Planning in Progress – Visiting States #46 & #47 possibly #48

Those of you that follow this site already know that I have stepped foot into 45 states. I still need to visit Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota and finally Hawaii.

As I am resident in the UK this rather restricts my options and what with the current cost of living crisis my purse strings are stretched.

I have researched air fares in September and October and based them on Premium Economy because of the brilliant experience I had last time I flew on Virgin Atlantic to Austin, Texas.

Lack of time and far too many miles resulted in not driving from Oklahoma City across the Texas panhandle into New Mexico on my last road trip so it was back to the drawing board.

Flying into Phoenix directly seemed a practical option to visit New Mexico probably Albuquerque and back towards Williams and Route 66. The price of the flight was around £1,800 and indirect flights with dangerously tight connections or massive layovers was a barrier to this idea.

Weirdly a direct flight to Los Angeles is around £1,000 and will allow me to possibly visit New Mexico, Utah and Nebraska.

So instead of hiring a car for the duration of my visit I am considering the following:

Fly into Los Angeles and then fly to Oakland, CA and take the Amtrak California Zephyr from Emeryville to Chicago Union Station. Travel time on the Zephyr will be 51 hours and 40 minutes. The coach fare (non refundable) is an unbelievable $141 for an upper or lower deck seat. There is a sleeper option in a roomette that is $1052. Look at this ‘youtube’ video

Although the roomette includes three meals and water/coffee I think that paying nearly a $1000 more isn’t worth it and it does look cramped. If I plan carefully and take a blanket and pillow I should be comfortable enough in a coach seat just so long as I can bag a window seat.
The journey passes through some very scenic views and major cities and there are opportunities to get off and stretch your legs.
The Zephyr arrives both in Salt Lake City and Lincoln Nebraska in the dead of night around 03.00 and if I do this adventure need to make sure that I am conscious enough to at least take a picture of the station signage.
Now the other little option available to me is taking Amtrak Southwest Chief from Los Angeles to Albuquerque which is about 16 hours in each direction and then flying up to Oakland to take the Zephyr.
The Southwest Chief does run between Los Angeles and Chicago but the route is to the South and therefore doesn’t visit Utah nor Nebraska.
The airfare London – Los Angeles – San Francisco X Chicago to London is based on Los Angeles being the turn around city and so all the sectors are included in the return fare.
By not spending $1000 on the roomette I could of course get a great hotel in Los Angeles and Chicago to relax and get over my adventure.
Planning is still in progress but my thoughts are clearer.

2 thoughts on “Planning in Progress – Visiting States #46 & #47 possibly #48

  1. Trip planning is so hard! New Mexico and Utah can easily be combined into one trip, but it would be hard to incorporate Nebraska and North Dakota unless you’re planning to spend months. The southwest part of the US is our favorite, and Utah is probably where we would live if it weren’t for Texas being home. If you’re interested, dig through our archives for New Mexico and Utah posts. We envy your ability travel to the US. It would be very difficult for us to visit all of Australia’s states and territories. Happy travels!


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