Bi-coastal disorder

I had bi-coastal disorder for a long time after moving to the US, then I discovered the joys of travelling across country by train (really). I would love to do it by car sometime, but I’d need to take some serious time off to enjoy all the places I would want to stop. Conversely, on Amtrak, it’s nice and comfortable and a 3.5 day ride from Boston to San Francisco. I’ve done it three times now (I live in Cambridge too), and I recommend it next time you’re headed out West :slight_smile:


If you do go, I recommend taking some good American history books. Last time, I took the Journals of Lewis and Clark as well as the Donner Party Journals for appropriate points along the way.

I agree that the train is a great way to travel. Far more civilized and comfortable than flying. Have you tried the private room option. Really nice.

I have taken the trip by car a couple of times First time about forty years ago. It gives you more options to stop an see things along the way, but plan lots of time.

Ummm, forget the history books, I think if you are going to San Francisco you’re supposed to be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

For a good road trip, nothing beats a motorcycle, although a car will do. With a train, you can’t change your itinerary in the middle of your trip.

You certainly are less flexible on a train… but there are areas you roll through where the scenery is phenomenal, and you simply don’t get the same unadulterated views from the road. Plus, you get to sit back and can just look off at the mountains and not have to concentrate on other drivers or wildlife, etc…

I took L. Ron Hubbard’s book, Battlefield Earth on a plane trip to Spokane from Hartford Ct. once. John Ringo, David Weber, Frank Herbert’s Dune series, especially Heretics of Dune and Chapter House Dune. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, especially the first three books. Orson Scott Card has Ender’s Game and some of the sequels. Nova by Samuel Delany is good. Starship Troopers by Heinlein is not like the movie, thankfully. The four gospels are also good.

I’d hope the book Battlefield Earth was nothing like the movie, either… Otherwise I’m surprised you didn’t light it on fire after the first 3-4 pages…

Shoul you decide to do the cross country trip by car, allow me to suggest considering the Lincoln Highway. It was the first cross-country highway and remains a popular and nostalgic route loaded with history. There’s even a national organization of Lincoln Highway enthusiasts. PBS ran a one hour special on the highway recently. I myself would love to try it if I had the time.

I had a nightmare of a train trip from Tucson to LA. Always having the passenger train pull over for freight trains added quite a few hours (like 20) to the trip.

We’ve gone from Chicago to Boston and back, Chicago to New Orleans and back, and Los Angeles to Chicago by Amtrak, springing for a bedroom. It’s definitely the most relaxing way to travel when neither time nor money is pressing. You also need to be pretty steady on your feet, IMO, as the train, moving at speed can knock you around, or down, if you try to walk around while it’s at speed. They’re noisy as hell, and rock like crazy, and I sleep great in the Amtrak bedrooms, anyway, even though I’m a light, poor sleeper at home. No, they don’t stay on schedule, and freight trains get priority. Stuff happens.