FYI, I found a nice site discussing promotions going on for Amtrak train tickets:
The free companion ticket (when you buy a regular/senior/student ticket) would work great if you live in California, or around. Check out the details here:
Register for free and you will receive a coupon within a few days in regular mail. With the promotion code on the coupon, make a phone reservation with Amtrak, and then pick up the tickets at the nearest Amtrak station. Enjoy!