Flying Under Radar / Roots on the Rails Flying Under Radar / Roots on the Rails

2014 Trips: Dave Alvin's West of the West Grand Circle

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Join Dave Alvin and friends on an epic rail journey across the American West. From the sprawl of LA to the Indian pueblos of New Mexico; from the grain fields of the Great Plains to the Windy City. From the Mighty Mississippi along the route of Lewis and Clark to Montana and the breathtaking vistas of Glacier Park. From the Northern Rockies to Portland, the City of Roses. Over the Cascades and down into the heart of California, along the coast for over 100 miles where no cars can travel.... yes, this is truly a journey West of the West.

The beautifully-maintained streamlined railroad cars of LA Rail will be our home for the trip. Your host is the legendary DAVE ALVIN, accompanied by longtime sideman RICK SHEA. Freshly-prepared meals in our own dome car with glass-enclosed 360 degree views and lovingly restored sleeping cars from the golden age of streamliners make for an unforgettable travel experience. Ride with us from LA to Chicago or Chicago to Glacier, Portland and LA - or sign up for the whole thing and save $500! Get ready for a non-stop musical adventure.... all aboard!

FRIDAY 11 April

4:00 pm: Trip check in begins at Los Angeles Union Station.
Dinner is on your own before boarding the train.
5:30 pm: Please be back at station to board the train.
6:15 - Train departs
7:15 - MANDATORY ORIENTATION in Silver Splendor: safety chat, meet the train crew and get a brief overview of how stuff works on the train. (Sit upstairs or down).
7:45 pm - Overland Trail, our performance car, opens.
8-9 pm - Terry & Jo Harvey Allen
9:30-11 Dave & Phil Alvin
Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Thus do NOT advance your clocks at CA/AZ border.


Move clocks forward one hour at NM border. All events below on MOUNTAIN TIME.
7:30-9:30(MT) - breakfast service in Silver Splendor.
9:45-10:30 - Overland Trail: Nature Program - Onboard Naturalist Elsabe Kloppers gives us an overview of today’s landscape as well as the critters, rocks, plants and other cool things to look out for enroute.
11:42 am - scheduled arrival Albuquerque (if on time; train is often early)
The afternoon is free to explore on your own. Old town is a half-hour walk (2 miles), or a 12 minute bus ride on the 66/766 which leaves right from the Alvarado Transportation Center where we will be parked. There you’ll find a selection of fun galleries, restaurants ....and the Rattlesnake Museum!
6:15 - Motorcoach arrives at Albuquerque Amtrak Station
6:30 pm - Motorcoach departs, arrive San Ysidro Church approx. 7:00 pm.
7:30 - Showtime
+15 minutes after lights come up, bus departs for train.
12:30 am - Outside train doors locked for night.
Silver Splendor open for late night hangout.

SUNDAY 13 April

All events below on MOUNTAIN TIME.
7:30-9:30 - continental breakfast in Silver Splendor
11:30 - be back on board.
12-1:30 - Lunch in Silver Splendor (12:10 - dp ABQ)
2-3 - Rick Shea in concert
3:30-4:30 - John Doe in Concert
4:50-6 - Open Mic (dp Raton 4:50 pm - climb, go through tunnel at height of Raton Pass).
6:00-8:00 - dinner service in Sliver Splendor
8:30-9:30 - Dave Alvin in Concert
10-11 - Phil Alvin in concert
We move from MT to CT when we cross the CO/KS border. Move clocks one hour ahead.

MONDAY 14 April

All events below on CENTRAL TIME.
7:24-7:43 - ar/dp Kansas City, MO
7:30-9:30 - breakfast service in Silver Splendor
9:45-10:30 - nature program by Elsabe in OT.
10:45-12:00 - John, Dave, Phil, Rick - round robin
12-1:30 - lunch in Silver Splendor
1:45-3:00 - Group photo in OT, followed by Open Mic
3:15 - scheduled arrival in Chicago.
Grab a cab to the Essex Inn (800 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL) Sarah will scamper ahead to expedite hotel check in.
The first shuttle out to the venue will be leaving shortly after check-in. There is an excellent Italian restaurant right next door to Fitzgerald’s, so hopping the early shuttle out to Berwyn is a good idea for folks who want an easy solution to dinner. Seating at Fitzgerald’s has been reserved for our group (auditorium style), so there is no need to rush, but if you want a really great seat, be there when doors open.

4:15 - Motorcoach arrives at Essex Inn
4:30 - Motorcoach departs Essex Inn
5:15 - Drop off at Fitzgerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn, IL
6:00 - Second pick up at Essex Inn
6:45 - Drop off at Fitzgerald’s
7:00 – Doors
8 pm - Showtime
+15 minutes after lights come up, first bus departs for Essex Inn.
+ 1 hour, second and final bus departure for Essex Inn.

TUESDAY 15 April

All events below on CENTRAL TIME.
1 pm: Trip check-in for Westbound travelers in Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge, Union Station, 500 West Jackson St.. The Metropolitan Lounge is located on the lower concourse of the station and can be a bit hard to find. Follow the signs for Amtrak departures, and there will be plenty of uniformed Amtrak/Metra staff around to ask if you get turned around. Here’s a handy little map you may want to print out and bring with you:
1:30 pm, or as soon as they bring the train in to the platform - board train
2:15 - depart Chicago
3:00-3:15 - Orientation in Overland Trail for those joining us in Chicago.
3:30-4:15 - nature program by Elsabe in OT.
4:30-5:45 - Langford, Olney, Alvin & Shea in the round.
6:00-8:00 - dinner service in Sliver Splendor
8:15-9:15 - Jon Langford in Concert
9:30-10:30 - David Olney in Concert
10:30-11:15 - ar/dp St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN


7:30-9:30 - breakfast service in Silver Splendor
10:00-10:45 - nature program by Elsabe in OT.
11:00-12:00 - merchandise session in OT
CT to MT at ND/MT border (between Williston & Wolf Point) - clocks back one hour.
All events below on MOUNTAIN TIME.
12-1:30 - lunch in Silver Splendor
2:00-3:00 - Dave Alvin & Rick Shea in concert
3:30-3:59 - scheduled stop in Havre, MT
3:15-4:30 - Jon Langford & David Olney in the round
4:45-5:45 - Open Mic
6:00-8:00 - dinner service in Sliver Splendor
8:30-9:30 - Kloppers & Holmes
9:30- 10:15 song circle as time allows.
10:26 pm - scheduled arrival Whitefish, MT
12:30 am - Outside train doors locked for night.


7:30-9:30 - continental breakfast service in Silver Splendor
OPEN MIC BRUNCH at STILLWATER LANDING (Optional. Reserve in advance, Ticketed separately, pay Bill Montgomery $15/pp upon arrival at Stillwater)
9:30 am - bus depart train
10:00 - ar. Stillwater Landing
12:00 noon - dp. Stillwater, return to train
12:30 - Motorcoach depart Train
1:30 - bus arrive Glacier Park. We’ll try to get as far into the park as we can, give weather conditions, but will have to play it by ear. We’re working with local folks to get the most up-to-date road and weather conditions and will adjust our plans accordingly.
3:30 - bus depart Glacier Park.
4:30 - bus arrive Train
5-7:30 - Dinner on own in town.
There are many dining options in Whitefish, but if you’d like to have dinner at the venue where tonight’s show is happening, the Craggy Range will be expecting our group between 5pm – 7:30 pm. Sarah will have been taking a headcount throughout the day so they will know roughly how many to expect.

If you’re dining at the Craggy Range (10 Central Ave, Whitefish- across Depot Park from the train, about a two minute walk), you’ll eat in main dining room on your own schedule anytime in the 5 to 7:30 window. No special menu; dinner and drinks are at your own expense. Following dinner you’ll make your way to back room, where stage and chairs will be set up. Show your lanyard and they will check you off the list.
7:30-8:30 at Craggy Range - Round robin: Dave Alvin, Jon Langford, David Olney, Rick Shea. Following the Roots on the Rails Revue, the event morphs into a fundraiser for the local music school and local musicians will be playing. You’re welcome to stay for as much of that part of the show as you’d like, but if the train is running on time, everyone needs to be back at the station by 10 pm to board. If the train is running late, as it often does, Sarah will be keeping in contact with Amtrak to update the arrival time, so we may not need to rush out the door at 10 on the nose. Don’t wander far….

10:00 - Everyone back at station for reboarding.
10:46 - Scheduled departure from Whitefish
11:00-11:45 - Christy McWilson with Dave Alvin in concert

FRIDAY 18 April

MT to PT at ID/WA border. Move clocks back one hour. All events below in Pacific Time.
7:30-9:30 - breakfast service in Silver Splendor
11:40 am - scheduled arrival Portland. The day is free, on your own to explore.
The show this evening is at McMenamin’s White Eagle (836 N Russell St, Portland - about 1.2 mi. from train). Doors are open continually. This is a pub food/pub atmosphere venue with very limited seating. They are holding 25 seats for our group, so if seating is a priority for you, we suggest getting there early. Show your lanyard for entry and they will also have a list of your names at the door.
By public transit, It’s a 13 minute ride on the MAX Yellow line, boarding at Union Station and disembarking at Albina/Mississippi, then a block walk North on Mississippi and a right turn on N. Russell.
9:00 - Dan Weber
9:30-10 - Thad Beckman
10:15-11 - David Olney
11:05-12 - Jon Langford
The last yellow line train departing Albina/Mississippi and returning to Union Station is at 11:22 pm, so after that it is cabs. We’ll do our best to marshall as many as we can as quickly as we can.
Silver Splendor open for late night hangout.
1:00 am doors to train locked.


7:30-9:30 - continental breakfast service in Silver Splendor
The morning is on your own.
1:00 pm - busking in station – bring your guitars and play in the acoustically perfect Great Hall. Last time Thad Beckman made a dollar.
2:00 pm - be back on board.
1:50-2:25 - Coast Starlight station stop in Portland; our cars attached to train.
2:30-3:30 - (between Portland and Salem) – Rick Shea in concert
4:15-5:30 - Overland Trail: Open Mic
6:00-8:00 - Silver Splendor: Dinner Service.
8:30-9:15 - Jerry Miller in concert
9:30-11 pm - Dave Alvin & Eilen Jewell

SUNDAY 20 April

7:30-9:30 – Silver Splendor: breakfast served.
8:10-8:20 am – ar/dp Emeryville. This is where Salisbury Beach will be detached. All those with accommodations in this car must move their luggage at this point. We’ll have crew ready to assist.
8:35-8:50 – ar/dp Oakland.
10:30-11:45 – Overland Trail: Dave Alvin and Rick Shea.
Noon-1:30 pm – Silver Splendor: Lunch Service.
1:45-2:45 pm – Overland Trail: Eilen Jewell
3:00-3:20 San Luis Obispo - Group Photo outside at rear of train.
3:30-5:30 pm - Overland Trail: Open Mic
6:00-8:00 pm – Silver Splendor: Dinner Service.
9:00 pm – Arrive Los Angeles Union Station.
Grab a taxi to the hotel and check in.

MONDAY 21 April

Hotel checkout and return home.

Sign up today, by e-mailing Sarah at, by calling 866-484-3669 (toll free in the US & Canada) or 802-258-1397.


WESTBOUND (CHICAGO-GLACIER-PORTLAND-LA) IN PRIVATE ROOM: $2000 SPECIAL DUE TO CANCELLATION - REGULARLY $3,989.00 per person for private, enclosed room, sleeping car space. Price includes all train activities, meals and beverage service (soft drinks, coffee/tea, water, beer/wine) enroute, facilities and shower in each car, one night shared hotel room in Los Angeles (single supplement for private hotel room $100 additional), concerts in Chicago and Portland. Gratuities and other transfers not included.

We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. Squaremouth is an aggregator where various insurance company policies can be compared. If you purchase through Squaremouth, through clicking the graphic below, we receive a commission check, though the insurance costs you no more than if you purchased it elsewhere. This helps us keep our trips as affordable as possible.

Credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex) and checks accepted. $300 per person non-refundable deposit to hold space within one week of sign up. Payment plans happily accommodated. 2% discount for entire payment or series of postdated checks received within ten days of sign up (offer ends 1/1/14). In order to qualify for any discount, payment plan must be agreed upon within a week of sign-up, with first payment due within 30 days of sign up. Payments outside of deposit are refundable until 60 days prior to departure. Reservations are transferable. Trip is limited to 50 patrons. Liability release signature required.

Sign up today, by e-mailing Roots on the Rails at, by calling 866-484-3669 (toll free in the US & Canada) or 802-258-1397.


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We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. Squaremouth is an aggregator where various insurance company policies can be compared. By purchasing through Squaremouth, through clicking the link below, we receive a commission check. This helps us keep our trips as affordable as possible.