Well after months and months of planning I've finally started to book things, and I have a few things I'd appreciate help in clarifying (after finding Amtrak's international customer service not so helpful):
I have used a rail pass for most of my travel but it runs out before my trip ends. As a result I will need to purchase a Eugene, OR-Portland, OR ticket and a Portland- Seattle, WA ticket. How near the time could I leave these purchases? It would be particularly useful to have some flexibility to buy a ticket for the second trip while actually in Portland in case I wanted to change plans.
Would people recommend the Cascades or Coast Starlight for these last two journeys? Might that make a difference to my above question about booking in advance?!
For one leg (NYC-NOLA) I am overnighting in coach: can you check luggage or does it all go with you (I am likely to have a BIG bag or suitcase plus overnight bag as am travelling for a month in all)?
FINALLY I have a 5 hour layover in Chicago between trains (schedule willing of course). If that actually comes off, is there anywhere in Union Station to leave my big bag (or can it be checked-in, airline style?) so I can do a little bit of sightseeing?
Thanks in advance for any help with these questions!