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Toying with travel plans still :)

January 21, 2010

So, as people who pay attention to my Facebook may know, I’m still dead-set on crossing the continent this summer.

No longer quite so dead-set on Texas, though. It’s not that I don’t want to visit it: quite the reverse, it’s that I feel just passing through (or stopping for, at most, a day) wouldn’t do the Lone Star State justice. If and when I go to Texas, I want it to be more central to the journey (probably a south/southwest-centric trip), not an afterthought to another project (in this case, Rockies/Pacific).

So, Rockies/Pacific instead this time. The current plan takes me down by bus to Boston (it’s not a proper overland crossing if it doesn’t start on the Atlantic). From there, I make my way to Chicago, either directly (via the LakeShore limited), or via Washington. Washington has the advantage of being very interesting in itself, plus the Washington train (through the Shenandoah, the Blue Ridge, the New River gorge…) sounds more scenic than the Boston one (through the Mohawk valley…at night). On the other hand, Boston-Chicago saves time, saves hotel stays, and…well, yeah.

Either way, from Chicago, it’s onward to San Francisco, with quite possibly a stop in Lincoln (Nebraska), since a friend there has offered to let me crash, and I’m not about to turn my nose at a chance to meet her or visit the odd city I would otherwise perhaps never see. A few days in San Francisco, then it’s the train north toward Seattle. Another day or two there, and it’s back again toward Chicago, this time through Idaho, Montana and the rest.

And there’s so much to see along the way. From the Mississippi (crossed twice in full daylight), to the Missouri (only one crossing, at night, but a good part of the return journey, in Montana and North Dakota, should be on its shores). Not quite deserts, but something very much like it (the badlands of the Colorado Plateau). Canyons and gorges, National parks aplenty (the train from Seattle to Chicago rolls for several hours right through Glacier National Park, for one), cities I’ve only ever heard of (nearly every last one of them)…and of course, mountains, including, between San Fran and Seattle, most of the US portion of the Pacific Ring of Fire – Shasta, Hood, Saint Helen, etc.

It’s not a given yet that I’ll actually do this. But I’m very, very seriously looking at it.

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