Ann's North American Train Trip
choo-choo
October 21st, 2003 - November 9th, 2003

20 days - 8,757 miles/14,093 kilometers
6 Provinces - 18 States & DC




Finally!! The pictures are online!
(See below)

Yes! I finally found the time to work on the pages for some of the pictures of my trip. I couldn't update this page without mentioning some, (well..ok..a lot) of the awesome people I met on my journey around North America. Thank you all so much for making my trip such a wonderful experience...
  • Huguette... merci beaucoup!
  • O.C. Smith... dahlin', sweetie... thanks for the great service.
  • "Mouth" and Jerry.... thanks for all the laughs.
  • Steve and Dawn from Georgia ... your pic is here, I didn't forget ;)
  • Mother and daughter from Danville, Virginia.
  • The 3 ladies from Alabama.. told ya LSU would beat Auburn.. tee hee :)
  • The retired Sherriff and Vietnam vet from Meridian, Mississippi.
  • The ex-Amtrak employee originally from New York and currently living in New Orleans, who hates living there..."da food, da food" :)
  • The bikers and their custom made choppers who converged on New Orleans the same weekend I was there. One exception ...the guy on "American Chopper" who was staying at the same hotel as me...I was polite and told him to "Get lost!"... I won't mention any names :
  • The lovely couple from Baton Rouge that I met in the French Quarter.
  • Mike the Tiger *wink*
  • The couple from Delaware who had the sleeper across from me on the train from NYC to New Orleans. The world is so small! The day after the train arrived in New Orleans we all ended up on the same Grayline tour bus...turned out to be the tour bus from hell...long story...the bus driver/guide was a rude jackass and the manager was just as bad, rude, unprofessional, a total jerk. Despite reservations and being on time, a whole bus load of people ended up being screwed out of a tour. That's the really condensed version, but all that to say that I don't recommend Grayline in New Orleans!
  • William, aka "Crash"...thanks for all the info and your cheerfulness.
  • Steve...remember San Antonio and El Paso...by the way, the camera is unrepairable :/
  • Lewis from Baton Rouge...Hope you still ended up having a great time in Las Vegas.
  • Brian from San Diego
  • Ed and Dan from Ottawa.. you weren't kidding about the sleepers on "The Canadian"! LOL
  • Alexander, originally from Los Angeles, but currently living in Austin, Texas
  • The two wimps in Los Angeles...you know who you are...LOL
  • Philip and David from San Diego ... Thanks for all the laughs! Hope you enjoyed the game. Hope they finally fixed the "cranky" bridge and that the truck at the crossing finally left...hehehe
  • Angus, originally from Scotland, now living in Seattle.
  • Bruce...hope your home wasn't damaged by the forest fires.
  • The Geology professor from Berkley and his wife (who is originally from Danville, Virginia).. thank you for the geology lesson at breakfast as we rode through The Cascades :)
  • The front desk clerk at the hotel in Seattle.
  • John Z, Moss, Tray, Kevin, Roger and Maurice.
  • Ross from Winnipeg.
  • The RCMP guys from Edmonton...by the way, she was very happy with her keychains and sends her thanks :)
  • Gary... did you retire yet?! hehe
  • Ryan ... Careful!! Here comes "trouble"... tee hee
  • The lovely elderly couple originally from London, Ontario now living in Victoria, British Columbia.
  • Cindy from Nova Scotia.
  • The two CN (Canadian National Railway) repair guys who "hitched" a ride with us on "The Canadian"...thanks for all the interesting railroad information.
  • Vib in Toronto
  • The cooks at the Nataraj on Bloor Street in Toronto ;)
  • Ken from Rochester...hope you have many more opportunities to keep on ridin' the rails. I hope you got lots of good pictures too :)
  • Jill...hope your dog B.U.D. (big ugly dog...lol) is doing well.
  • Betty...who was on her way to Toronto to vist her daughter.. thank you for all the great stories :)
  • John and Pam from Rochester...a really nice couple...Thank you for making the 3 days on "The Canadian" so much fun. Hope you shoulder is doing well Pam..and take care of that Diabetes John :)
  • All the other people that I met or came across that contributed to making my journey so very enjoyable :)




~~~ Pictures ~~~

To view the pictures (there are 240 of them) click here to start at the beginning or
you can click on a date to go to the pictures taken on that date or click on a city name
to go to pictures of that city. Enjoy! :)





<<<--- Original Itinerary --->>>
Plus a few post-trip notes.


October 21st - Tuesday choo-choo Quebec City to Montreal
Via Rail Canada Renaissance Train #25
Depart: 12:50 EDT
Arrive: 15:40 EDT

Via Rail added the Renaissance trains on the route between Quebec and Montreal in the summer of 2003. They are absolutely horrible! What a waste of money! The seats are small and uncomfortable, they are elevated, which reduces head room, overhead storage space...one barely has room to store a pair of socks in the overhead area. There is space under a seat for a small piece of luggage, and I do mean "small". There is no longer place in the front of each car to store luggage, so luggage must now be checked. That means more personnel is required for luggage handling (yet another expense contributing to higher ticket prices) and you now have to wait and then collect your luggage in the station whereas in the past all you had to do was take your luggage from the storage space at the front of the car and be on your merry way. Every passanger I spoke with was of the same opinion...These Renaissance trains need to be sent back to their European makers for a full refund!!
Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
170/274
  hotel Sleep in Montreal
Europa Downtown Hotel

This was an okay hotel. Well located, about a block south of St. Catherine Street in the heart of downtown. The room was clean, but barely bigger than a matchbox...barely room to turn around in.. but I was only there one night so it was okay.
 

October 22nd - Wednesday choo-choo Montreal to New York City
Amtrak Adirondack Train #68
Depart: 09:50 EDT
Arrive: 19:40 EDT
Adirondack Train Map
This train travels through Quebec and New York.

There are not enough adjectives to describe New York City...it's just the greatest place! Never miss an opportunity to go to NYC. Wandered over to the taping of Good Morning America around 8am (in Times Square). I didn't get into the studio but I still got to see and hear the show, eventhough it was only through the studio windows. I also got to see Phil Collins sing which was really cool.
Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
551/887
  hotel Sleep in New York City
President Hotel

Really nice hotel! Clean, good housekeeping, pleasant staff. The room was just the right size and was very nicely furnished. This hotel is perfectly located too.. only half a block or so from Broadway near Times Square. For the quality and location the price is very reasonable. I highly recommend it. Oh! and there's a lovely little restaurant in the lobby as well.
 

October 23rd - Thursday choo-choo New York City to New Orleans
Amtrak Crescent Train #19
Depart: 14:50 EDT
Arrive: 19:50 CDT October 24 in New Orleans
Crescent Train Map
This train travels through NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS and LA.
 
  sleep Sleep on train
First Class Viewliner Standard Sleeper

Had a great time on this train. The Viewliner Standard Sleepers are very nice. This train was only an hour late...and as you will see as you read on, for Amtrak that's a very good arrival time.. heh. The train ride over Lake Pontchartrain was awesome, it's too bad that they can't schedule it so that it would take place during daylight hours.
 

October 24th - Friday choo-choo 19:50 CDT arrive in New Orleans Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
1,928/3,103
  hotel Sleep in New Orleans
French Quarter Landmark Hotel

Pretty nice hotel. The lobby and such is nothing to write home about, but boy howdy my room was nice. The hotel is located on the North boundry of the French Quarter, whereas most of the tourist activity is in the Southern section of the Quarter. They have a shuttle service several times a day, and it's close enough that if you want to take a taxi it's not a big deal.
 

October 25th - Saturday hotel Sleep in New Orleans
French Quarter Landmark Hotel

New Orleans was nice. It was so hot on the Saturday and Sunday. Of course it finally cooled off the day I was leaving. My luck stikes again..lol As mentioned above, it's a wonder the Grayline tour company there is still in bussiness. I had 2 tours reserved, that didn't happen so I hiked through the Quarter for a few hours on the Saturday. Was a tired puppy by the time I got back to the hotel.
 

October 26th - Sunday Back to Standard time ... "Spring forward, Fall back"
 
  sleep Sleep in New Orleans
French Quarter Landmark Hotel

Still hot as all get out! Visited the Aquarium, Riverwalk, Imax Threatre etc. In the evening I finally got to dine at Brennan's Restaurant. Something I have wanted to do just about all my life. I was somewhat disappointed... Had gumbo and shrimps... wasn't all that good and it was overpriced. As you can see, I'm not easily impressed ;) At least I had good company for diner :)
 

October 27th - Monday choo-choo New Orleans to Los Angeles
Amtrak Sunset Limited Train #1
Depart: 11:55 CST
Arrive: 06:40 PST October 29 in Los Angeles
Sunset Limited Train Map
From New Orleans, this train travels through LA, TX, NM, AZ and CA.
 
  sleep Sleep on train
First Class Superliner Deluxe Sleeper
 

October 28th - Tuesday sleep Sleep on train
First Class Superliner Deluxe Sleeper

Had a good time on this train, met a lot of nice people, but it was a long two days. Except for El Passo, we passed through most of the major cities during the night. For instance we spent two hours in San Antonio, Texas from 1am to 3am. Talking about Texas...OM, where's that Texas heat? ; It was so chilly in SA that I had to put a sweater on ;) My digital camera fell out of my purse and on to the train platform in El Paso, Texas :( Good thing I had thought to bring my trusty 35mm. I was so bummed out though. I ended up buying a new one in Vancouver.
This train stops a lot for long periods of time due to freight traffic.. the ole "Amtrak in the back" rule. Then once it gets going again it really moves! Amtrak "rock and roll" (it stays with you for a good 12 hours after you get off the train). The train was a good 6.5 hours late getting into Los Angeles. Some people had to get off at Palm Springs and bussed to catch their other train connections. Some people missed their connections altogether. It was really a mess for some people. I didn't mind arriving around noon instead of 6am since I was staying in LA for a couple of days anyway.
 

October 29th - Wednesday choo-choo 06:40 PST arrive in Los Angeles Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
3,923/6,313
  hotel Sleep in Los Angeles/Hollywood
Hollywood Plaza Inn
 

October 30th - Thursday hotel Sleep in Los Angeles/Hollywood
Hollywood Plaza Inn

Did the ole touristy stuff in LA. Was offered tickets to the Leno show, but I had plans for the evening and I'm a Letterman fan. Had the wackiest taxi driver on the way back to the train station. He nearly ran out of gas on the highway and coasted the last few yards into a gas station aboout 2 blocks short of the train station... what a maroon.. heh
 

October 31st - Friday choo-choo Los Angeles to Seattle
Amtrak Coast Starlight Train #14
Depart: 10:15 PST
Arrive: 20:30 PST November 1 in Seattle
Coast Starlight Train Map
This train travels through CA, OR and WA.
 
  sleep Sleep on train
First Class Superliner Standard Sleeper

I had such a blast on this train. The people I met were all so wonderful. The scenery was extraordinary. The Cascades are breath-takingly beautiful. The Parlour car on the train was great. We had wine tastings there and a whole lotta fun. And eventhough this train is called the flagship of the Amtrak fleet, it too, was hours late... we didn't get into Seattle till well past midnight...over 4 hours late. So I lost my chance to visit a bit of Seattle that evening. A good reason to have to go back there some day :)
 

November 1st - Saturday choo-choo 20:30 PST arrive in Seattle Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
5,312/8,549
  hotel Sleep in Seattle
Pioneer Square Hotel

This is an absolutely gorgeous hotel. My room was fabulous. I wish I had had more time to enjoy it. The train arrived 4 hours late, so I didn't get to the hotel until shortly before 1am. Didn't get to bed until past 2:30 and I had to be up before 5:30am because my train to Vancouver was leaving early that morning. Another reason for me to have to go back to Seattle some day... to enjoy that hotel for longer than a few hours :) I highly recommend the hotel to anyone going to Seattle.
 

November 2nd - Sunday choo-choo Seattle to Vancouver, BC
Amtrak Cascades Train #510
Business Class
Depart: 07:45 PST
Arrive: 11:40 PST
Cascades Train Map
This train travels through WA and BC.
Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
5,468/8,800
  choo-choo Vancouver to Toronto
Via Rail Canada's The Canadian Train #2
Depart: 17:30 PST
Arrive: 20:00 EST November 5 in Toronto
This train travels through BC, ALB, Sask, Man and Ont.
 
  sleep Sleep on train
First class - Silver & Blue Class - Single Bedroom
 

November 3rd - Monday sleep Sleep on train
First class - Silver & Blue Class - Single Bedroom

Had a very nice time on this train as well. Met lots of lovely people. The ride was nice and smooth, but the sleepers on this train have a lot to be desired, especially that they cost a small fortune. The seat in the sleeper was narrower than a church pew! At night the bed would fold down on top of the toilet...how stupid is that?! Next time, if there is a next time, I won't dole out a small fortune for a sleeper. I'll take a lower berth, which is actually wider than an expensive sleeper.
We stopped in Jasper for less than 20 minutes. The stop over is supposed to be a good 90 minutes, but the train was running late. It was unseasonally cold, so 20 minutes was fine :)
 

November 4th - Tuesday sleep Sleep on train
First class - Silver & Blue Class - Single Bedroom
 

November 5th - Wednesday choo-choo 20:00 EST arrive in Toronto Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
8,243/13,265
  hotel Sleep in Toronto
Roehampton Hotel & Suites
 

November 6th - Thursday hotel Sleep in Toronto
Roehampton Hotel & Suites

Nice hotel, I had a nice big room, even had a small fridge. The room was relatively clean when I checked in, but their housekeeping is deplorable. In the 4 days that I was there, housekeeping came only twice, even after mentioning it at the front desk. When they did come, they half cleaned. It's unfortunate because it's a nice hotel, but it won't stay that way for long.
 

November 7th - Friday hotel Sleep in Toronto
Roehampton Hotel & Suites
 

November 8th - Saturday hotel Sleep in Toronto
Roehampton Hotel & Suites

I've been to Toronto so many times that apart from going to the Royal Ontario Museum, I didn't do many touristy things, nor did I take many pics (you know how it is when you've been somewhere often). Did some visiting with friends, a bit of shopping for souvenirs (I had strict orders from the folks back home to bring souvenirs back from every city... hehe), dining out and all that sort of stuff. Then I was on to the final leg of my journey.
 

November 9th - Sunday choo-choo Toronto to Montreal
Via Rail Canada Train #60
Depart: 11:30 EST
Arrive: 16:56 EST
This train travels through Ont and Que.
Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
8,587/13,819
  choo-choo Montreal to Quebec City
Via Rail Canada Renaissance Train #26
Depart: 17:55 EST
Arrive: 20:50 EST

Homeward bound! Had to take that horrible Renaissance train again :( See note above (Oct. 21).

I had a wonderful trip, it was marvelous. It was a great experience! When I got home I was ready to turn around and do it all over again :))
Cumulative Mileage/Kilometers:
8,757/14,093



June 2003
Updated March 24th, 2004
© 2003-2004

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