California Best of Trains, Skates and Sleighs



Bald Eagles Winter along the Mississippi River
When the winter blues set in this year, it’s time to plan a trip to the Quad Cities for the yearly Bald Eagle Days and Bald Eagle Watch held each January along the Mississippi River.

The Quad Cities, which sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, is made up of the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. Each year, from mid-December through February the area serves as host to around 2,500 Bald Eagles making their annual southern migration from Canada to the unfrozen waters of the Mississippi River.

Residents and visitors alike look to the skies to watch the eagles, easily identified by the white feathers of their heads and tails and their immense wingspans. A symbol of freedom and strength, and once on the brink of extinction, the Bald Eagles regularly awe visitors who line the banks of the Mississippi River on crisp, clear winter mornings.

Just down the river from Locks and Dams 14 and 15, these magnificent birds of prey gather along the wooded bluffs to spend the winter in the Quad Cities. The waters of the river remain unfrozen, fish is plentiful and old-growth forests provide prime sites for perching and roosting.

The Quad Cities celebrates these transient residents each January with a series of events, tours and eagle watching opportunities.

Bald Eagle Days Environmental Fair and Wildlife Art Show is another celebration January 7-8, 2006, at the QCCA Expo Center located at 2621 4th Avenue in Rock Island, IL. It is the largest event in the Midwest dedicated to the United States’ national symbol of freedom. Thousands of residents and visitors turn out for the annual event which includes: live eagle programs, live Artic wolf demonstrations for Nancy Gibson, the former host of PBS’s Newton’s Apple; live bird of prey demonstrations from the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis, MO, as well as a Dangerous Reptile presentation by Clyde Reiling from Reptile Land. In addition to the above, some of the Midwest’s finest artists exhibit in the wildlife art show and sale. There is also Native American dance, craft and lore demonstration.

The Mississippi River Visitors Center on Arsenal Island, between Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois, offers eagle watches and Clock Tower tours every weekend on Saturdays and Sundays from January 14-February 19 at 9:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm. For reservations, call 309-794-5338.

The Mississippi Valley Welcome Center in LeClaire, Iowa,--a 15-minute drive from the Quad Cities—will host a Bald Eagle Watch on January 28 and 29, 2006. Special events are planned by the staff at the Welcome Center. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park rangers will present slide programs and set up spotting scopes for viewing. The event is free to the public.

There are also prime viewing locations in the area. The best spots are Lock and Dam 14 at Pleasant Valley, Iowa, and Hampton, Illinois. The Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois, riverfronts down river from Lock and Dam 15 offer frequent sightings. In addition, Sunset Park in Rock Island and Credit Island in Davenport also serve as prime viewing areas.

If you would like a guided tour, Quad Cities’ naturalist Bob Motz offers professional 2 to 3 hour Bald Eagle watching tours. He guarantees eagle sightings to tour groups and offers a refund should his tour fail to produce any sightings. He has yet to refund money to his clients. Mr. Motz can be reached at 309-788-8389 or by email at [email protected]

If you like the outdoors, the area offers downhill and cross-country skiing, ice-skating, ice fishing and winter hiking at any one of the areas large forest preserves or parks. For more information on holiday tours, specials, attractions and other information about the Quad Cities, please contact the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800. You can also visit the CVB at its web site at

The Quad Cities is located on the Mississippi River and is made up of the riverfront cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline/East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The area is just a 2-½ hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois, and easily accessible via I-80, I-74, I-88 and several major state highways.

Online Reservations
Book Tahoe Sleigh Tours

Lake Tahoe Sleigh Rides
Sleigh Ride with Dinner
Snowmobile Tour Tahoe

Sierra Meadows Ranch
1 Sherwin Creek Rd.
P.O.Box 4058,
Mammoth Lakes, 93546

Borges Family
Sleigh Rides
P.O. Box 5905
Stateline, NV 89449
800/ 726-RIDE
Wilderness Adventures
Sugar Bowl
Sleigh Rides
Hwy.80 South of Norden
530/ 426-3651

California: Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

Bear Valley Cross Country
PO Box 5120
Bear Valley, CA
209 753-2834
Montecito-Sequoia Lodge
8000 Generals Hwy
Kings Canyon NP
800 227-9900
Black Top Hockey
630 Russell Ave
Santa Rosa, CA
707 579-0671 Olympic Ice Pavillion
1960 Squaw Valley Rd
Olympic Valley, CA
530 581-7246
Downtown Ice Rink
701 K St
Sacramento, CA
916 442-8575 Squaw Valley USA
PO Box 2007
Olympic Valley, CA
530 583-6985
Holiday Ice Rink
Market & Embarcadero
San Francisco CA
415 956-2688 Yosemite Outdoor Ice Rink
Yosemite Village
Yosemite National Park
Kristi Yamaguchi
Holiday Ice Rink
Justin Herman Plaza
San Francisco, CA
415 956-2688 The Winter Lodge
3009 Middlefield Rd
Palo Alto, CA
650 493-4566
Union Square Skating Rink
Post & Stockton St
San Francisco, CA
415-SKATING Long Barn Lodge Ice Rink
25957 Long Barn Rd
Long Barn, CA
800 310-3533
Big Bear
Baldwin Lake
Stables & Petting Zoo
909/585-0284 Moonridge Animal Park
@ foot of Bear Mtn
909/866-0183 .

California City
Silver Saddle Ranch
20751 Aristotle Dr

Pony Express & Petting Zoo
501 Tevis Trail

Farmer Mountain Vale Ranch
4180 Hwy 78
open May - Sept.
M-F 9am -5pm
farm animals
& exotic birds California Wolf Center
18457 Hwy 79
open first & last Sat of
tours: 2pm
wolf families in natural settings Lelin Llamas
1645 Whispering Pines Dr.
P.O. Box 2363
Julian CA 92036
Petting Hours
9am - 5pm daily

Malibu Feed Bin
Malibu @ Topanga
3931 Topanga Cyn Blvd

San Diego
San Diego Wild Animal Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd. Escondido

San Juan Capistrano
The Jones Family Mini Farm
31791 Los Rios St

Sonoma Traintown & Petting Zoo
20264 Broadway - Highway 12


Why sit in traffic for hours trying to get away for the weekend, when the Amtrak can take you to your destination without all the stress? Grab a magazine, good book or bring your laptop & get some work done. Let someone else do the driving while you enjoy a meal, a beer, socializing or a nap & arrive at your vacation relaxed. No need to make reservations way in advance, the stations will be there for your ticket purchase when you want it. Bring your bike along for a small fee.

Historical Trains Centers
Sightseeing Trains
Wine & Dinner Trains
Commuter Trains

The Train of States's Price: $12.23

Strangers on a Train's Price: $10.36

Night Train to Rigel's Price: $16.47

The Polar Express: The Movie: ...'s Price: $10.39

Frommer's Europe by Rail's Price: $16.31


Southern California
San Diego Backcountry Ventura County
San Diego Railroad Museum
Hwy. 94, Campo
Day trips or 5 full length excursions
+ Copper Cyn. Baja Mexico Trips
619/595-3030 Fillmore & Western Train Ride
weekend scenic train rides on vintage train, murder mystery event trains, Christmas train rides and more!
250 Central Ave.
Fillmore, CA 93015
800/ 773-8724
805/ 524-2546

Central Coast California
Felton / Santa Cruz Mtns
Roaring Camp RailRoads
P.O.Box G-1
Felton, CA 95018
831/ 335-4484
Scenic train trips
Reserve Train Rides Online!
Beach Trains
Redwoods Train Ride

Fort Bragg & Mendocino
Skunk Train
Foot of Laurel St. in Ft. Bragg
PO Box 907
Fort Bragg CA 95437
Scenic train trips thru redwoods daily

Gold Country

Railtown 1897


Yolo Short Line Railroad & Golden River Line
800/942-6387 California State
Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street, Old Sacramento

Yosemite Mt. Sugar Pine Railroad
56001 Hwy. 41
Fish Camp CA

Wine Country
Napa & Sonoma Valley
Napa Wine Train
downtown Napa
1275 McKinstry St
Napa, CA
800/ 427-4124
707/ 253-2111 Sonoma Traintown
20264 Broadway - Highway 12
707/938-3912 Wine and Dine Tour
P.O. Box 513
345 La Fata Suite E
St. Helena CA 94574
Napa Valley Wine Trains - Reserve Wine Train Online!

Northern California
Dunsmuir McCloud Yreka
Railroad Park Resort
100 Railroad Park. Rd
530/235-0420 McCloud Dinner Train
530/235-4440 Blue Goose Steam Train
300 E. Miner


SoCal - Ease of Travel
kiss traffic jams goodbye!

San Diego Coaster

Commuter train that travels the coastal regions of San Diego County, Oceanside to Downtown
This is a new addition to the So.Cal. coast. Take a day trip for lunch up the coast to Carlsbad or head south for city sights.
San Diego Trolley

Red trolley that incompassses regions of San Diego:

Downtown, El Cajon, La Mesa,
Mission Valley, Qualcom Stadium, Old Town Historic Area & Tijuana on U.S. / Baja Calif. border


From border to border, this main line train covers the whole state of Califonia with bus connections to areas without tracks. Offering overnight sleeper trains in some routes. Mendicino coast, Redwood National Park, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara & Yosemite National Park

Amtrak Logo & City Codes are located throughout the Total Escape site
Los Angeles Metrolink

Commuter train from:
North-Ventura County
South-Orange County
East-Riverside County
West-Los Angeles