The USA By Rail

Posted: July 30, 2016 in Uncategorized
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It’s been a while since I posted on this subject, but this entry is all about a journey! Specifically, Stacey and I are moving back to Seattle. I’m going there first, to find an apartment., etc., and she’s going to follow later.

After analysis, I’ve determined that rail travel is the way to go. I can carry more luggage than I can on an airplane, and the Trusty Old SUV™ won’t last on a 10-mile trip, much less one across the USA. So I’ve booked my seat on the Lake Shore Limited from here to Chicago. From there, I’ll be on the Empire Builder to Seattle.

Well, actually to Everett. It’s actually cheaper to bypass Seattle and get off in Everett than it is to get off in Seattle. Weird.

It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I spent most of the day printing out train schedules and route guides before learning that the route guides are available—free—on the train. I also Googled® “rail travel USA” so I’d be aware of any “gotchas” and prepare for the ahead of time.

One of the first “gotchas” I found was that freight companies own the rails, so they have priority. An experienced rail traveler’s blog said that she usually gives an Amtrak train a 60-minute window before she considers it late.

Except for short subway rides in New York City, the last time I did any serious rail travel was in 1960. We had just returned from my dad’s 3-year assignment in Japan with the US Air Force, and he had made arrangements to pick up a new car at the Rambler factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We got off the ship (air travel was too expensive in those days) in San Francisco, took a taxi to Oakland, and got on the train to Kenosha.

All I remember about that trip (hey! it was 56 years ago!) is (1) it was long, and (2) I had a ham and cheese sandwich in Ogden, Utah.

But this trip will be well-documented. Between my laptop, my iPad (WordPress app, built-in camera), my cell phone (ditto), my Nikon Coolpix® and my Canon digital SLR, I plan on keeping a detailed account of the journey. After all, this may be my last cross-country trip, and possibly my last train ride.

Of course there’s always the possibility of a jaunt from Seattle up to Vancouver, BC…. But that will have to wait until my name change, which will lead to my getting a passport.

So according to my ticket, I’ll leave Rochester at 11 p.m., August 15, and will arrive in Chicago at 9:45 the next morning. I’ll have a layover in Chicago until 2:15 the same day, and I’ll arrive in Seattle at 8:40 a.m on the 18th. (Oh, dear…what have I gotten myself into?)

And now that that’s all settled, it’s time for all the fun things about moving. Packing. Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Cleaning the apartment.

So little time, so much to do!

Robyn Jane

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