Further Planning in Progress 2023

I shared recently plans to visit three more States on my next visit to America. These states being Utah, Nebraska and New Mexico. My excitement about using Amtrak was going to result in many hours of my holiday travelling in a coach seat at a very reasonable ticket price.

Further ideas flooded into my mind with a simple realisation that as I have visited California albeit not recently there was no need for me to be on the California Zephyr for 51 hours and that I should curtail my rail adventure in Salt Lake City a shorter journey of only 34 hours……..or so I thought.

I have looked at many forums about what happens when you arrive in Salt Lake City at the Amtrak station at the scheduled time of 23.05 and sadly have decided to change my plans entirely and at greater investment from my purse.

Salt Lake City has a light rail system called TRAX, it costs $2.50 a journey, the green line runs between the airport and downtown. For some unknown disjointed reason TRAX operations curtail at 23.06 every day and resume early the following morning.

The many forums I have used all say pretty much the same thing that you will have to call a cab preferably ahead of arrival and be specific where you want picking up from because there isn’t a cab rank there. All well and good if you know your way around and are familiar with the city. There is no Wi-Fi on the train and being an overseas traveller won’t be on a data plan either due to the cost. I could get cab firm numbers and call or hope that I have struck up a conversation with a fellow traveller to use their phone or indeed share a cab ride.

The kicker is that the train never, or hardly ever arrives on time and can on occasion be many hours adrift. So as a lone traveller I felt daunted with the stress of not knowing what will be my fate on arrival in Salt Lake City.

I contacted the Salt Lake City Visitors Bureau to see if they knew any hotels that have airport shuttles that could collect me to take me back to their properties. Three times I tried only to be told to contact the hotels directly. I sent plenty of emails to ask the question of airport hotels and not one single hotel responded to my question.

The nearest hotel is half a mile away but I can’t bear the thought of arriving in the middle of the night not knowing what is around on my walk.

If I was travelling with a companion I wouldn’t be so concerned as to my safety of course but try as I might I can’t attract the interest in such a long train journey.

I had also considered that I could take the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Albuquerque which is a day service and arrives during the day but again the unreliability of the scheduling has left me nervous about what time I would actually arrive in Omaha.

So today, I have booked a return flight in and out of Chicago O’Hare and going to spend a few days with my daughter who is flying in from Washington DC where she has a wedding invite. I will probably dragging her along more of Route 66 as we are there. When she returns to the UK I will fly to Omaha and overnight there. Then fly onwards to Salt Lake City for a couple of days and finally onto Albuquerque. I will have to overnight in Chicago before flying back because there isn’t an earlier arriving flight to give me enough time to check in for my International sector.

I haven’t booked the internal flights yet because I am still considering my options and if I have chosen the most sensible route between these airports.

So I will, fingers and toes crossed get to visit states 46, 47 and 48 leaving only North Dakota as the last state to visit in the contiguous United States. Then Hawaii or maybe not.


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