All Aboard! Setting out to see “the States”

It’s official, we are setting out to see the states!  The United States ~ the country we call home.1017615_10152101119519014_1702857193_n

After much deliberation and debate we have concluded that the best way for this family of five to see the states is by …. wait for it… TRAIN!  Thirty days, 12 segments and as many contiguous states that we can cram into one trip!  (For more information, click here AMTRAK USA RAIL PASS).

How did we arrive at this decision you might ask?  Well, it goes something like this…. I have always wanted to travel cross country and I anticipated that I would be doing it like the Griswolds (if you are unfamiliar check the video reference in our last camping trip post).  The Griswolds less the dead grandmother on the roof!

Seriously, my vision involved renting an RV and spending a summer month leisurely riding across America with my family.  I’ll admit I’m an optimist and an adventure seeker, but thankfully, I also possess a very practical and realistic mindset.  The idealistic version in my head collided with reality and produced these frightening truths about my family’s ability to drive across country together:

1)  I actually do not like to drive ~ I am a great passenger!

2)  My family loves each other but let’s face it my teenage children do not get along like the Brady Bunch.

3) Our marriage like most marriages has its strengths, however, after 2 decades together I am quite certain that getting lost while driving in a new city is not one that brings out the best in us.

4) The idea of driving a large RV, repeatedly parking and setting up in campsites, and copious amounts of gasoline all worked against this once dreamed of idea.

Enter the train plan.  Many years ago I traveled through Europe on a Eurail Train Pass and it was the time of my life.  A few google searches later and I stumbled upon the Amtrak multi-city pass.  For Christmas we surprised our children with the plan and gave them their first assignment, to choose the one city they can’t miss on our trip.  (Our only caveat was to start 10-12 hours outside of the northeast since that is within driving distance of our home and can be saved for a later adventure).

Now I need your help, my fellow bloggers and followers.  What advice can you share about train travel?  Where should we go?  What cities, places, adventures should not be missed on our next great adventure?  Any and all suggestions are most welcome!

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19 responses to “All Aboard! Setting out to see “the States”

  1. Go east, Buffalo of course!! Stop at the Anchor Inn for the “original” buffalo style wings! Then check out the falls. Granted they are spectacular on the Canadian side but pretty cool on the US side too.

  2. Jennifer Zaslaw

    we just did an abbreviated Griswold trip south. We drove from NY to Charleston SC. All the things you mentioned happened!!!! But we did survive. Train is a great idea. We loved colonial Williamsburg and Charleston. I was just in Buffalo and we lived in Rochester. Yes the wings are worth it. St. Louis is a must, by Grandmother lived there and Aunt and Uncle still do . Great city! Of course we loved living in Lexington Ky, although best time to be there is horse racing season April and October. If you make it to California – we did Alcatraz, saw a red sox game and pappi hit a homer into the bay, (that was cool) need to see if they are playing along your journey. Need to take a cable card ride, and walk over the Bridge! Can t wait to follow you on the journey.

    • wow thanks for the suggestions…. Charleston is on the short list… CA is a definite especially Alcatraz…. what do you like in St. Louis? Great idea to try and chase the Red Sox somewhere… Wrigley field is on the short list as well! We have done Colonial Williamsburg and loved it too!

  3. I live in Utah. We have many beautiful State and National Parks. I would especially recommend southern Utah. Check out Aches National Park (beautiful red rock country). Look up Zion National Park (or Zion’s, as it is more often referenced) where the roads are paved red by using the local red clay. And if you possibly can, you should visit Goblin Valley State Park; the alien planet scenes from Galaxy Quest were filmed there because it’s unlike anything else you’ll ever see). Lake Powell is a gorgeous man-made lake that meanders for miles through the red-rock desert. And if you head north, you can see the beautiful and majestic Rocky Mountains; some peaks are so high they still have snow in the summer months. Also further north, you will find Park City. It’s a mountain retreat with a downtown filled with local artisan shops. It’s also where the Sundance Film Festival (established and run by Robert Redford) is held every year. And there is so much more. I happen to live in an amazing state with so much beauty.

    Have fun on your adventure!

  4. I am so excited for you! I love traveling via Amtrak. I highly recommend the book All Aboard! The Complete North American Train Travel Guide by Jim Loomis. It has some useful advice about Amtrak travel, logistics, and so fourth.
    As far as what to see??? There’s so much. Moutains, coastlines, dessert… you name it… it’s here. Take in, at least, one national park.
    Choosing destination cities really depends on your interests and time of year your trip is. There are many great annual festivals and events.
    As a music junkie… I’d recommend New Orleans Jazz Festival or Telluride Bluegrass Festival if you are around for those. Be sure to sample the food in whatever city your are in. Like most countries, cuisine varies by region.
    Have a great time and blog a lot about it. A similar trip is on my list of things to do in the next few years. :)

    • Thank you! This will be our first Amtrak ride! Thanks for the book tip… I did find it at the library but surprisingly not at the bookstore. This will definitely be a blogging adventure ~ the good, the bad and hopefully the very funny! Thanks for the info!

  5. Wow! This sounds amazing. What a great trip.

    I’m so excited we’re in the SITS group together! I’m looking forward to getting to know you more!

  6. That is such a great idea! One of my goals is to visit every state in the union. I’m about half way there. Take a train ride would be an excellent way to see a whole bunch of places without the drive hassle.

    Also, wanted to say hello from a SITS tribe mate! Looking forward to getting to know you and your blog.

  7. This is so wonderful!!! We are in the same SITS Tribe and I cannot wait to follow this journey!

  8. I love train travel! You guys are going to have such a fun time, and I’m so glad I just clicked over here from Northeast Bloggers so I can follow your journey :-) I loved my cross country Amtrak trip several years ago and would love to do it again!

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