Monday, January 07, 2008

Crisscrossing a continent

On Friday the mailman brought me the Amtrak book of timetables that I had requested online. I pored through the book greedily, slowly accepting that one month is not long enough to experience every single route that Amtrak offers, even if I never spend any time exploring along the way. And what kind of trip would it be if I didn't spend some time lollygagging and sightseeing along the way?

Yesterday afternoon I sat down with the book and set up a tentative itinerary:

Seattle to Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver to Toronto (!)
One night in Toronto
Toronto to New York
Three nights in New York (I've never been!)
New York to...somewhere in Vermont. Or Portland, Maine. Somewhere up east.
Two nights in whichever place--including my birthday.
Vermont or Maine to Washington, D.C.
One night in D.C.
D.C. to Chicago via one route
Chicago to Charlottesville, VA via another route
One night in Charlottesville
Charlottesville to New Orleans
Two nights in New Orleans
New Orleans to Memphis
Three nights in or near Memphis
Memphis to Chicago
Chicago to St. Louis
Two nights in St. Louis
St. Louis to Kansas City
Kansas City to Chicago
Two nights in Chicago
Chicago to Seattle

Believe it or not, this itinerary actually leaves a couple of days of wiggle room in case I decide I need more time to explore somewhere, or get sick, or miss a train and have to linger for a day...

This itinerary is bound to change, but putting it together made me feel for the first time like this trip is really going to happen. Here's hoping!