It's slow (very), but the views are sensational, and the seats are way better than airplane seats, and I really enjoyed it. We went along the Columbia and Willamette rivers, right out of a Woody Guthrie song.
Union Station in LA is fabulously art-deco, and King Street station in Seattle will should be pretty impressive too, when they finish restoring it.
Didn't have time to get off at Salinas to go to Carmel - that'll have to be next time.
Pictures: The train at Klamath Falls, Oregon station (I think).