After spending 45 minutes on the phone with Jose, my ticket agent with the charming, unfailingly-chipper demeanor of a 60's game show host, all is booked and ready to go!
We're going to be starting here, at Chicago's Union Station on April 17.
Home of the infamous baby-carriage scene in the Untouchables. I don't really plan on launching any children down staircases, but if my train is late, there is only so much Sbarro's that I can eat before I get restless, so I make no promises.
I'll be gone from April 17 to May 11 with my trip consisting of the following stops:
April 18- Austin, Texas
April 23- Phoenix, Arizona
April 25- Los Angeles, California
April 28- San Francisco, California
May 2- Portland, Oregon
May 6- Denver, Colorado
May 7- Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 11-Chicago, Illinois
The trip was purchased with an Amtrak USA Rail Pass, costing $579 for the entire trip. This is only for coach seats, as those quaint little train 'rooms' they always show in movies cost far more than you would ever expect. Basically I could either 1.) buy a Caribbean island or 2.) book a roomette on the Amtrak. So while its no Hogwarts Express, I am perfectly pleased with my accommodations.
This should be an interesting trip, seeing as how my only familiarity with riding the rails comes from a few insomnia-driven viewings of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "Under Siege 2: Dark Territory". I am currently under the impression that my trip will be exactly like those movies, complete with Steven Seagal and his vast Asian shirt collection, which I plan on using in lieu of travel blankets.