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'18 Travels through America

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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 (SFO) direct flight

 

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

 

21 Feb SFC to Emeryville (EMY) (Amtrak 5014 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

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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

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Bob

 

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

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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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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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I had breakfast at the Athenian Inn at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. Good food and a friendly waitress. Nice views of Puget Sound, and as icing on the cake, scenes from the Tom Hanks movie Sleepless in Seattle were shot at this restaurant.

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Taken a note of that Woodcut, thanks. Was there anything else you particularly liked while in Seattle?

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Taken a note of that Woodcut, thanks. Was there anything else you particularly liked while in Seattle?

If y'all haven't ridden the Bainbridge Island Ferry and had Lunch while there, it's a great day trip for a bargain price.

 

And I hear that there's even a few Coffee Places in the City!😄

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Depending on weather we are going there or Bremerton Bob, do you have a preference of the two?

 

Still much to do here including work working this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Just about recovered by the time we get to S California

 

See you soon

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I've never been to Bremerton Jamie.Perhaps Charlie Hamilton or another Seattle resident can give you the scoop on it,I know it has a strong Naval presence since the US Navy has a base and ships there.

 

The Ferry trip to Bainbridge is a shorter ride and,I've really enjoyed riding over for Lunch in the Small Village close to the Dock.

 

Have a good trip across the pond, I know youre leaving on my Birthday. Looking forward to meeting y'all @ the Amtrak Station when the Eagle rolls in!

 

Keep in touch,look forward to y'alls adventure thru trip reports! Jim

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I took the car ferry to Bremerton, cost for a senior foot passenger was $4.10, return. Quite a long journey, took about an hour each way. Not a great deal going on in Bremerton, as far as I could see, there seemed to be an “art” district which was long past its prime. Some of these “created” zones, created not by artists but by local committee, don’t seem to thrive no matter how much public money is thrown at them...

I just chose Bremerton as it was the next ferry leaving. A great view of Seattle from the ferry, but I found Bremerton itself a bit empty of attractions. I would be the first to confess that I don't do much research on my trips, so there may be some fantastic sights there!

 

Ed.

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I love routes a lot! They give me inspiration and good ideas about what to take when going to somewhere etc. I like your route, too. Good luck in your trip!

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Ed, we're not looking for anything in Bremerton or Bainbridge, it's the ferry ride we are looking at and probably taking the next return ferry. We just like being on the water and want to get a view of Seattle, so we're easy to please.

 

mushmonster, much of our route information for these US trips came from this forum. People here are very generous with their insights and it often allows us to develop an idea further, it's a good place to be.

 

Thanks for the good wishes, we'll need a bit of luck as day one is starting to look daunting...

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@v v: "Was there anything else you particularly liked while in Seattle?"

I went for a stroll. The walks tired me because the city is very hilly. And, not very original, I visited the Space Needle on a sunny day with spectacular views of Puget Sound. I took the monorail (very short ride) and was there long before the Needle opened so I did not encounter any long lines. I also visited the very first Starbucks which opened back in 1971. The shop is close to Pike Place Market.

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Thanks Woodcut60, all ideas are welcome.

 

As the weather is changeable at this time of year we're open to whatever suits the moment. We are definitely going to the Museum of Flight and the cinema 'Cinerama' as it is supposed to be very high tech, that still leaves 1 1/2 days. There will now be 5 of us meeting up there so we may be sight-seeing by committee majority .

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I remember enjoying the ride and a bit of exploring on Bainbridge but I'm not sure how much appeal it would hold for others. That experience didn't look or feel like anything from home but it did remind me of some long lost childhood memories of my first trip to the Northwest.

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I have been to Bremerton and back on the ferry several times and can echo Caravanman's opinion on the great views of Seattle. The views of the Olympic Mountains can be breathtaking, too, provided they are not shrouded in clouds.There's a small park near the ferry terminal which features great views of the surrounding environs and also features several fountains with geysers of water that shoot upwards at varying intervals. Given the weather this time of year which tends to be rainy there I don't know how much of an attraction that might be, however! I second the Athenian Inn, too. And as it's right within it, Pike Place Market is always an interesting place to look around.

Edited by JayPea

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Wednesday 21 February - Day 1

 

And we're off...

 

Writing this using very good Greyhound wifi at the Temporary Transbay Terminal (SFC) in San Francisco. Just waiting for the Am Thruway Bus to take us across the Bay to meet up with the slightly late Amtrak Coast Starlight train in Emeryville.

We had 3 hours sleep before we left and about 3 on the plane. It's exactly 24 hours since we left and are really feeling it.

 

Started at 4:30am in Brentwood, Essex, UK walking out to a waiting taxi, very prompt, friendly and very much on time. Mainline train into London, Tube across to Heathrow (HRW) and into Terminal 5.

I don't like the performance that is deemed necessary to be able to get on a plane and Terminal 5 London's newest terminal is a few steps backwards from the older ones. Very crowded, slightly chaotic and badly organised, no wifi and very little obvious info desks or other help or advice. There are more shops though if that's what you need.

 

Still we survived and managed to board our British Airways plane for San Francisco. It was comfortable and the on-board staff very amenable and helpful.

 

More later as the Thruway Bus is due...

Edited by v v

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You are headed off for your adventure, and I am on my way home! We will pass, not even like ships in the night, but rather like planets on different orbits...

(written on the LSL approaching Chicago, boarding the EB #7 this afteroon).

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Glad to hear you made it to the Bay Area, and looking forward to your travels as you roll across the States ( Planes,Trains and Buses) heading for for Austin where I will meet y'all when you step off the Eagle!😊

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I don't like the performance that is deemed necessary to be able to get on a plane and Terminal 5 London's newest terminal is a few steps backwards from the older ones. Very crowded, slightly chaotic and badly organised, no wifi and very little obvious info desks or other help or advice. There are more shops though if that's what you need.

The current T2 is about six years newer and it's hard to imagine that T5 is objectively worse than the old T3. :wacko: I'll never forget the missing ceiling tiles and moldy air in the drippy arrivals dungeon or the scratched plastic windows and soggy carpets on the way to the departure gates. The new T2 is a clean and welcome surprise to anyone who remembers how things used to be. :wub:

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