North American train trips in March?
January 24, 2019 8:10 AM   Subscribe

My family would like to take a train trip some time in March somewhere in North America. What's a good 2-3 day trip?

My son (16) is super into trains, always has been, and so we'd like to take a train through somewhere fun and scenic. The trip itself would be the main goal, but it would help if the final destination was someplace interesting.

We're in Boston but would be willing to fly somewhere to kick off the trip and then fly back when we get where we're going.

Sleeper cars are not entirely necessary if the seats are comfortable enough to sleep in, but if a sleeper is an option that isn't crazy expensive, that would be great.

We like mountains, desert, and just nice scenery in general.

Opinions and advice on trains in general are welcome, though we're pretty certain we want to do a train trip.

We're generally thinking North America would be cheaper/easier but if there's some easy way to get on a trip somewhere else, we'd welcome suggestions. We all have valid passports.

Yes, it has to be March. Yes, I know that's not an ideal time to travel and also it's snow melty season in a lot of places.
posted by bondcliff to Travel & Transportation (43 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
There's a daily trip from Boston to Chicago if you want to start close to home. There are sleeper cars and a "real" dining car (with table service, not the cheapo snack cars on the Northeast Corridor trains). 19 hours each way.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2019

The VIA from Montreal to Vancouver (or a subset there-of) is really pretty.
posted by janell at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

As a general rule, the Canadian VIA trains are much nicer than Amtrak. Some years ago, we took VIA from Vancouver to Toronto and it was a great experience. It was especially wonderful through the Canadian Rockies.
posted by DrGail at 8:20 AM on January 24, 2019 [6 favorites]

I took the Via from Vancouver to Edmonton, Edmonton is terrible, but the trip was gorgeous.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:22 AM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

You could take the Amtrak from Boston to NYC then from NYC to Chicago. If you really want an adventure Chicago to LA. Then fly home from LA.
posted by tman99 at 8:24 AM on January 24, 2019

I was going to suggest the Rocky Mountaineer, but it doesn't look like it runs in March unfortunately. Something to keep in mind for your next trip.
posted by Ftsqg at 8:29 AM on January 24, 2019

If you're planning a train trip, don't forget to read The Guy in Seat 61's pages: (generally considered a great reference for planning these kind of trips).
posted by fmg at 8:32 AM on January 24, 2019 [12 favorites]

The VIA train from Montréal or Québec City east is also quite beautiful. I took the train out to Gaspésie a couple of years ago. Stayed in the sleeper cars, which are very cute, and the food was great and the scenery was gorgeous.
posted by ITheCosmos at 8:34 AM on January 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

There's a daily trip from Boston to Chicago if you want to start close to home.

I don't find this trip to be particularly scenic, others' opinions may vary. Be aware that it frequently runs 2+ hours behind schedule. (I've been on it when it ran 8+ hours behind schedule.)
posted by Jahaza at 8:43 AM on January 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Was totally coming here to talk about the Guy in Seat 61. I have been on train trips all over the country (Amtrak used to have All Aboard America passes where you could take the train as far as you could in a month with three stops and I went from Seattle to LA to Miami to Boston and back). The parts of the trip I found the most scenic were

- Coast Starlight up the West Coast
- In and around the Grand Canyon (there are some really nice observation cars on that leg)
- the wide nothingness that was Montana

Also agreeing that the Canadian trains are generally better. Train food is generally not that great but you can bring things that need hot water and just pay for tea for some of your meals. There is usually wifi that works and power outlets. I really enjoy train travel but it's totally worth it to get outside of the BOSNYWASH area if you want to really see some things.
posted by jessamyn at 8:45 AM on January 24, 2019 [7 favorites]

Also suggesting Via Rail in Canada — both the west and east coasts are gorgeous (not so sure about the prairies & Ontario however... dont hate me!).
posted by cgg at 8:47 AM on January 24, 2019

I would advise against the Boston -> NYC -> NYC to Chicago. I only took it from NYC -> Chicago, but it wasn't a particularly fun journey (and I was taking the train by choice/for the fun of it!). It was a little tooo long and the cars were very cold and didn't have great insulation.

For something close to home and *very* train heavy, how about from Boston to Lancaster, PA? It looks to be a 7-10 hour depending on the line and the specifics. It would involve one transfer. After that you could head to Strasburg (5 mi away) and check out the Railroad Museum of PA, the Strasburg Railroad (it looks like they do restoration tours, train dinners, and other specialty events), and maybe the Choo Choo Barn or National Toy Train Museum to round it out before heading home?
posted by lucy.jakobs at 8:51 AM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nth Seat 61.

There are three Amtrak routes that cross the West; I think the general consensus is the California Zephyr has the best scenery; it's Chicago to San Francisco and takes two full days (leave Chicago one afternoon, arrive in SF two afternoons later). You can take the train from Boston to Chicago, but I'd consider flying and use the time you save to go to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, which has a spectacular model railroad, and a historic train car that was actually used on a predecessor of the California Zephyr (as well as a billion other cool things, like submarines and tornadoes).

The most scenic part of Via in western Canada is from Edmonton to Vancouver.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:54 AM on January 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

If he's into "Trains" does he care about scenery or destination? Or is that solely for you? I have always wanted to do the Yosemite one, but I can't imagine a long time on a single amtrak is going to hold the attention of the person who cares about the train itself more than the destination or vistas out the window.
posted by DigDoug at 8:59 AM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: If he's into "Trains" does he care about scenery or destination?

Good question. Both, I think. He loves everything about trains and I think just wants to take a long train ride. The scenery is for us, as well as him. I think a big part of it is knowing he's on this long track that stretches out for miles.
posted by bondcliff at 9:03 AM on January 24, 2019

Yes to Canada, but Chicago - Los Angeles on the Southwest Chief (through Dodge City and Albuquerque) is a good way to experience the vastness of the west. There's a kind of Zen to it.
posted by holgate at 9:04 AM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've taken ny to chicago in both seats and cabins. You will need to pack your own blanket and pillow for the seat.
posted by brujita at 9:13 AM on January 24, 2019

I did Chicago --> Boston once, most of the scenery is the back of industrial parks, and it was delayed by 3 hours. Would not recommend that particular trip.
posted by Fig at 9:23 AM on January 24, 2019

I just did a ride on the Amtrak Cascades and I looooved it! The scenery was incredibly beautiful and the ride was affordable.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 9:30 AM on January 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm slightly crazy talking here, but Norwegian has very good flights to Paris from Boston ($115 one way for most of March), and then from Paris to Moscow is €245 in a shared sleeper (€345 for a 2 person cabin), and Moscow - Boston has surprisingly affordable connections.

You'll need a Russian visa and (still, unfortunately) a Belorussian transit visa, which I suspect makes it impractical.

But that said, I'm sure there's some good one way trips across Europe you could do without visa faff and direct one way flights at either end.
posted by ambrosen at 9:31 AM on January 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

Possibly a minority opinion but the route from San Antonio to LA has desert scenery I find beautiful. You get on in the middle of the night, wake up to scrubby west Texas desert (not universally regarded as lovely), on through El Paso and New Mexico and Arizona into the evening. Wake up in LA. To make the trip longer you can start in New Orleans but I've never done that part so I can't recommend or disrecommend it.

Chicago to Emeryville (the stop in the Bay Area) takes you through the Rockies and the Donner Pass, but also goes through a lot of boring terrain on the first day.

Sleeping in coach on Amtrak is not very comfortable. I did it a lot when I was younger and wouldn't happily do it now, definitely not for two nights. Sleepers can be affordable if you reserve them a while in advance, and all your meals in the dining car are included in the price FWIW.
posted by Smearcase at 9:36 AM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I suggest Amtrak to NYC then the Adirondack to Montreal. It travels along the Hudson to Albany, then later along Lake Champlain. Nice views, especially in winter when the leaves are off the trees. It arrives at Montreal Central Station, which is conveniently located under the Queen Elizabeth hotel. Montreal is very cold and windy in winter but as Bostonians you should be able to handle it.
posted by leaper at 9:40 AM on January 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

I once flew to Boston and then took Amtrak from Boston back home (via Chicago) on my birthday because I also love trains and that was my first train ride (early 20s). I loved it, to be honest, because it was so different than plane rides. The wait in Albany was boring, but it was otherwise really interesting to me to see the train tracks and industrial places and cities along the way. And then Chicago is a destination in itself.

It looks like Boston to Seattle on the Empire Builder is 72 hours, 35 minutes, via Chicago. That's 3 days on the nose. You'd get the industrial revolution backbone of the Boston->Chicago route and then the great expanse of Montana and mountains and the Pacific on the Chicago->Seattle route. (You'd probably be sleeping as you pass through my town...)
posted by jillithd at 9:58 AM on January 24, 2019

I took the train cross-country and the most spectacular parts were definitely out west. Pennsylvania is surprisingly pretty and Appalachians are beautiful too but they are very familiar feeling landscapes. For me, the vast expanse of the desert was the most striking and memorable scenery of the trip (and that's even though I was rerouted on the Southwest Chief, which doesn't stay as far south as the Texas Eagle).

Also a heads up, Amtrak routes on the east coast often don't have the awesome observation cars, I think because the overpasses and bridges aren't tall enough to handle double-decker cars. If scenery is a goal, I think it's worth looking for a train with an observation car, they're more comfortable and the routes tend to have better views anyhow.
posted by yeahlikethat at 10:29 AM on January 24, 2019

Plus-one on the California Zephyr - the route through Colorado is unbelievably spectacular, and almost all during daytime. I've taken the route to California twice, once as part of a move from Colorado. Would do again. 10 stars.
posted by dbmcd at 10:35 AM on January 24, 2019

Response by poster: Just wanted to chime in that the East Coast of the US is probably not something we'd want to do in March. We're really thinking mountains or west coast stuff. Montana sounds kind of cool.

We may do a Chicago trip one of these days just to do it, but probably not this time around.
posted by bondcliff at 10:38 AM on January 24, 2019

My grandparents took the train from Minnesota to Washington and expected to see beautiful Rocky Mountain views, but they said it went through the mountains at night, though that was in the late nineties. So, check the schedule and if possible, the average delays. I know the passenger trains through North Dakota were experiencing delays due to oil trains, but the boom is also supposed to be dying down.
posted by soelo at 10:44 AM on January 24, 2019

This may or may not be suitable for you as a foreign trip/too extravagant, but man I've always wanted to do the Glacier Express.
posted by praemunire at 10:45 AM on January 24, 2019

We did the Coast Starlight from San Francisco to Seattle a few years ago and the scenery was amazing. Some incredible mountain views. We got one of the bedrooms and it was fine (a little small, as you might expect) and there was also a great observation car.

I've always heard of long delays on Amtrak passenger lines but I don't believe we had any delays.
posted by cpatterson at 10:49 AM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is it possible to get on/off the Zephyr and overnight in en-route cities, then get back on a subsequent Zephyr?
posted by Quisp Lover at 11:15 AM on January 24, 2019

The Hi-Line through northern Montana is BEAUTIFUL. Kinda meh on either side of the beautiful spots.
posted by Grandysaur at 12:35 PM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

We're also based around Boston, and did the California Zephyr this summer from Chicago to San Francisco. General consensus on the train from those who did NYC > Chicago was "not really worth it". But the scenery on the Zephyr was unbelievable.

We ended up getting in around 3 hours late, I believe; we got delayed crossing the Mississippi, and didn't really make up the time.

As noted above, the sleeper cars include meals in the dining car. If you're a threesome, you will likely end up eating with a fourth solo traveler (tables are 4 tops, and they need to fill them all). It was $800 for a sleeper that slept two; there are family rooms available as well for maybe $1200 ish? which include a en suite bathroom. I couldn't really sleep on the train, but I was also about 5 months pregnant; my husband did fine, even in the upper berth. But the sleeper was still worth it for having our own little place to retreat to, and our own window.

You can't easily hop on/hop off (you need to buy separate tickets for all the legs), but you could also just do the Denver > San Francisco portion, which has most of the jaw-dropping stuff, and skips over the Plain States portion (Iowa was really pretty! But not as pretty as Glenwood Canyon, say.)

Finally, the main downside of going in March is not so much snowmelt, but daylight hours. You'll be getting ~12 hours of observation instead of 16 or what not.
posted by damayanti at 1:59 PM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

If I were you, I'd be looking hard at taking the cog railroad up Mt Washington (the steam-powered one, ideally) hiking out to Lakes of the Clouds hut (not difficult, as you probably know) staying there for a night (or possibly two, with the middle day spent just hiking around in the Prezis) and then cogging it back down again. Maybe that's more hiking and less train than you're looking for, but especially if you've never done the cog I think your son would get a big kick out of it. And the scenery is pretty unbeatable.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:03 PM on January 24, 2019

Response by poster: Yeah, we're really looking for a multi-day train trip somewhere new, not just a train ride. And having been blasted and suffocated by a toxic cloud of coal more then once while up on the ridge, the only thing I'll ever do with the Cog is moon it.

I understand it no longer runs on coal, which is great and all, but I'm not really a fan of its existence.

I'm not a fan of the huts either, tbh. Is Lakes even open in March?
posted by bondcliff at 4:57 PM on January 24, 2019

I loved my trip from Chicago to Portland on the Empire Builder, though mid-March may be a little dicey in parts and you run the risk of being rerouted to buses if the weather causes problems with the tracks. Also, we were 18 hours delayed when I took it at peak oil-in-North-Dakota back in 2014. The Coastal Starlight from San Diego to (I think) Santa Barbara was beautiful but quick. Not sure if it's still running, but the Chicago-New Orleans train had blues heritage interpreters on it - that's my next train trip goal!
posted by ChuraChura at 5:04 PM on January 24, 2019

Yeah, fair enough. I was more just thinking hey, combine a really interesting train with some hiking. The cog has been there since 1868 and there aren't many other trains out there that are like it; that angled boiler is pretty cool. And personally I enjoy the camaraderie of the huts (plus how else are you going to let people sleep up there without trashing the place, they were literally built because the mountains were getting trashed and they wanted to at least keep it centralized) and have had some good father-son bonding times at Lakes. I get where you're coming from re: disliking all the infrastructure up there, just not to the point of never using it. Also, the lee side of Lakes of the Clouds hut's foundation is home to about 40% of the world's population of Boott's Rattlesnake Root and that's not nothing! See a plant you may never see again!

Anyway though, I forgot that we're talking about March here. The hut will definitely be closed and it will be pretty arctic up there still. Maybe another time though, if you feel like you could get into a positive perspective on that style of trip. If not though, I for sure understand why not.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:15 PM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you're a member, sometimes Costco has Amtrak deals. Amtrak also has AAA discounts/deals.

I traveled a one-day leg of the Coast Starlight with my mother a very long time ago (before they made a bunch of changes/renovations) with the cheapest sleeper compartment option. My mother also took a more recent trip with her friends (standard reserved seating). Both times northbound, with discounts or through a travel package. I like trains and would do it again if I could, as well as California Zephyr. Perhaps you could do a combo of California Zephyr and Coast Starlight? Great, now I want to do this. Both of them are long-distance trains (it doesn't look like they have WiFi though).

It sounds like ChuraChura's Calif trip was on the Pacific Surfliner, which runs between San Diego and San Luis Obispo (WiFi, no sleeper options). I know at least one person who's done a trip from Pacific Surfliner and connected to Coast Starlight.

Maybe you could do a mix-and-match where you do regular reserved seating for the beginning of the journey, and sleeper near the end of the trip?

There are certain perks that sleeper fare passengers can get (also check their Rewards program), aside from meals on the train and the private compartments. Unless they've changed the rules, there may also be special lounges that you can access in train stations, such as the Metropolitan Lounge in Union Station, Los Angeles. (Btw if you like architecture/art deco, Union Station is pretty cool.)

Btw the Seat61 site still has this info, which is outdated: "On the Coast Starlight, sleeper passengers can access the exclusive Pacific Parlour Car, which has a comfortable lounge with armchairs, tables, and its own host serving drinks and snacks." Unfortunately, Amtrak retired it last year and it was the only car on the line that offered WiFi. There's still the regular lounge car though, but I don't know if sleeper passengers still get free drinks and snacks.

If you end up doing Amtrak, I think it might actually be helpful to talk to a travel agent or an Amtrak person live on the phone (or in person). Unless they've changed something online recently, there wasn't a way to reserve which side of the train your sleeper compartment is on. It might be possible to do it in person.

More on Coast Starlight: For my trip it turned out that our compartment faced east, so I asked if it would be okay to switch rooms. The attendant said yes, temporarily - because the opposite room (facing the ocean) would be vacant for most of our trip. So we got to use that until the other folks came aboard later.

Keep in mind also that the dining car tables/booths are pretty cozy and seat four, so if your party is smaller or larger than four, you may have to share a table with another party. I actually enjoyed the food a lot; the dining car meals are prepared on the train by a chef/staff. It was certainly nicer than having sandwiches for each meal. (btw just a heads up that the Coast Starlight's dining tables are on the upper level of the car and I found it a bit challenging to eat there. Almost fun, maybe? -- a lot of wobbling and dishes sliding around etc. which may get old on day 2 or 3.)

Also if you have a sleeper, you get to choose whether to eat in your room, or in the dining car (full service). The menu might be different if you do room service.

As for delays: I've heard the longer the route, the longer the delays. Coast Starlight passes near Vandenberg Air Force Base. On my trip, the train literally stopped on the track on a high cliff over the ocean. We were there for about an hour because of some testing going on from the AFB that we had to wait out. Don't get me wrong, the scenery was fantastic and we were where no cars/people can go, but I would have felt a lot better if we had been able to get out of the train and walk around in a safer area. Also because of the delay, it was dark by the time we'd reached some of the places I'd been hoping to see outside.

The trip I took was short enough that we didn't have do a full overnighter (although if that delay had been longer, I probably would have wanted to stretch out). I found it hard to nap, regardless, because of all the rattling and the occasional announcements over the PA. It might be worth having the ability to close the door to your own compartment, for a bit more quiet and to not have to be as concerned about your belongings when you're sleeping.

The view is great; if you want to take photos, be sure to take some glass wipes with you for your seat window. Can't really do much about the outside or the observation windows if they have stuff on them, but at least it's possible to wipe down the inside of your window where you are.

Definitely check out Youtube and photos online of the routes you're interested in, so you can narrow down what you'd like to see.

Whatever you decide, I hope you have fun! I'm excited for you.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 12:24 AM on January 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've crossed the country several times on Amtrak. I'd highly, highly recommend a sleeper car. Your meals are included, and it's a much more pleasant experience overall.

There are two types of sleepers: Viewliners (single-level equipment) run in the eastern US, and Superliners (bi-level cars) run in the western US. There are two main accommodation types: roomettes, and bedrooms. As shown in the linked diagrams, bedrooms take up almost the full width of the car, and include a (very small) in-room bathroom and shower. Bedrooms can sleep up to 3 people, but it's a tight squeeze. Roomettes sleep 2, and are cheaper -- sometimes, if you're traveling with 3 people, it's more cost-effective to buy two roomettes instead of one bedroom.

I would say that it makes the most sense from a scenery / enjoyment viewpoint to take the train from Boston to Chicago, continue to the West Coast, and fly back. There are no trains that go completely across the US -- if you're going from east to west, you'll go through Chicago.

Getting to Chicago, you'll be on the Lake Shore Limited, which will have more limited scenery, and uses single-level equipment. This means that there's not an observation car, so any scenery-watching will have to be from your sleeper, or the lounge car. There isn't a full diner on this route, either -- Amtrak now delivers boxed meals to your room, or you can eat them in the lounge car. The Viewliner roomettes are very spacious, more so than their Superliner counterparts, because the cars are single-level. This means that the ceilings are higher, and the person in the upper bunk gets their own window, when the berth is lowered. There is a luggage cubby for storing a suitcase or two in the room, and -- get ready for this to get a little weird -- there's a toilet and sink in the room. It's not a separate bathroom. It's in the room. So if someone needs to use the can, the other person should be prepared to step out into the hallway. It's great when you've got the roomette to yourself -- and not-so-great when you're with someone else.

The Lake Shore Limited will arrive in Chicago in the morning, and as long as you're on time, you'll have a few hours to explore Chicago before you connect to your other train. Union Station is across the street from the Sears Tower, and only a few blocks from Lake Michigan and Millenium Park.

Continuing to the West Coast, there are three routes that you'd probably be interested in: the California Zephyr (which goes to San Francisco), the Southwest Chief (which goes to Los Angeles), and the Empire Builder (which goes to Seattle). I've only taken the Chief, and have always enjoyed the scenery, but I hear the other two have much better scenery. These three routes all have full diners, serving hot meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also have an observation car with floor-to-ceiling windows, open to all passengers. The roomettes are similar to the Viewliners, but a bit smaller, and the person in the upper bunk won't have a window. I'm 5'11" and sleep fine up there, but the bottom bunk is unquestionably better. No bathroom in the room for the Superliner roomettes, but there's a bathroom on the upper level of the car, and three more on the lower level, along with a shower + changing room.

These routes generally leave Chicago in the afternoon, travel for a whole day on the train, and then arrive at their destinations the following morning.

Best advice I can give you: if you can afford the sleeper, bite the bullet and do it. It is a wonderful, comfortable way to travel. If you have to skip the sleeper, skip it for the Boston to Chicago leg. But the Chicago to West Coast leg, you'll want the sleeper, since you'll be hungry, and a hot shower makes you much more comfortable. The sleeper makes a huge difference. I'd very much recommend it for both legs of the journey.

Sleepers will get more expensive as the train fills, but check different dates using Amsnag. March is usually not as expensive as the late spring or summer months; I've always found it to be more affordable.

If your son loves trains, he's going to love this experience. Amtrak has been cutting back here and there, and government funding for long-distance routes is in question. If you're going to do this trip, do it now, and do it right.

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions.
posted by vitout at 7:35 AM on January 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Lots of good advice here! If you take the Zephyr and don't opt for the sleeper, you could break your trip up in Glenwood Springs for a night to sleep in a bed and enjoy the hot springs.

The roomettes are quite "cozy" for two but fine for one - your son might get a kick out of having his own compartment. The family bedrooms are on the lower level of the Superliner cars and the bathroom/shower is shared. If you wanted to splurge you could get one bedroom (with bathroom/shower) and a roomette, and there would be room during the day for the three of you to hang out in the bedroom when you're not in the dining or observation cars. Individual cars on the upper level are divided into roomettes on one side of the stairs, and bedrooms on the other, so you could have rooms in the same car.

Join Amtrak's rewards program before you book, so you can get points. After taking the Zephyr this fall I had enough points for a business class seat on the Surfliner between San Diego and Los Angeles!
posted by plasticpalacealice at 8:33 AM on January 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've taken the Coast Starlight and Empire Builder several times in both directions, and the Californian Zephyr twice from San Francisco to Chicago, all in a roomette except for my first couple of trips on the Coast Starlight when I was younger and couldn't afford sleeping accommodation. I'd jump at the chance to do any of the routes again, but the Zephyr wins hands down for scenery, and the timings going east put the best scenery safely during the daylight hours. Paying extra for sleeping accommodation is absolutely worth it, for the comfort and privacy and the convenience of having meals included.

However, if you're thinking of breaking your journey, your son might enjoy Essex, Montana on the Empire Builder route, where you can stay in the Isaak Walton Inn. It's lovely scenery, but it's also an important train maintenance location for Maria's Pass, and you will be lulled to sleep by the sound of shunting trains. You can sleep in a caboose! The eastbound train from Seattle/Portland gets in around 8 am, but the westbound train gets in quite late in the evening. I've stayed there twice, going both ways, and given the possibility of delays with Amtrak, I'd pick eastbound as more delay-friendly.
posted by kelper at 8:19 AM on January 26, 2019

Response by poster: So we're going to be taking the Coast Starlight from LA (Burbank, actually) to Portland, hanging out in Portland for a couple of days, and then continuing on via the Cascades train to Seattle.

If we enjoy it we may plan another trip next year where we go Boston to Chicago and then to San Francisco or somewhere else on the west coast.

Thanks to everyone for the tips!
posted by bondcliff at 8:22 AM on March 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, and we're doing a meetup in Portland, in case anyone is around and would like to hear tales about my run-ins with mastodons and crocodiles in California before taking the dangerous train journey North. Also, there will be beer.
posted by bondcliff at 10:48 AM on March 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh hey I’m on a train heading North through California!
posted by bondcliff at 11:44 AM on March 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

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