Trains...Trains...Trains

Old Apr 25th, 2007, 04:21 PM
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Trains...Trains...Trains

Hi everyone,
June is nearing and so I thought I would share with you our plans for our 40th Wedding anniversary trip across much of Canada and the US. I'll lay out what I have, and associated costs in case anyone wants to follow in our footsteps.(Costs listed are for 2 people) (Taxes extra)
June 8th Milwaukee to Toronto via Air Canada(397.30)
June 8th overnight in Toronto at One King West Hotel ($195.00)
June 9th 9am Board VIA RAIL to Jasper Silver & Blue, Bedroom class, lower level of car to offset sway factor and related 'sea' sickness.($2042.35)
June 11th Arrive Jasper P/U Hertz rental car, drive down to Canmore, @ 5 hours)car rental ($54.95/day)
June 11th & 12th 2 nights at A Bear & Bison B&B($210/night)
June 12th & 13th Tour LL and Banff area for 1 & 1/2 days.
June 13 Drive back to Jasper, sightsee along the way. overnight at Patricia Lake
Bungalos ($175../night).
June 14th, turn car in @ 1pm, Re-board VIA RAIL at 2pm. Silver & Blue Bedroom Class.
June 15th Arrive in Vancouver. Overnight at The Listel Hotel. Note: the Listel Hotel, Bus and Ferry to Victoria Island, Coast Harbourside Hotel (2 nights), and Ferry to Seattle inclusive rate as part of victoria Clipper Package. ($800.00)
June 15th tour Stanley Park, etc.
June 16th Victoria Clipper to Victoria Island.
June 16th 2 nights at Coast Harbourside Hotel.
June 16th and 17th in Victoria.
June 18th ferry to Seattle, overnight at Inn At The Market. ($225/night).
June 19th Board Coastal Starlight Amtrak Bedroom class, arrive June 20th in Emmeryville CA,(cost inclusive for Amtrak leg of journey)
June 20th overnight at Four Points Sheraton Hotel (a few block from Amtrak Station) ($195/night).
Note: Coastal Starlight Train is habitually late and they only give you 1 hour to make transfer so need to go down there day before.
June 21st Board Amtrak to Chicago arrive Chicago June 23rd.
June 23rd LV Chicago @ 5pm, Arr Milwaukee @ 7pm. Total cost of Amtrak from Seattle to Milwaukee ($1168)
Total cost of trip @ $5200.00 plus meals, entertainment and incidentals. Not cheap by any means, but surely a once in a lifetime trip; and hey, she put up with me for 40 years, she desrves it.
I want to thank all of you who contributed to our ideas for this trip, which took almost 8 months of planning. I went through a travel agent for the things (trains, car, some hotels)I was leary about, the rest I booked myself. Our plan is to take a lot of pictures and return to the spots we want to spend more time in, probably in 2009 or 2010. Again, thank you all, and I'll post a trip report upon our return.
P.S. Did I mention I love trains? We'll see if I still do after this trip.
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Old Apr 26th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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A wonderful trip but one suggestion. I've taken both the Canadian Toronto-Vancouver and the California Zephyr San Francisco-Chicago (I love trains too!). The only thing I might change is to have accommodations set up in Chicago for when you arrive, since that train is notoriously **multiple** hours late. Not to discourage you, though, because the California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful travelling experiences I've had to date, and I think totally worth it, delays and all, especially for a train lover like yourself. I realize Chicago is close to Milwaukee and trains are frequent between the two cities; nevertheless, I think you might prefer to have reservations somewhere in Chicago to ensure having a place to crash for the night in case you miss the last train to Milwaukee. (You won't make the 5pm, I can almost assure you.)

Enjoy; I'm a bit envious! One of these days I must take the Coast Starlight...
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Old Apr 27th, 2007, 04:34 PM
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Hi, I have a question in relation to the trans-Canadian part of the trip. I have been trying to decide between the Canadian and the Rocky Mountaineer. I like the idea of The Canadian because I can drive to Toronto instead of needing to fly and because I have never been to the mid-west of either the US or Canada. But, I'm not sure I will like that long two day leg between Toronto and Jasper. Is there any time where you can get a break and get off the train even for a short period? Or, if I broke up the trip is there any particular stop people would recommend? Winnepeag? Somewhere else? I'm not fussy, enjoy museums, walks, canoeing, shopping, etc. Has anyone done both of these train trips--how do they compare? Thanks much, L
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Old Apr 28th, 2007, 05:47 AM
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Hi Libby

I've not taken the Rocky Mountaineer but I CAN address your other questions regarding VIA Rail. There are some maybe 20-minute stops between Toronto and Winnipeg (already a full day and 8 hours between these two) where one can stretch one's legs on the side of the train (Capreol and Sioux Lookout, ON) and depending how on-time your arrival is in Winnipeg you could have a good bit of exploring time in this city. Coming back from Vancouver, I had a little over an hour to walk around the area nearby the train station in the 'Peg. The excellent Forks market is within easy walking distance as is the Red River. Edmonton is the next major stop, with perhaps 40 minutes in the station, but at this point you're only 5 train-hours from Jasper. The train is far removed from the city, but I had some friends who live in Edmonton who I hadn't seen in many years meet me at the station for a joyous reunion.

If you opt to split up the journey (and Winnipeg I think would be the best choice for doing so), you'll need to spend at least 2 nights in the 'Peg as the Canadian train runs only thrice weekly.

I took the train all the way from Toronto-Vancouver and honestly while at first I was a bit leery of spending 3 days in a train (and I love trains), bringing plenty of things to do and what with the gorgeous scenery and social fellow passengers, I found the time went by faster than I thought. (Mind you, I took a sleeping berth, which I think is a must if one wishes to actually have an enjoyable trip for such a long trip.)

Cheers, DAN

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Old Apr 28th, 2007, 02:56 PM
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Hi, thanks for that info. I've been getting some prices today and was wondering if you could help me some more. I'm now looking at traveling by myself as my friend may not be able to come along. I'm a 50ish single woman who has traveled extensively, sometimes alone, so it doesn't bother me particularly. But, cost becomes an issue esp. on tours. Some of these train/coach tours are running 5k and up--way out of my budget and I don't particularly like motorcoach tours anyway/ If I took the Canadian to Jasper from Toronto, can I get off and spend some days before catching the ongoing train to Vancouver? Then, are there any local tours operating out of either Banff or Jasper that you know of--renting a car and driving by myself does seem a little overwhelmingl. Any hotels you'd recommend for about $100 US/night--I realize that I can't be fussy at this price. Thanks much. l
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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How did you enjoy your trip? Do you still love trains?
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