How Much Will It Cost to Escape the QC Cold Tomorrow?
January 30 Update, 2:32PM
You probably can get your car to Galesburg, but there's a good chance you'll be waiting for the train to L.A. until at least Friday. Amtrak cancelled most service out of Chicago today, Thursday January 30. Trains can go in most any weather, although extreme cold does wreak havoc with Amtrak's rolling stock. Usually Amtrak tries to run trains to warmer destinations so it can thaw out equipment but that's not the case today.
As of this update the Allegiant Airlines flight to Phoenix I talk about is scheduled for a 5:20PM CT departure. American, Delta and United all have flight delays and cancellations of both departures and arrivals at Quad City International Airport today, Thursday January 30.
Putting aside that it's not practical for most of us to just leave the Quad Cities to escape the cold, I thought I'd see if it's even possible to get out of the area and head to some place warmer tomorrow. If it is, is it affordable?
It turns out, that yes, you can get out of the Quad Cities by air, rail and bus tomorrow. Some modes offer you the "adventure" of travel. Then there's flying, which will get you somewhere warmer in the least amount of time.
If you've got the go bag packed, Allegiant Airlines has a couple of seats on a flight to Phoenix out of Quad City International Airport tomorrow. Round trip, returning Saturday cost $284 dollars when I checked. Better act quick, there's only a couple of seats left.
Sadly, if you want to go gamble in Vegas you'll have to wait to Thursday. But hey, if you're going to Vegas you can just call in sick tomorrow and stay in in bed. Allegiant Airlines can get you to Vegas on Thursday, returning Saturday for $383.
Now comes the modes of transportation for folks who like an adventure. If you can drive yourself to Galesburg, then you can hop Amtrak's Southwest Chief and head to Los Angeles. Twenty four hours later you'll find yourself in New Mexico somewhere between Albuquerque and Gallup and only have fourteen hours left until you reach Los Angeles.
The good thing about the train is you can get up and walk around. You can enjoy meals in the diner. And the views from Amtrak's Sightseer Lounge can be downright beautiful. Did I mention cocktails? They serve them in the lounge. If you're up for forty hours in a recliner you can do the trip in coach $354. Want a private roomette with a bed? $719. These are prices good for a departure tomorrow, and a return trip from LA on Wednesday February 6. I mean if you're going to spend 40 hours on a train... then you'll need a few days to recover in between.
Finally, you could leave the driving to Greyhound and get out of town tomorrow afternoon at 2:40. Your trip to San Francisco will take just under 51 hours with transfers in Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City and Reno. You'll travel through places like North Platte, Nebraska and Elko, Nevada. Of course you'll also experience Park Ciity, Utah and Winter Park, Colorado. All for $523 round trip.
Greyhound's recently updated their fleet and their new buses have more leg room, individual climate controls, leather seats, power outlets at nearly every seat, and free wi-fi The company is also rolling out a free on-board entertainment system with access to TV shows, movies and games.
That said I don't care how nice their coach is. It's still a bus with a tiny restroom and a bunch of strangers trapped together flying down the highway at a high rate of speed. And how much of this trip is going to be going through places where it's cold anyway? I'd be lucky to make it to Reno. And if I did, I'd find the first casino / hotel and hole up there and hope I hit the jackpot so I could fly back home.
Speaking of which, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. Booking a night at one of the area's casinos. You can enjoy a luxurious room, lose some cash gambling, enjoy some entertainment, and delicious food. And once you arrive, you won't have to even go outside.
Quickly checking the three area casinos: Isle of Capri, Rhythm City and Jumer's I found rooms available for as low as $70. It may not be as sexy as leaving the QC, but it might be a fun diversion from the bitter cold outside.