the train trip a communist theme, assumes the role of commissar and appoints PAXTrain veterans as staff based on roles they assumed the year before.
- Rockband becomes a staple of PAXTrain
- Someone decides Jenga would be fun on a train. We call it Trainga.
- Epic Bohemian Rhapsody Sing along followed by Still Alive.
- New patrons of PAXTrain take issue with Augustus's Leadership style. "You're on a power trip and need to settle down."
- Augustus moves to Seattle
- TimeCruiserMike takes over organizing PAXTrain
- Train Twister introduced.
The heart and soul of the West Coast Train Trip is all the stuff people bring for the enjoyment of others. Every year we need people to volunteer their equipment for the cause.
- A Rockband Setup. We need one or more people to supply a full set of Rockband controllers: 2 Guitars, Drums, Keyboard(if Rockband 3), up to 3 Microphones, an Xbox 360(preferably with a hard-drive that contains a large collection of songs), a TV, and of course a copy of Rockband.
- RPGs. Thirty-two hours is a lot of time to spend on a train. Many people like to spend a good portion of that time playing Pen and Paper or Table top RPGs. We need Game Masters to run scheduled and/or spur of the moment Campaigns.
- Movie Night. Late at night, when most Amtrak patrons have returned to their seats and gone to sleep, we gather in the observation car to watch a movie. Some type of multi-screen setup would be ideal for this. The more screens the better.
To attend, you need to buy a ticket for the Amtrak Coast Starlight 14 and/or Coast Starlight 11 for the return trip. Ticket prices increase as the departure date gets closer so be sure to buy as early as you can. Amtrak also sometimes offers sales so look out for those too.
You'll need to be prepared to survive on PAXTrain. Following is a list of stuff you probably should bring if you want to have a livable experience on the rails.
- You are allowed to carry on two bags, and check three (if you board at a station that allows checked baggage). We suggest checking a suitcase for your PAX supplies and packing a separate carry-on bag / backpack. This pack should contain personal effects and clothing, as well as everything else you think you'll need on the train.
- Earplugs and an eye mask. It is considered PAXTrain courtesy to be quiet in all coach areas, where people may be sleeping - but still, be prepared. If you're upstairs people will be walking through at all hours.
- A toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, a comb, and if you need them, shaving razors and cream. No showers are provided for coach passengers, so if you're on the train for two days bring wipes or a sponge or something to wash the stank off in the bathroom sink the second day. Ignoring basic hygiene highlights a disregard for your fellow gamers, who are great people who don't need to know what you smell like after two days without cleaning yourself in a cramped environment.
- Snacks. There is a snack cart and a dining car, but it's not cheap. You can save some money if you bring some food and water with you.
- Your meds. Nobody needs to see you off them.
We also recommend the following items:
- A power strip. We plan on bringing power squids and some power strips, but there are never enough outlets.
- A handheld system - a Nintendo DS or 3DS is the preferred item for wireless gaming. A PSP is welcome but has more of a personal role rather than multiplaying with the cool kids.
- A book for pleasure reading. We advise everyone to occasionally take a break from train festivities to "regroup", and read a book or listen to music.
- Headphones, preferably a pair of ear buds rather than studio headphones, but to each his own. It is considered rude to subject others to the noise of your personal entertainment device.
- Cash. Dining with fellow PAXTrain-goers is a good way to relax and get to know some people. Expect about one breakfast (from the snack cart), two lunches and two dinners with each trip (either from the snack cart or the dining car), each meal running about 10 dollars or more. The food in the private dining car isn't bad. Apart from that, bring spare cash for snacks or bring your own in your travel backpack.