Last year, my friend, Katie, came across a blog post that was making its way around everyone's newsfeeds. The post? This one. One guy's journey across the United States by train.
Katie sent it to our group of friends and immediately we were hooked.
I grew up in Georgia which means trains were not a typical way of getting around. I've been on many planes, many road trips, one cruise, but zero trains (unless you count a quick ride from Manhattan to Queens). The idea of going from one side of the country to the other--getting to actually see the countryside while you ride--sounded nothing short of magical.
What started out as a "we should totally do that" conversation slowly began to morph its way into a "we are doing this" conversation.
In two days, we hit the road (or really the air first) and we want to take you with us! Mostly, we want a central place to document the trip and share our pictures, so we've decided to blog our way through. We hope you enjoy checking out the pictures and stories as well! I can pretty much guarantee there will good stories.
On Friday, we'll fly from Nashville to San Francisco to kick off what we're affectionately calling #TrainGames2016.
You probably have so many questions.
We still do, too.
First, meet the people going on this trip:
Here is why Caroline is CLUTCH when it comes to travel. She is the master of GPS. She always knows how to navigate our way around a new city and I always trust she knows where we're going (even if she doesn't). I've been on many, many trips with Caroline and I am 100% confident this trip will be just fine because she will be there. If we're voting for troop leader of #traingames2016, I'm voting for Caroline.
Katie is our resident "here for a good time" girl. She will be the one to meet new friends at every turn and make sure the selfie stick is put to good use. I fully expect her to use her woo with strangers to find out the best local stops along the way and get us the best seats in the dining car. You can expect to see many of her pictures here on the blog. She's never been one to forget a good picture opportunity.
AND THEN THERE'S ME.
I bought Birkenstocks and a Go Pro, because it just felt right to have those handy for the cross-country trip. I still don't know how all the tricks and tips of the Go Pro, so you can expect amateur pictures with snarky commentary. I'm hoping to meet a nice friend on the train who will show me his GP ways. Yes, I say "he" because in my head he's a single, handsome gentleman.
So, let's answer the questions we've heard the most:
WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
We will fly to San Francisco on Friday, June 17th and spend the weekend in the city. I'm excited to explore, because I've never been! On Sunday morning, we'll board the California Zephyr at the Emeryville station and head to Salt Lake City. The trip averages 15 hours and is set to arrive at 3:30a.m. I'm pretty sure we'll still be on a "we're on a train" high at that point and think that being up in Salt Lake City at 3:30a.m is cute.
We'll see Salt Lake City for 24 hours and then board the train again at 3:30a.m. on Tuesday (what is it with that time?). I'm guessing we'll be sleepy.
We'll ride to Denver and arrive at 6:40p.m. on Tuesday. We will have two days in Denver (see you soon, Red Rocks!) and we've strategically picked out an AirBnB that has a washer and dryer, because packing light is a big theme for this adventure.
From there, we'll head back to the train at 7:00p.m. on Thursday for our first overnight trip. We'll end our train journey in Chicago when we roll in at 2:30p.m on Friday. We love the Windy City, so we'll hang there for the weekend and hit up a Second City show to top it all off with some comedy. On Sunday, June 26th, we'll fly back home to Nashville, start the laundry, and wonder why our couch is not on wheels.
CAN YOU REALLY DO THE TRIP FOR LESS THAN $300?
If you read the blog post that inspired this whole thing, you'll see that he did the trip for under $300. Is it possible? Yes, it sure is. Kind of. We've decided to stop for a few days in each city, so our trip not only includes the train ticket, but the plane tickets and hotel stays as well. If you only factor in train tickets, than you've got yourself a cross-country trip under $300. Pretty crazy, right?
ARE YOU SLEEPING ON THE TRAIN?
We are! There's only one leg of the trip that is a full overnight journey (Denver to Chicago). There's a really large jump in price between the coach seats and the sleeper cars, so we've chosen to sleep in our seats. We've heard these seats are more comfortable than plane seats, but I think we'll be the judge of that--especially around 2:00a.m. in the middle of Colorado. We're fully prepared with blankets, neck pillows, ear plugs and sleep masks. Katie's been our researcher for this trip and has read many websites and blog posts that say the train can get pretty chilly, so make sure and pack a jacket and socks. After Katie's fourth text message this week to remind me the train gets chilly, I'm pretty sure I responded, "FOR THE LOVE I WILL BRING SOCKS."
But you can't blame her for making sure we're prepared.
So, there you have it. We leave Friday morning for the adventure, and we fully expect this to be a trip we'll never forget.
Until then, here's this: