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  1. Default My plan - a Portuguese plan

    Hello, Iím Paulo and Iím from Portugal. Iím going to the United States for the first time this June and Iím going to do a coast-to-coast trip for five weeks starting in New York and ending in Los Angeles. Iíve just discovered this site last week and itís a little bit late to read it all, so Iím contacting you to get some directions, advices, ideas, etc. If you can help me I would appreciate it.

    Step 1:
    Beginning in New York for three and a half days visiting the usual places that everyone visit! Then I want to go to Newark to meet with the Portuguese community that lives there.
    Step 2:
    Go north to visit the Niagara Falls and Chicago, spending two days.
    Step 3:
    Visit Philadelphia and Washington one or two days in each city.
    Step 4:
    Visit Nashville and Memphis, a day in each city.
    Step 5:
    Visit Miami for two days.
    Step 6:
    Visit New Orleans for two days.
    Step 7:
    Rent a car and drive throw in the states of Mississippi, Texas (Paris, Austin and El Paso), New Mexico, Arizona (Grand Canyon, Tucson), Nevada (Las Vegas), Colorado (Denver), Utah, Washington (Seattle), for about ten days.
    Step 8:
    Visit San Francisco and Los Angeles for two days in each city.

    Iím thinking if itís doable on this plane the steps 2 and 5, and if Iíll need more than ten days on step 7. This step is going to be the only one Iíll be driving a car. The other steps of this plan will be made by bus (Greyhound), by night preference.

    As Iíve said it before if you give me some advices and ideas it would be nice. Not just about this plan but tricks about places that I shouldnít miss on my trip.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I don't know how much you would enjoy visiting the Portuguese community in Newark, but as I remember, there is quite a concentration of Portuguese in the Fall River - New Bedford, Massachusetts area. You could consider going that way from NYC on your way to Niagara Falls.

    Your time frames are a bit vague, but please keep in mind how far apart places really are in the US. I would advise you not to try to drive more than 500 miles a day from point to point, and that assumes Interstate highways. If you use secondary roads, this should be even less. If you are planning on spending multiple days in each city you have listed, watch your time carefully, those 5 weeks will start getting used up quickly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default schedules

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you'll have some significant concerns about fitting everything in during the early stages of your plan. I'm not 100% confident I understand your timeline, but you should know, that you are looking at full day or more drives as you go back and forth between the east coast and places like Chicago and Nashville and its about 2 days from there to Miami and 2 more back to NOLA. Throw in the fact that Greyhound is typically a very slow way to travel, because of the number of intermediate stops, and I think you'll likely need to factor in several extra days for transportation in here.

    You've got to do what works for you, but I think you're looking at a very frantic pace, where you really aren't going to see nearly as much as you want. Throw in the fact that you are doing a whole lot of zigzagging to places that are hundreds of miles apart, and you may have simply underestimated just how big of a country this is. Just for comparison sake, remember that the entire country of portugal is smaller than the state of indiana, and Spain and Portugal combined are still smaller than the state of Texas. My advice would likely be to shave a few stops off, and try to find a path that is a little more direct, so you spend more time having fun as less time trying to get to your next destination.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I apologize, I missed the Greyhound part. Amtrak is considerably quicker, if they go where you need to go. Internal flights may be the best solution if time is getting tight.

  5. Default

    Thanks for your time.

    Iíve seen the Amtrak schedules and I believe that they arenít much better than Greyhound. Iíve seen the schedules and itís possible to do the trip between two towns by night and so I donít waste too much time and itís a night less in a hotel.
    Maybe itís better to let Miami and Seattle to another visit.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default not a reciepe for fun

    You should know that Greyhound isn't exactly the best bus system in the world. Since it is really only used by people who can't drive (generally can't afford a car), it really is a mode of transportation used mainly by the poor, and that does bring with it some less than ideal elements. Depots are also typically in pretty rundown parts of town. There is something to be said that the first class bus service in many poorer countries (Mexico being a good example) is vastly superior to any scheduled bus service you'll find in the US.

    I point this out not because you shouldn't use it, but rather you should know it might not be the best place to get a really good night sleep, and I could very easily see you becoming exhausted from not getting enough rest by assuming that a night on a bus will be a comfortable place to get quality sleep.

  7. Default

    Yes, I know that Greyhound is not the best service in the world and itís used by people who canít drive but I canít afford to rent a car for five weeks and I think that Amtrak itís a little bit more expensive and to use it Iíll need to change most of my itinerary.

  8. Default

    But how are you thinking to sleep in the bus? It's OK for 1 night, but the next day you'll be just wiped out and not enjoy the city. Planes are not very cheap. We rented with national and 1400$ =1000Ä / month for rental. They have the smallest 1 way fee. Try to calculate better, I don't think you'll save a lot of money. When you book on-line don't forget to change residence to Portugal, americans pay crazy amount. What helps to save a lot of money is going to campings in national parks, not motels, but u need a car for it!

  9. #9

    Default Amtrak train travel

    For Paulo, planning his trip across the USA with approximately 5 weeks of travel time, it would be fairly easy to use AMTRAK for most of his journey.

    First thing he should do is purchase a USA RAIL PASS which allows him to travel to all AMTRAK destinations, getting on and off at various locations, one just one price.

    With that in mind, he can then continue his planning.

    New York to Newark is just a hop, skip and a jump my numerous trains in each direction daily.

    When he is ready to travel, he should begin by taking AMTRAK Train #63 Maple Leaf to Niagara Falls (either the US side or the Canadian side). Train leaves NYC at 7:15 am and arrives about 4:00 pm. Leaving the train departs at 10:00 am and this time he should just go to Buffalo.

    From Buffalo you can catch Train # 48 the Lake Shore Limited to Boston arriving at 9:45 pm.

    There are numerous trains along the Northeast Corridor to allow travel to
    Philadelphia and then on to Washington, DC almost at any time.

    When ready to travel again, Train # 91, the Silver Star departs Washington, DC at 3:00 pm and travels to Tampa and then to Miami, Florida and arrives at 6:00 pm the next day. When ready to depart, Train # 98, the Silver Meteor leaves at 8:40 am and travels partially by a different route and arrives back in Washington, DC at 7:30 am the next day.

    The Capitol Limited, Train # 30 departs DC at 1: 30 pm and arrives in Chicago
    at 7:00 am.

    After visiting Chicago and ready to move on again, Train # 59, the City of New Orleans leaves at 8:00 pm and arrives the next morning in Memphis at
    7:00 am.

    Memphis to Nashville is approximately 250 miles --bus service or rent a car
    agencies are available at Memphis.

    Train # 59, the City of New Orleans leaves Memphis at 7:00 am and continues on to Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans arriving at 3:45 pm.
    This train travels directly through the heartland on Mississippi.

    If plans are to drive through Mississippi the rental car can be returned at either Jackson or New Orleans. (There is an excellent Civil War Memorial Park and National Cemetery at Vicksburg that is certainly worth visiting.)

    From New Orleans, Train # 1, the Sunset Limited departs at 11:55 am and travels across Louisiana and Texas (Beaumont, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso) and rental agencies are available at El Paso.

    Train # 1 departs El Paso at 5:55 pm and arrives in Los Angeles at 10:10 am
    the next morning.

    Mileage between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is approximately 450 miles and frequent bus or auto rental agencies are available.

    Frequent Amtrak service is also available for travel to San Diego and back.

    When ready to move on again, Amtrak Train # 14, the Coast Starlight, traveling along the Pacific Ocean departs LA at 10:15 am and arrives in San Francisco at 9:30 pm (Amtrak bus from Oakland to SF).

    From San Francisco (Amtrak Bus to Oakland) you could then take Amtrak Train # 6 the California Zephyr which travels directly through the Rocky Mountains into Denver arriving 7:30 pm the next evening.

    Spending time in Denver you could depart at 8:10 pm and then continue back to Chicago and arrive at 3:50 pm the next day.

    From Chicago, the Empire Builder Train # 7 departs Chicago at 2:15 pm and travels the upper northwest region of the country through Glacier Park and on into Seattle. arriving at 10:20 am on day 3.

    Seattle offers the opportunity to travel by train to Vancouver, Canada or Portland, Oregon.

    Finally, the Coast Starlight departs Seattle at 9:45 am and arrives in SF area at 8:00 am and in LA at 9:00 pm the next evening.

    The USA RAIL PASS allows you to zig-zag all across the country and make frequent stops all for one price. Remember reservations are needed on all trains 1-800-USA-AMTRAK and changes can be made at no additional cost.

    The RAIL PASS is for coach travel -- sleeping car space is available for extra charges. Dining cars (full service meals), lounge cars (snacks & beverages) are available on all trains mentioned here and Superliner Sightseer Lounge Cars are available for pleasurable scenery enjoyment on all trains west of Washington, DC. (not on the Lake Shore Limited into Boston.)

    With 5 weeks to travel, this could certainly be the trip of a lifetime.


  10. Default

    I can tell you right now that there is not way you can see Memphis in one day. Not even close. We spent three days there and all we were able to do was see Graceland, Go to the Zoo, and Visit Rhodes College. The main thing you HAVE to do is take the tour of Graceland. You get to see the mansion, two of his planes, and a whole musem of his cars. The tickets were cheap too. You cannot record or use flash photography though, so be aware of that. I'm originally from Kentucky, and every time we tried to go somewhere we got lost. We had maps and step by step directions and it just wasn't working. The city is big and hard to navigate if you've never been there.

    Its also a little dangerous. I went with my mom and I was literally scared to go out on the streets. Thereare no white people outside of the little section where Graceland is, and I just felt out of place. The people there weren't very apt to help us either. They were very standoffish. The scary part was when we saw a guy with a towel wrapped around his head who was clearlying on some serious drugs. He was walking down the street screaming, and then proceeded to have a conversation with a truck. There wasn't anyone in it, he was literally talking with the truck.

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