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'18 Travels through America

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#1 v v

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 10:19 PM

The route is now set, but we are prone to making 'on the hoof' changes on occasion, so here is the booked but until it's finished theoretical route plan. It's around 9000 miles within the US, all on public transport. Plane, train and bus is what we'll use unless we get stuck somewhere (MSP for example) where we may resort to a cab.

Plan to rent a car 2 or 3 times but for the local area only. After each stop-over we'll generally re-board at the station we got off at or at least the same town if train to bus or bus to train.


Unless we win the lottery this is the last USA extended journey for us, we still have central Asia and South America to explore. Borrowing an American phrase we've had blast making these US long distance journeys. The winner has always been the American people, rich, poor black or white, from the roughest to the most refined we have been genuinely welcomed to the great USA.


When we decided on our first Amtrak LD trip we had taken 2 such journeys in Europe and one in Australia. Before each one we have been as excited as kids, and now looking forward to this February start we feel even more excited than before.


So after all that here's the booked route which starts in South Woodham Ferrers (SWF), UK on the 20 February 2018 and ends at South Woodham Ferrers, UK on the 6 April 2018 (theoretically) -  



Part I


20 Feb 2018   SWF to Brentwood, Essex, UK  (small branch line train)


21 Feb   Brentwood to London Heathrow Airport (LHR)  (main Line and London Tube)


21 Feb   LHR to San Francisco Airport (SFR)  direct flight


21 Feb   SFR to San Francisco TransBay Temporary Terminal (SFC)  (BART or bus)


21 Feb   SFC to Emeryville (EMY)  (Amtrak Thruway Bus)


21 Feb   EMY to Seattle (SEA)  (Amtrak 14 Coast Starlight - Sleeper)  


22 Feb   Arrive SEA evening, (Light Rail) out to hotel at SEATAC Airport


22 - 25 Feb   Seattle, WA


25 Feb   SEA to Essex, Montana (ESM )  (Amtrak 8 Empire Builder - Coach)


26 Feb   Arrive ESM for a stay at the legendary Izaak Walton Lodge, winter wonderland


27 Feb   ESM to Minneapolis Saint Paul (MSP)  (Amtrak 8 Empire Builder - Sleeper)


28 Feb   Arrive MSP hoping to visit one or two of MSP's delights before again hoping to meet a fellow AUer for dinner, then onto a Greyhound that night


 1 Mar   00:01am MSP to Lawrence, KS (LRC) via a transfer at Kansas City, MO (KCY)  (Greyhound/Jefferson Bus)


 1 Mar   Arrive LRC for family visit


 2 Mar   Transfer LRC back to KCY


 2 - 4 Mar   Kansas City


 5 Mar   00:25am KCY to Denver, CO (DEN)  (Greyhound)


 5 Mar   Arrive DEN local bus to hotel


 6 Mar   DEN to SFC  - back to where we started -  (Amtrak 5 Californian Zephyr - Sleeper) this is the first LD rail journey we will have ever ridden twice, can't wait.


 7 Mar   Arrive EMY to take Amtrak Thruway Bus 5005 back to SFC. Local bus to hotel just to the west of Van Ness Avenue. Any ideas where to eat an evening meal in the Van Ness area please?



Part II


 8 Mar   Local bus back to SFC. Am Thruway Bus 4796 to Salinas, CA (SNS). Second attempt to visit the Steinbeck Center.


 8 Mar   Local bus to Monterey, CA (MRY), direct to hotel


 8 Mar - 10 Mar   MRY - whale watching if lucky


11 Mar   Local bus back to SNS


11 Mar   SNS to San Luis Obispo, CA (SLO)  (Am 4792 Thruway Bus)


11 Mar   SLO to Nan Nuys, CA (VNC)  (Amtrak 796 Pacific Surfliner - Coach) this is the second LD-ish rail journey we will have ever ridden twice, can't wait again


11 Mar   Arrive VNC and meet up with our great friend M


12 Mar - 18 Mar   Los Angeles. Very little arranged except definitely re-visiting Du-pars pie shop and hopefully Philippe's by Union Station


18 Mar   LAX to San Diego (SAN)  (Amtrak 580 Pacific Surfliner - Coach)


18 Mar   Arrive SAN and make our way to downtown hotel by?


19 Mar - 21 Mar   San Diego. Nothing arranged, a former resident suggested it's just good to be there.



Part III


21 Mar   SAN to Tucson, AZ (TUS)  (Greyhound)


21 Mar   Arrive TUS and make our way to hotel by?


22 Mar   TUS to Austin, TX (AUS)  (Amtrak 422 Texas Eagle - Sleeper) Still debating whether we should take a chance and walk round to the Alamo while train is re-organised into it's separate parts?


23 Mar   Arrive AUS and make our way by ? to hotel. Hope during that day to meet the inimitable Bob Dylan and shown the secrets of Austin.


24 Mar   Leaving late evening AUS to Memphis (MEM)  (Greyhound)


25 Mar   Arrive MEM and make our way to hotel downtown by local bus


26 Mar - 28 Mar   Memphis. Have a question about Memphis, will post separately


28 Mar   MEM to New Orleans, LA (NOL)  (Amtrak 59 City of New Orleans (CONO) - Coach). We have a 6 hour layover if on time, good place to take a walk after all the sitting


28 Mar   NOL to Jacksonville, FL (JAX)  (Greyhound)  via the coastal route


29 Mar   Arrive JAX and make our way to hotel near Airport by local bus


30 Mar - 1 Apr   Jacksonville. Rental car from airport and hopefully meeting with fellow Amtrak rider D who hails from JAX. Cumberland Island and Amelia Island on our visit list.


1 Apr   JAX to Miami , FL (MIA)  (Amtrak 97 Silver Meteor - Coach)


1 Apr   Arrive MIA, round to Airport car rentals by? then drive down to Homestead, FL hotel


2 Apr - 4 Apr   Southern Florida. One full day in Miami, one full day in the Everglades with long time barge friends who are driving across from Naples, FL


4 Apr   MIA to LHR evening departure direct flight 


5 Apr   Arrive London morning, London tube and Main Line back to Brentwood, Essex.


6 Apr   Brentwood to SWF Main Line and Branch Line, back at the start more than 6 weeks before (theoretically).



If we achieve a lot of this journey we'll be pretty pleased. If we achieve most of this we'll be amazed. If we achieve all of this it could be miracle level...  we'll see.

Edited by v v, Yesterday, 01:34 PM.

#2 oregon pioneer

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 12:11 PM

Can't wait to read your trip reports!



I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.

#3 Ronbo


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Posted 06 January 2018 - 12:26 PM

Boy, you have got a busy day on 21 February!

#4 v v

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 02:04 PM



If we survive to write it Jennifer

#5 Bob Dylan

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 04:24 PM

Looking forward to the rest of the Adventure and for sure meeting y'all upon arrival into Austin Jamie!😉

Your flight across the pond is on my birthday, so I'll hoist a pint to yall!😊

Edited by Bob Dylan, 06 January 2018 - 04:25 PM.

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#6 v v

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 07:47 PM



After we board the plane we'll raise our first cup of tea to you, looking forward to Austin a lot

#7 Seaboard92



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Posted 07 January 2018 - 05:21 PM

I love Seattle and because I used to date a girl from there I can make fine recommendations of places to see. Make sure you go to Ballard there is a fantastic record store Bop Street Records there. I highly recommend that you go to have lunch or dinner in Smith Tower. It's a lovely place to eat with a view of the skyline.

Take the Washington State Ferry across the water to get a lovely view of the skyline from the Sound. I recommend late evening so you get daylight leaving and a night cruise on the return. And it's inexpensive.

If you want a Mediterranean restaurant there is a lovely one on east bay next door to my ex's apartment. If you would like the address just PM me and I'll relay it to you. It's just two doors down from her place.

Be sure to ride the Seattle Slut (South Lake Union Trolley). If you had more time I would suggest popping down to Portland where I can make more recommendations. Or up to Vancouver.
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#8 v v

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 08:47 PM

Thanks Seaboard that's a really varied set of ideas for us and kind of you to take the trouble.


But we only have 2 1/2 days in Seattle and it's a long long journey so we'll stroll rather than run sometimes. When you write Mediterranean restaurant what would that mean? As Europeans we'd see Greek food as quite different to Spanish, or French or Italian, or Turkish without the cuisines of North Africa too.

Obviously it's a term used in the US but not sure how you mean that.


If there's a different restaurant that you recommend we would certainly like to hear about it, I'll send you a PM.


We have a Dutch friend who was in Seattle a couple of years ago and he too suggested the ferry, but what a good idea of going out in the day and back in the evening, we'll do that providing there aren't 6 foot waves in the sound, Rosie only just survives a ripple in a Mill Pond.


We thought to go up Discovery park to get a view of the city with Mt Rainier behind it, have you done that? The Seattle Slut is a name to conjure with isn't it, could be fun.


Thanks again

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