Across America on ye olde Amtrak
Replies: 23 - Last Post: Dec 16, 2012 4:00 AM Last Post By: MyanOrthodoxStyle
Dec 11, 2012 6:26 AM
15Thanks for the info. Having done a bit of research(google images), Montreal looks pretty special. The Via fares aren't too expensive either, so I might look into booking this in advance.
Dec 11, 2012 7:19 AM
16Cascadebob, thanks again for taking the time to reply. You’ve been really helpful.
Ok I concede – I’ll swerve Big Bend. Maybe some other time.
I’m looking into green tortoise now. I’ve still yet to decide if I go with them, trekamerica or some other company and from where for the national parks idea. I’m keen to do at least one group tour, but was never keen on organising the whole trip around them.
I guess when I began thinking about this trip I wanted to see if I could take in some places along the Amtrak routes aside from the large cities, but from the responses on here and doing a bit more research I’m starting the realise the difficulty in doing this on my own without a car.
I’d still like to stick to the premise of flying into San Francisco and out of New York and travelling mostly on Amtrak in between, but now with revisions to the original itinerary of course. There’s no real rush in terms of time for this trip but it’s more a case of how long the money can last. Like I originally said, I do like to travel relatively fast in terms of being on the move and realistically, I think I could stretch my funds to last about 10 weeks.
Dec 11, 2012 7:46 AM
However, AMTRAK also runs buses in California, that the OP might be able to use to get to some places, although there is still the problem of how to get around on arrival. Thruway busses
You might also want to see what kinds of tours are on Lonely Planet's Travel Deals site. Adventure tours
Dec 15, 2012 4:41 AM
Just to update for the people who replied to let them know I have taken their advice on board. I realised pretty much as soon as I put up my original post how unrealistic my itinerary was and how much of an overexcited noob I must have sounded. I’ve wanted to visit the U.S for years and it’s only a couple of months ago that I decided it was soon or never, being in a situation which afforded me the money and time to venture out. So I guess I just got carried away!
As I stressed in my first post one of the most alluring prospects of visiting the U.S was to see the national Parks, so I’ve kept the mountain trail TrekAmerica tour which takes in a lot of the west coast and mountain state parks. I hope that this will satiate my thirst to visit these great places for the time being!
I decided this over the Green tortoise tours that some people suggested since, while G.T sounded great, their tours start later- in June- which is too late for my travel time schedules. I’m going to prepare for cold conditions in the northern mountain states like a few warned me too, because it will be early-mid May when we get to places like Yellowstone.
Here is my new itinerary. I will be in the U.S for about two months with travel between cities still concentrated around Amtrak, but with fewer stops in order for me to save money and have more time to invest at each destination:
Fly into San Fran 29/04-03/05
Train to Seattle overnight 03/05-04/05($100 arrives late at 9pm- Portland gets in at 3.30pm costs $80), stay until 07/05 and possibly go to Vancouver ($29) back down to Seattle for 11/05 for Trek
Tour: Mountain Trail - Seattle-L.A taking in several national parks.
Tour until 24/05 – land in L.A. Stay in L.A until 29/05 leave for San Diego.
Stay San Diego until 01/06 – leave for Albuquerque N.M.($84) Arrive Alb and transfer to Santa Fe on 02/06 and stay there until 06/06 – leave for Chicago($129).
Get to Chicago on 07/06 stay for 4 nights until 11/06 – leave for Washington (on the capitol) arrive 12/06($96 at 1pm).
Stay in Washington until Sunday 16/06 – leave for N.Y (North East regional- $49) arrive same day.
Stay in N.Y until 21/06, leave for Boston (N.E regional $49) – arrive same day.
Stay in Boston until 25/06 – Fly back to U.K
Dec 15, 2012 6:34 AM
19It seems like you have six days between SF and your tour. While splitting Portland-Van-Seattle 2, 2, 2 may be a bit rushed, I think it would be worth it to see the three cities. Vancouver's a great city and, heck, if you don't think you're ever coming back to North America then take the opportunity to see Canada, even if it's just for a couple of days. Vancouver's a great city; lots to see and easy to navigate.
I think four days in Santa Fe is too much. It's fairly small. However, it is always nice to just chill somewhere for an extended period. With four days, scout out opportunities to go to Bandelier National Monument or Taos...even spending a day in Albuquerque wouldn't be so bad; I think it's an underrated city.
Dec 15, 2012 6:47 AM
20It looks as a rail pass might not fit your travel plans... I suggest out of San Francisco,a day in Sacramento, visiting the outstanding California would be well spent ! Fly a budget carrier( say,Southwest) from Sacramento to Portland... If the Trek tour does not include Grand Canyon NP,hop off in Flagstaff ! Leaving the train in Albuquerque A day there might be of interest...Then board the inexpensive Railrunner commuter train to Santa Fe's Center...AMTRAK boards in LAMY about 15 miles from town & requires a more expensive shuttle that will eat up the savings of avioding paying for the ALB-SF segment...Continuing to Chicago... I will urge you to travel on the "Cardinal" arguably, the more scenic route into DC... This train uses The bi level "western" coaches you will have come to enjoy...Ghere are probably less expensive bus connections NYC- Boston...Happy t(rail)s... carracar
Dec 15, 2012 8:09 AM
You could do this as a day trip from SF or as an overnight. There is a hostel nearby.
Dec 15, 2012 9:18 AM
Dec 16, 2012 4:00 AM
23Thanks once again for your help Carracar and Nutrax,
Apart from flying in and out, these dates are not absolutely set in stone and they won't be until I start booking trains and accomo(which I plan to do fairly soon). I can tweak a day here or there taking in what you said and after some more research into each area. I'll have to look into Sacramento because that sounds good, especially if old town is within walking distance of the station. The trek tour does take in the Grand Canyon! As well as Monument Valley, Zion and Arches Np, Flaming Gorge, Grand Teton and Yellowstone.
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