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Amtrak across America!

(20 Posts)
AlpacaPicnic Sun 15-Jun-14 21:57:09

It's been a long held dream of mine to travel across the USA by train... And it looks like I might actually pull it off in a couple of years time!

So I'm playing around with potential itineries ATM... One of my many original plans was to fly to New York, train all the way across the top of the states stopping off at interesting places on the way then fly back from Los Angeles/San Francisco area...

Where should I go in between?

lolalotta Sun 15-Jun-14 22:04:47

I did this when I was 18, it was amazing! We did New York, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, LA, San Francisco. We travelled through the Rockies on Amtrak. Was a loooooong journey, but the scenery was amazing. Have fun and enjoy! grin

soupmaker Sun 15-Jun-14 22:08:28

I travelled from Sacramento to Chicago over 20 years ago. Was brilliant. Went through desert, mountains and everything in between. I wish I'd kept going onto New York to make the whole trip across.

stargirl1701 Sun 15-Jun-14 22:11:02

I did New York to LA via the South and then LA to New York via the North on Greyhound about 20 years ago. Amazing!

What do you want to see/do?

Grand Canyon?
Mount Rushmore?
National Parks?

AlpacaPicnic Sun 15-Jun-14 22:50:58

See? All of it!
Washington DC - White House, smithsonion, Lincoln memorial etc.
I really want to go to Des Moines, Iowa because my favourite author is from there...
I've been to Chicago but only for a couple of days so I would like to do that again.
There's so much choice!

tribpot Sun 15-Jun-14 22:54:44

Very jealous - I'd also love to do the trip by train. Keep us posted on your progress!

KarlWrenbury Sun 15-Jun-14 22:54:51

there is a book by Peter Millar you might like on this topic. I think the US train service is not so reliable or extensive

AlpacaPicnic Sun 15-Jun-14 23:36:22

Ooh, thank you Karl. I've put in a request for that at the library.
Ain't modern technology a wonderful thing?! It's nearly midnight and I'm sitting up in bed ordering library books online!
I digress...
I'll be going all by myself and leaving DH and the dcs <dear cats!> at home to fend for themselves! Am I brave, or stupid or both?
I've just dreamed of doing this ever since I was in school and read 'The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson (of Des Moines which is why I want to go there)
That was <adds up on fingers> 20 years ago and I've never grown out of the feeling of just wanting to go.

joydivisionovengloves Mon 16-Jun-14 09:21:49

I did this when I was 19. My itinerary was New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Raleigh NC,New Orleans, Tucson, LA, San Fransisco, Denver (and Boulder by bus), Chicago, Buffalo, Niagara, Boston, New York. Loved every minute.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 16-Jun-14 10:59:29

Have a look at Amtrak's current routings offered:-

Re Des Moines:-

The Osceola Amtrak station is a train station in Osceola, Iowa, United States served by Amtrak, the national railroad passenger system. Among Amtrak stations in Iowa, Osceola is closest to Des Moines, Iowa's capital and most populous city. However, the station is still 45 to 50 miles (72 to 80 km) from the centre of Des Moines.

Hope you manage to make this journey, it sounds fab!.

AlpacaPicnic Mon 16-Jun-14 16:46:52

Ok? S

AlpacaPicnic Mon 16-Jun-14 16:48:19

Ok, so I would be looking at a greyhound coach to Des Moines - thats fine! I will go there by any means!
Ive got two years to plan.. Thats the funnest part!

slug Mon 16-Jun-14 17:03:03

Ooohh!! I spent 3 months Amtracking around the States after doing a season on the summer camps. Be aware the trains don't go everywhere so it's sometimes worthwhile hiring a car as well. The Grand canyon especially is a bit like that. I seem to remember driving there from Tuscon, (or was it Phoenix?)

I had no troubles traveling on my own, though I did manage to get several marriage proposals from the weirder element who were tickled at my adventurousness. I generally found the Americans incredibly lovely and helpful. When my train to Salt lake City was delayed and didn't get in till 3:30am, the station staff let me stay in the waiting room and locked the station around me, letting me sleep in safety until 7:30 when I could get a bus tot he youth hostel I was staying in.

breward Wed 18-Jun-14 18:35:03

Sounds like an amazing trip is planned. Can I be nosy and ask, how much travelling by train across America costs? I'm thinking a couple of thousand pounds , but I could be way off the mark!

flippetygibbet Wed 18-Jun-14 18:49:26

I've half planned that trip a few times...i would head south as would love to go to new orleans again - had a v fleeting visit once pre katrina and so different from anywhere else I've been in the us. think most of the routes run out of chicago nyc-chicago- new orleans -las vegas/grand canyon -san francisco not fussed about lax for some reason but would like to see the pacific highway so maybe drive that bit then some how cut through the dakotas/wyoming (also book related Annie Proulx postcards for me grin) as the scenery such a part of the book...but somehow would have to end with the rockies trip as know people that have done it and supposed to be amazing- Start and finish at the Oyster bar in grand central station NYC...

AlpacaPicnic Wed 18-Jun-14 19:42:55

Breward - not as pricy as you'd think if you plan yourself...
You can buy a USA rail pass which is good for 15 days and 8 individual journeys within those 15 days. This costs $449. This will get you a seat on a train but you do need to book your train in advance. If you want to upgrade to a private room on the train that you can sleep in, and in some cases shower in, it costs quite a bit more. So my plan is to try and stop off overnight as much as possible.
Plus, I don't want to sleep, I want to see scenery!

breward Wed 18-Jun-14 19:54:46

Wow! that is really reasonable. What a great way to spend 15 days. I'll add it to my must-do one day list!!

eileenrose1 Tue 24-Jun-14 11:06:00

I've travelled a lot by Amtrak and it's quite an experience. It's not fast but it's a safe way to travel and you see some fantastic scenery. Children especially love the big shiny trains. You can book a 'family' room compartment if you want to but we were just as happy in coach class.

Bradt's USA by Rail guidebook is very helpful when planning a trip.

AlpacaPicnic Thu 10-Jul-14 00:04:07

This weeks rough itinery is...

Fly to Boston.
(1) Boston to buffalo.
(2) Buffalo to Cleveland.
(3) Cleveland to Chicago.
(4) Chicago to Omaha.
(5) Omaha to Denver.
(6) Denver to Salt Lake City.
(7) Salt Lake City to San Francisco.
Fly home! Immediately start saving for next trip...

So that's seven stages. I can squeeze in an eighth for the same ticket price.

CheerfulYank Thu 10-Jul-14 00:09:49

Minnesota! Come see me grin

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