Category Archives: travel

A Vacation on a Train: Amtrak USA Rail Pass

States we\'ve visited

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I have a tendency to not vacation well. I usually travel too far in too short a time. And I come home more exhausted than when I left. I certainly enjoy myself and end up with some excellent memories. But sometimes I just need to relax.

Another problem I have related to vacationing is waiting too long to take one. I am at that point right now. Fortunately, I have a wonderful wife who is encouraging me to head out on a much needed holiday. So, that’s exactly what I am going to do. I’m taking a train trip.

I have wanted to take a long trip on a train for quite some time now. The idea of relaxed travel is so appealing. I can read a book. Or I can take a nap. Or I can just let the scenery roll by outside the window. All while I continue on to my destination effortlessly.

I recently discovered Amtrak’s USA Rail Pass program. It offers travelers the chance to save some money on their train rides. Instead of buying a single round trip fare, the USA Rail Pass is valid for unlimited travel within a region during a set time frame. You can choose to explore the East, the West or the entire United States on a 15 day or 30 day pass. The prices vary by region and also by season. But they are very attractive when compared to a standard fare.  For example, I priced a round trip from Chicago, IL to Portland, OR. For the dates I want, with my AAA discount, the fare is $660.00. But a 15 day West Region Rail Pass is only $369.00 for the same time frame. That’s almost a $300.00 savings!

The plan: make a loop around the Western half of the United States. But it is not to be.


Stupid prepaid mobile service!

I haven’t been updating as often as I’d like. I was hoping to upload some pics and blog from my phone. It has these capabilities. But It doesn’t matter what the phone can do when it can find service!

We made it halfway across Nebraska when I stopped finding a cell signal. That was very disappointing. I had some fun pictures to share from Carhenge and Mt. Rushmore. Right now, we’re just a few miles from the big faces preparing to get back on the road. It feels like the vacation is over, since we’re leaving our home of the last two days. But their is no singular destination when you’re on a road trip. We have more adventure ahead of us in the days to come.

Hittin’ the Open Highway

My wife and I are about to embark on a journey. We are visiting some friends in Omaha, NE for the Labor Day holiday. Then, we have the rest of the week to do whatever. We intend to see as much of the country as possible.

We’d really love to hit the Northwest. But, to keep our expenses down, we’ll probably stay a little closer to home. Right now it looks like we’ll loop down through some Southern states. We really won’t know until we leave.

Being on the road is our favorite pastime. We are most at home sharing the confines of a vehicle at high speeds.

If you’d like to share the adventure, then keep an eye on this blog (subscribe). Or, my Flickr photos. My wife may upload some photos, too. The most up-to-date information will be on my Twitter page.


This is where I need to be.

This is where I need to be.

And I may just get my chance.
My boss is giving me the week off. Hopefully, my wife and I will be able to spend that time on the road. I know I could really use some time away.