The Coast To Coast All American Train Experience
The following is an article “The Coast To Coast All American Train Experience” by Marc Pulisci.
If Europe and Asia boast the Trans-Siberian Railway that whisks the adventurous traveller on an unforgettable intercontinental train journey, the United States has its own version wherein iconic passenger railroad service Amtrak lets you experience the diverse landscapes and interstate quirks America has to offer.
For many tourists visiting the U.S. of A, it is easy to forget that there are 47 other reasons to go other than San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. The U.S. has plenty to offer between its Western and Eastern coasts, and there is no better way to experience some of the other states than from the comfort of a luxury train.
For as little as $186 if you book well in advance, you can choose from different routes guaranteed to satisfy your wanderlust that promises to take you on an amazing 3,397 mile journey from one coast to the other.
Choose your adventure
There is the Sunset Limited, a three times a week service that serves the New Orleans-San Antonio-Los Angeles route, giving travelers a glimpse of America’s cultural diversity as they experience Mardi Gras, The Alamo, and Hollywood along the way.
For the ultimate long haul train journey experience, nothing beats Amtrak’s ‘California Zephyr’, a 3-day train ride that will take you from New York or Chicago to San Francisco. During this epic trip, passengers will travel west through rural America where they will marvel at the picturesque beauty of Nebraska’s farmlands and Colorado’s big skies, whose colors change from a deep blue hue to a dramatic blood orange as dusk sets in.
Once you reach the Midwest, things become even more scenic. This is where the highlight of the trip begins, as the train climbs the winding tracks of the famed Rockies, barreling toward the snow-capped beauty of the Sierra Nevadas, before descending on the desert city of Reno, Nevada, then finally entering sunny California via Sacramento before pulling into the San Francisco Bay Area.
No cross-country trip in the USA would be complete without the ‘Southwest Chief’, which takes intrepid voyagers from Chicago to Los Angeles through the historic Santa Fe railroad, then along iconic freeway Route 66 before traversing the Navajo Indian country, and finally through the majestic Grand Canyon where you can even get off the train and take in the beauty of it all to your heart’s content.
Your home away from home
As for the actual carriages, Amtrak has a fleet of trains that suits every traveler’s needs, which is vital considering the length of time that will be spent aboard.
Each long-distance train features reclining seats as standard, while two in particular, the Lake Shore Limited and Crescent, feature a dining car as its centerpiece. Made out of stainless steel dating back to the 1950s, the dining cars are open to all passengers who get to feast on a surprisingly delicious selection of a la carte dishes that put most airline meals to shame. There is also a children’s menu, a good selection of non-alcoholic beverages, and a decent bar stocked with popular beers and wines.
As for getting a good night’s rest, they’ve got that covered too. Known as Viewliner, these sleeping cars allow weary travelers to recharge in comfort. Each sleeper has two bedrooms, with a private shower and toilet to boot. What’s more, each one has an attendant who sees to it that your bed is made every time you return to your cabin from a meal. The double row of windows allows for excellent ventilation when needed, while also providing occupants with an amazing vantage point for stargazing while tucked under the sheets before drifting off to la-la land.
Such is the magic and wonder of experiencing America coast to coast by train that once you hop aboard, you just might find yourself thinking: if this is really happening, then I don’t ever want to go to sleep; and if this is all a dream, then I don’t ever want to wake up.
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