I took the Coast Starlight train from Los Angeles in a sleeper to Seattle. It passes through Santa Barbara, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Portland, Oregon and is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular of all train routes.
The long stretches of Pacific Ocean coast are stunning. The journey passes by the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta and through major forests in Washington State.
Throughout the trip, the weather caused long delays. I overnighted in Seattle and toured the town before boarding the Empire Builder heading to Chicago, Illinois.
The journey through Washington and Montana across the Rocky Mountains was spectacular. Snow laden forests lined the track. Through frozen North Dakota, Minnesota and into Illinois, arriving exactly 24 hours after the planned arrival time.
With only minutes to spare after a mad dash by taxi, I caught the plane out of Chicago back to Orange County.