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1. Posted by Ange61 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

HI everyone.

Im going to travel to USA for the first time in MAY/JUNE this year ... I plan to fly from Sydney to LA.

I then plan to take the AMTRAK train service from LA to San francisco... then up to Seattle, Across Montana.. Dakota .. to St pauls.

Has anyone got any good advice for me.. I will be travelling alone..
Have any of you travelled on AMTRAK and if so what did u think .. any tips etc..

thanks for any help u can give me..

Ange

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 7y

I like your plans very much. Get out of LA as fast as you can - not our nicest city (my opinion). Be sure to stop off here in Portland on your way to Seattle (just 3 hours south - you must travel right through Portland to get to Seattle) - Portland is a very mellow town - you will enjoy! In Seattle, I would also see the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, as well as travel to both Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada (both are really nicer than Seattle itself). Ferries travel frequently on Puget Sound (see websites for both Washington State Ferries and British Columbia Ferries). Amtrak can also get you from Seattle to Vancouver. Amtrak is a good way for foreign tourists to see our country, but don't expect a great deal of comfort, and the food is terrible and expensive (bring your own to eat well). Be sure to stop off for a day or 2 at Glacier National Park (see the National Park Service website) - the train stops at the park. The rest of the trip across the Great Plains will be a little boring, but you will enjoy the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area. Are you continuing to Chicago? - a huge city, but very good for shopping, and excellent transportation facilities. Book your Amtrak reservations well ahead, since summer is prime travel period, and this means of travel has become very popular recently.

By the way, you will fall in love with San Francisco (I lived there 25 years). Be sure to see the excellent views from both Twin Peaks (above the Castro) and Buena Vista Park (above the Haight). Rent a bike to see Golden Gate Park and the Golden Gate Bridge. SF has the best Asian restaurants in America, but they're not in Chinatown (I like Clement Street in the outer Richmond neighborhood).

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Jan-2009, at 10:46 by Daawgon ]

3. Posted by Ange61 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

Thank you so much for the reply!!

In SF, where would u consider it 'safe' to stay.. do u know of any good budget hotels/accomodation. or links etc

I will be staying with friend 2 hours north of Seattle.. I think she will be taking me over the boarder into Canada for a day.
I have just been looking at Glacier National park last night and think I will stop over there.

When I get to st pauls I will be met by a friend from St Louis... (road trip back down to st louis lol)
I will stay with her for a couple of weeks.. and then go across Kansas to Colorado.. staying with another friend there .
My final week will be with a friend in San Diego..

You know how u mention the Great plains being boring... lol.. Well I think I will enjoy it all... Im Aussie and we have some of our own Vast landscapes that Ive thoroughly enjoyed .. (im more country gal than city thats for sure) Red soil.. salt bush... nothing for miles and miles. it has its own appeal.. and always amazes me that one minute you are looking at nothing and then all of a sudden on the horizon is something stunning to look at.
BTW if you havnt been to Australia... put it on your list.. Im sure you would enjoy!

Have you ever had a 'Roomette' on Amtrak... if so what do you think..worth it or not ?

thanks again
Ange

4. Posted by patdoody (Budding Member 45 posts) 7y

Hi,

I booked an Amtrak 30 day pass in Jan 2007.It was a lot cheaper then (bout usd 600 now,and restricted to 12 journeys ) but i found it great to ge around,fairly punctual,comfortable,easy to make reservations,highly recommended.Food is expensive though.

5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 7y

A roomette on Amtrak - tiny place to sleep, but I imagine you'd sleep better there than in coach. I've been across the Nullabar - our Plains would be similar, but the only desert would be in the SW. I like the Bush Street area for small boutique style hotels in SF (lower Nob Hill - close to Union Square). The Beresford Arms at Post/Jones is comfortable at about $100., The Cornell at Bush/Powell is also similar - run by a French couple. Colorado is beautiful, and San Diego beaches are great in summer. You're very lucky to have so many friends to show you around - that way you'll see much more than the average tourist just passing through. You can PM me if you have more questions.