In the morning, I will be kicking off my trip across America with a ten-hour Megabus ride up to, ironically, Toronto (because how better to truly appreciate America than to first spend a weekend in Canada?…kidding). I thought I’d briefly map out my planned route here:
After a weekend in Toronto that will conclude with a trip to Niagara Falls, I’ll board my first Amtrak train at Buffalo and head to Chicago, the heart of the Amtrak rail system. From Chicago, I’ll take the Empire Builder line westward to its terminus in Seattle, with two stops in Montana along the way (including Glacier National Park). Then, after taking in the Pacific Northwest, I’ll swing down the West Coast on the Coast Starlight line, hitting up Crater Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and San Francisco on the way to LA. From LA, I’ll hop on the Southwest Chief heading back east, with extended stops in the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and St. Louis — and possibly more, depending on my energy level by week 5.
Still, given the sometimes unpredictable nature of train travel (in 2011, flooding knocked out significant portions of the Empire Builder line for over a month), I’m trying to keep an open mind and maintain flexibility.