Eclipse adventure part 1: the build-up

Tom started considering possible viewing options as soon as he found out that a full solar eclipse was occurring over North America this year, but as the date drew nearer and nothing was booked I assumed he’d decided against it (or just forgotten). Then, a mere two weeks out, he came up with a plan – a thirteen hour Amtrak ride to Charlotte in North Carolina, then a Greyhound bus into South Carolina to experience the total eclipse. I was welcome to join him, or not, but he was going regardless!
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The Cascades

Amtrak’s Cascades line runs along the North-West coast from Eugene, Oregon up to Vancouver, and is a popular route with people travelling in this area – it seems that even Americans can be tempted off the roads occasionally! In our original plan for the trip we would just have taken it from Seattle to Vancouver, but visiting Portland meant that we got to double our time on the Cascades, and it was really very pleasant.

Cascades train at Portland station

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Ticket to ride

Travelling from coast to coast across North America by train – for some a dream, for others a nightmare. When we started telling friends that this was our plan for our main trip of 2014 we received all kinds of responses, but we thought it would be brilliant. The plan was to catch the Lake Shore Ltd. from New York to Chicago (an overnight journey of around 18 hours), and spend a little over 24 hours taking a brief look around Chicago. We’d then transfer to the even more evocatively-named Empire Builder for a full two days spent travelling across to Seattle, by way of Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. Coach seats were deemed acceptable for the first part of the trip, but we decided to treat ourselves to a sleeper for the longer stage. Bookings were duly made, hotels and excursions planned, but very sadly all did not go according to plan.

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