Kicking off my trip across America

"L" platform in the snow
“L” station platform in Chicago

Back in 2017 I found a crazy cheap flight to Barcelona and built a month-long trip to Spain, Italy, and Greece around that lucky find.

The following year my Greek friend invited me to his wedding, so I made a three week trip out of it to Stockholm, the Greek island of Hydra, and Oslo.

This year I wanted to do something a little different. For the longest time I’ve had the notion of taking one of those lengthy Amtrak trips across the country. There’s a certain old fashioned 19th century charm to the idea. (I guess “old fashioned charm” is one thing I have in common with the anti-vaxxer crowd, except I prefer not dying from measles.)

After weighing the options I decided on the California Zephyr route, which connects San Francisco (really Emeryville) to Chicago. Originally I planned to hop on the train in Emeryville and start heading east. But once I’d figured out where I’d like to stop along the way that plan didn’t make sense; each stop only sees one Zephyr train per day per direction, and in the eastbound direction many of the places I wanted to stop had very inconvenient times like 4 AM.

So I reversed my plans and decided to begin “Ameritrip 2019” by flying to Chicago and heading west, which has much more palatable stop times for all the places I’d like to see.

Last night my plane landed at Chicago Midway and I took the “L” to my Airbnb here in the Fulton River District, one stop away from The Loop. I’ll spend almost an entire week here before heading to Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno before returning home.

I’ll have more on visiting Chicago in the near future, for now all I’ll say is the weather had a big surprise in store: snow. Yes, it snowed in mid-April. Not only was I unprepared, I’ve never even seen snow fall from the sky in person, only its aftermath. I had no idea what to do at all so I followed the time honored strategy of looking at others and copying them. Here’s to hoping the rest of this leg of my trip will have more vacation-friendly weather.