• The Extreme Cross-Country Trip of a Lifetime!

Jenni and Matt made 18 stops visiting friends and family on their 45-day Amtrak adventure.

The Extreme Cross-Country Trip of a Lifetime!

Cross-country trips will teach you a lot about yourself--and your relationship with your travel partner. For Jenni and her husband, Matt, a 45-day USA Rail Pass used to travel across America is just what brought them closer.

Matt in Observation Car

To say they love trains is an understatement: In 2011, they were married in the Norman, Okla., train station.

However, in 2012, the recession made it hard for Jenni and her husband, a newly minted lawyer, to find a job. They were going stir crazy and decided that a cross-country trip could be done on a budget. They called friends and family they hadn’t seen in decades.

Traversing the U.S. in 45 days and making 18 stops proved a huge success. “We got to relax, play games, nap, see the observation deck, and visit friends and family,” Jenni says “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

In California, on the Pacific SurflinerJenni fulfilled her dream of going down Highway 101 and embraced its beauty without worrying about other cars on the road. “We got to see slices of America that are so precious, and you don’t get to see them  the same way when you’re in a car,” Jenni says. Another pit stop in Albuquerque, NM, brought her husband closer to his Native American roots.

Jenni & Matt on the TrainEventually, they stopped in Norman, where they originally took their vows. “It was cool to come back,” she says. In Texas, they stopped in Dallas and Austin. Before heading to Austin, though, Jenni reached out to the couple behind the blog Married with Luggage. They’ve been friends since that epic trip in 2012.

In addition to helping them make new friends, the trip also brought Matt some good luck. A little after their journey on Amtrak ended, Jenni’s husband was hired as a lawyer in Wisconsin.

Today, that trip is still close to the duo’s heart and a train’s whistle is sure to make them smile.  “The sound is nostalgic to us!” she says.

 What long-distance trips have you taken? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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6 comments
neroden
neroden

Ah, I've always been going somewhere, never just wandering around.  

Syracuse (NY)-Chicago (repeatedly), Syracuse-Minneapolis, Syracuse-Denver (repeatedly), Syracuse-Los Angeles (repeatedly)... 

I've got plans for Syracuse-Portland and Syracuse-Seattle as well as more trips to Minneapolis, Denver, and Chicago...


I really wish Amtrak could make the Lake Shore Limited more reliable, for reasons which are probably completely obvious after the list of trips I just listed.  Also, the Lake Shore Limited has a tendency to sell out of rooms -- I hope the new single-level sleeper cars arrive ASAP.


I also WANTED to do Syracuse-Grand Rapids MI and Syracuse-Lansing MI.  But it's not really a reasonable trip to take, because there are no trains heading east from Michigan at all.  This really ought to be fixed.  (Changing to a many-hour bus trip in Toledo in the middle of the night is not really an alternative.)

I've also been trying for several years to figure out how to get to Indianapolis for a convention, but the three-times-a-week schedule of the Cardinal and the 5-hours-with-no-food-service Hoosier State make it completely impractical.

jools_octavius
jools_octavius

A lovely story for Valentine's thanks! :) We plan to do a big us rail trip this year too.

Redpalacecosmosox
Redpalacecosmosox

Our family have taken the Auto Train, Silver Meteor and Silver Star round trip to Orlando from New York.  After flying to Orlando and being crammed into cattle class and waiting on interminable lines at airports, travelling by train is a entirely different are far more pleasurable way to go.  Spacious coach seats with leg and footrests, cafe and dining cars, visible scenery, room to move around and movies on the Auto Train make travelling by train to Florida the way to go.  We have yet to experience Sleeper Car service and look forward to the trip we book a bedroom.

WilliamLong
WilliamLong

I have taken the Southwest chief, and two others


eric_dwhite
eric_dwhite

Wow that's one helluva trip. Very cool.

MyIncomeHelper
MyIncomeHelper

@Redpalacecosmosox My fiance' is on the Silver Meteor right now going to Orlando with his kids. He loves the train, the cleanliness, it's comfy, BUT the people are obnoxious, disrespectful and do not follow any of the rules. They are in the "quiet car" and a 2yr old running around making all kinds of noise, people are smoking e-cigs regardless of the no smoking policy etc. He said never again. Too long of a trip to be stuck with people that make it miserable. It's too bad people don't follow rules or be considerate of other passengers. Everyone acts like they are in their own living room. Seems to be that way just about anywhere these days. It's a shame. He loves trains, loves them, but riding on them is a different experience. Glad you had a good trip and enjoyed it. Hopefully, they have a better experience on the way home next week.

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