Surprising to probably approximately nobody, my travel plans have been morphing into “how long can I stay in Quebec and still get to West Coast before my rail pass runs out?”
My last day of included travel, I believe, is July 10. There are people in California that I want to see, and haven’t seen some in like a decade, but I think all either LA/San Diego or the SF area. The most practical thing to do would be to take the Southwest Chief train from Chicago to Los Angeles, then head up the coast to SF, and from there to Seattle.
But if I were a practical person, probably I wouldn’t be sitting alone in a hostel in the middle of Montreal on a Saturday afternoon, waiting for my tiny assortment of ragged clothes to dry.
The Great Plains and Badlands of North Dakota and Montana are more or less the only parts of the contiguous US that I’ve never really seen (aside from the Pacific Northwest, sort of, since I sprained my ankle immediately the one time I was there, because, well, hello: me), so I’m gonna spend a solid two days on a the Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle, then probably use my last leg of travel on the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles, landing there on the morning of July 10th.
So working backwards from that, in an ideal, travel hitch-free scenario…
- July 9-10: Seattle –> Los Angeles
- July 8-9: night in Seattle
- July 6-8: Chicago –> Seattle
- July 5-6: night in Chicago
- July 4-5: NYC –> Chicago
- July 3-4: night in NYC
- July 2-3: Montreal –> NYC
Naturally, ideal, travel hitch-free scenario is probably a fucking pipe dream (especially since I don’t know how much the July 4 holiday fucks up train travel), so aiming to leave Canadia around June 30 seems reasonable
I think I’m going to head to Quebec City early next week — there are cheap train fares (~$25 to $30 USD one way) available late(ish) Monday and Tuesday, or during the day Wednesday, so June 22-24… then back to Montreal by Monday, June 29 at the latest, depending on when I get there and, you know, pure whimsy.
Mostly whimsy, I suppose.