среда, 11 марта 2015 г.
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Rolling Across the United States by Train By John Pitt Updated Feb, 2015 American trains have always rental cars near tampa florida had a strong hold on the popular imagination, inspiring countless rental cars near tampa florida songs, stories, scandals and legends. Their rugged style and old-world charm sets them apart from more mundane rental cars near tampa florida means of transport and, as Homer Simpson has said, 'Nothing beats flying across rental cars near tampa florida the country on a train.' Trains are safe, pollute less and rarely suffer from weather rental cars near tampa florida delays or long security checks. You won't be surcharged or given jet lag or made to take your shoes off.
You stay in touch with an ever-changing landscape and between the cities and small towns you can comprehend America's sheer size, seeing what the country looked like before McDonalds and Coca Cola. Often the places you visit can't be seen any other way. Trains serve most big cities as well Disney World, Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. You can travel from coast to coast, go to more than 500 destinations, explore the Rocky Mountains and ride alongside two oceans. The following are some of my favorite Amtrak journeys: rental cars near tampa florida The California Zephyr , one of the world's great trains, goes from Chicago to San Francisco by way of America's heartland and the high plains of Colorado, climbing into the Rocky Mountains via the Oregon Trail. Pioneers came this way, as did gold prospectors, the pony express and the first continental telegraph. Bradt's Guide Which guidebook? Bradt's indispensable USA by Rail (which I wrote) includes maps, full route guides, city information and details of how to find your way about strange train stations. The book also covers trains in Canada. Allow at least half an hour before departure time and choose a window seat for better views, more privacy and a corner to lean against when sleeping. You can bring two pieces of hand baggage and the check-in service allows an additional three items. Serendipity is one of the great things about train travel as you can easily mingle with fellow passengers if you wish, watch a movie or just enjoy the passing scene. There is nothing to compare the legroom on any train compared with what you get on a cross-country bus or anything in the air. So enjoy and stretch out! Lounge cars offer great views through their huge wrap-around windows and you can have a drink in the bar, where a relaxed atmosphere rental cars near tampa florida sometimes encourages strangers to tell you their life story in hair-raising detail. Dining car meals may include regional rental cars near tampa florida specialities such as barbecued spare ribs or fresh salmon. Lunch is better value than dinner but anything alcoholic tends to be expensive. Get Cash or Bring a Card Many people bring their own food supplies on board, though this isn't encouraged. Tickets and meals can be paid for with cash, credit cards, or travellers' rental cars near tampa florida cheques designated in US$. Amtrak trains are known for running out of certain food items, so just in case, stock up with snacks
and non-obtrusive or smelly foods just in case. There are no places to obtain cash, except by cashing a travellers' cheque, so take enough money to last the journey. Lots of hotels can be found close to train stations and station staff are a good source of advice. Sleeping on board is no problem either, given generous reclining seats, dimmed lights and a free pillow from the attendant. Top tip: Choose a seat in the middle of the car, away from the sliding doors, and take a coat or blanket to ward off over-enthusiastic air conditioning at night. Sleeping compartments, available for a supplement, are ingenious if none too spacious. You get extra privacy and it's a unique experience to hurtle through the night in your own personal travelling capsule. rental cars near tampa florida Complimentary tea, coffee, fruit juice and a newspaper are served each morning and the fare includes all meals in the dining rental cars near tampa florida car as well as access to Amtrak's exclusive Metropolitan waiting rental cars near tampa florida rooms (I once hobnobbed with comedian rental cars near tampa florida Bill Cosby at New York's Pennsylvania Station). Arrive early to avoid rushing on board. Always wear shoes when moving about the train and use handrails when boarding rental cars near tampa florida or climbing stairs (long-distance trains are mostly double-decked Superliners). Using maps and schedules cleverly you can organise your route to reach places early in the morning, refreshed and ready for a day's sightseeing. If you are only staying a short time you can leave checked bags with Amtrak and pick them up later for the next leg of your journey. Top tip: When travelling overnight through scenic areas try to make your departure date just before a full moon. The Sunset Limited After Salt Lake City, you cross Bonneville Salt Flats and the beautiful Sierra Nevada. The Sunset Limited's epic journey takes you from Florida to Los Angeles, making a dizzy crossing of the Mississippi River outside New Orleans before traveling among bayous, white egrets, alligators, mansions and fields of sugar cane. After San Antonio rental cars near tampa florida the train joins the Rio Grande, taking a day to cross the sagebrush and mesquite rental cars near tampa florida prairies of Texas.
The Southwest Chief travels between Chicago and the Pacific, following part of the Santa Fe Trail first used by Native Americans, Spanish conquistadors, wagon trains and stage coaches. You cross the Mojave Desert and pass Dodge City's famous Boot Hill burial ground. From Williams in Arizona rental cars near tampa florida you can travel to the Grand Canyon. The Crescent goes from New York to New Orleans through the Blue Ridge Mountains and idyllic Shenandoah National Park.
Beyond Atlanta lie sleepy southern towns with sun-bleached houses before the train makes a dramatic crossing of Lake Pontchartrain, skimming a few feet above the water on a six-mile c auseway. The Coast Starlight operates between Seattle and Los Angeles and passes some of America's highest mountains as well as the emerald forests and waterfalls of Twin Peaks country.
Beyond San Luis Obispo California the train runs along tracks set high on cliffs, with splendid views of the Pacific surf and beaches. Tickets Prices depend on distance and the standard of service provided but special deals often mean big reductions, with prices up to 75% less than the equivalent air fare. Students and seniors rental cars near tampa florida qualify for a 15% discount. You can make reservations at Amtrak's website, station ticket offices and designated travel agents, or by telephoning a free 24-hour number. Top tip: Book as far ahead as possible, especially during summer when some routes can become very busy. Passes are available for travel throughout Amtrak's 25,000-mile rail network.
For each type of pass, currently priced starting at $449 for 15 days, you can travel a certain number of travel segments within rental cars near tampa florida a period of 15, 30 or 45 days. A full list of Amtrak-appointed agents outside North America can be found in the USA by Rail guidebook. Amtrak Railpass prices are: $459.50 for 15 days, 8 segments $689 for 30 days, 12 segments, $899 for 45 days, 18 segments, kids passes are 50% of above. rental cars near tampa florida A pair of binoculars, a good book, a deck of cards (poker games in the bar have been known to last until dawn), maps (preferably showing rail lines), a light blanket, earplugs or an eyeshade if you are a light sleeper, bathing and grooming items (some trains have showers), a pocket torch, sunglasses, a cheap digital watch with an alarm, a small first-aid kit, bottled mineral or spring water (which will taste better rental cars near tampa florida than that from the drinking rental cars near tampa florida fountain), fresh fruit, nuts and other snacks. Wear comfortable clothes, especially shoes.
John Pitt has traveled over 75,000 miles as author of the USA by Rail guide book, published by Bradt Travel Guides. For more information and advice on train travel in the United States and Canada, rental cars near tampa florida see his website . Enjoy rail travel? Take dozens of travel articles to go on your Kindle with our Rail Travel Plane Reader, just $2.99 Read more stories about train travel on GoNOMAD
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