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) -
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?
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.
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.