A short while ago I decided to take a weekend trip to LA to visit a friend and do a little sightseeing. Until then, I’d only ever driven to LA. If you’ve ever done the drive, you know it’s not a pleasant experience. Refusing to torture myself yet again with a four-hour Friday afternoon drive – in a car with manual transmission, no less – I immediately explored other options for heading north; I could hop on a flight from San Diego or Carlsbad at a wallet-emptying $300-400, or I could check out the oft-overlooked travel beast-of-burden known as Amtrak. At $74 round trip on the train, it was a pretty easy choice.