Tips For Traveling Cross Country By Train

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To all my wonderful friends on Thrifty Fun, I wanted to let you know I moved clear across the USA! I am in Yorktown, VA for a year, working on the craft kits business, and staying with some friends. I have a craft room, bedroom, and a humongous four bedroom three bath house to myself about 75% of the day.


I lost my job and home, and sold or gave away half my things, put the other in storage and took a train from Portland, OR to Chicago, then Chicago to Yorktown, VA. The train ride was not that great, so I wanted to share a few things I learned if you find yourself traveling over several days.

Take music, a book, a moshy pillow, a donut (if don't want a comotose bottom), and your own food, if you are thrifty or just broke like me. My daughter bought me an mp3 player, and the crying babies and constant loudspeaker announcements were not so bad.

Pack light. My two check on bags would have been free from Portland to Chicago, but would have cost me money from Chicago to Virginia.

I finally broke down and bought a meal the second day out, having pretty much run out of cold food. For a hoagie bun and watered down turkey and cheese "food", a bag of chips, cinnamon roll, cup o noodles, and a Pepsi was $17.50, yeah, I hear ya!


There was a rod under the seat so no matter how you tried to lay or sit, you couldn't sleep very well.

I weigh about 200 lbs, and it was all I could do to "back" into one of their "econo-potties", so I sometimes waited for the disabled one.

They pretty much talk to you like you were cattle, ordering you here and there, reminding you that if you get off for any reason and don't reboard in time, you will have to pay for another ticket.

So, take things to do, sleeping pills help your body ignore the rigors of sleeping sitting up for two or more days, and when you can, sit as far away from speakers as you can.

Once I was here, I was in love with the area. The humidity was horrible, but when it's gone, you have Crape Myrtle and Mimosa trees and some of the nicest people I have ever met!


I am sending one shot of the house from that back yard.

Source: Just sharing where I am!

By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Yorktown, VA

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September 14, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks for the advice and the update. I'm sure Salem misses you!

I think some Amtrak lines are better than others. I have taken the Cascades line from Portland, OR to Seattle/Tacoma a few times and I have always enjoyed the trip. I've never been on long enough to try to sleep though. One think I really like is that they have standard plug sockets at each seat, so I can plug in my laptop and work (or play) while I am traveling. They always have a movie that you can watch or not, providing you have headphones.


One tip that my brother taught me is to purchase "Business Class" if you can. The cost is usually a little bit more but not much. The seats are more comfortable, less crowded and you usually can be seated first, like on the airlines. You get a credit toward the dining car, which is nice to get a cup of coffee or a little snack. I wouldn't get anything else because the prices are HIGH!

I also think that some train lines have a special kid play car, which would be a life saver if you were trying to travel with kids. My sister has used this when traveling with her son.

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September 14, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks, Jess: I did forget about the plug ins, as they charged the cell, and are literal life savers for those with breathing machines and more. I am just glad to be settled, tho' I miss my family and friends that are still there. Sandi/Poor But Proud

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September 16, 20090 found this helpful

I moved south from the midwest in the late 70's AND am still then 2 yr. old daughter is now raised (Her father died in an interstate accident when she was 10 months old so I left Iowa my home state). She is now raising her own family here (3 children). The humidity is a killer but the cost of living is so much less here AND the southern people are just wonderful, love just drips off of their fingertips I think.


Welcome to the South you will never regret coming this way - sure you miss the familiarity of that area you moved from - that pain stayed with me up until I made some wonderful friends here in the south. I haven't regretted moving here at all AND you will not either in time (I promise).

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September 16, 20090 found this helpful

Hey, Sandi :-) I didn't know that trains were equipped that I could plug in my oxygen concentrater so I may just start traveling again knowing this now ;-) I am so happy to know you're in a good place and space even though away from family!

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September 17, 20090 found this helpful

I have to agree with Paula Jo. I have never found such nice people! And the area I am in is so clean, everyone takes care of their yards, there is almost no trash on the highways or parking lots. In Oregon, there are cultures who's idea it is to just drop whatever they need to and someone else will pick it up, even if it's diapers or other items that humans use and discard.


Unemployment in Oregon is second in the nation. Almost or at 12% and the taxes on income and property are astronomical because there is no sales tax. Don't get me wrong, I love my home state, but my government and other factors just don't make it a place to live, at least for me.

When I go back, I think I will live in Idaho. There is a wonderful little town called Wallace, where the movie Dante's Peak was filmed. It's small, pretty, friendly, and quiet. The beauty of my on line biz is that I can live in a smaller town and not have the size determine my sales base. Virginia, the Yorktown and Williamsburg area, has shown me that Southern Charm, Hospitality, and Chivalry are not dead. I just had to go find them.

Will be putting on some crafts soon, so watch for me!

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