Morning arrival of the eastbound Empire Builder at the Izaak Walton Inn,
With very fond memories of our previous trip to the
Perfect Railfan's Inn, The Izaak Walton Inn,
I felt it was time
for another visit. The challenge would be for it to be as memorable
of a trip as the first time there on June 9, 2008, two years previous.
I must admit that I took my title, "Spring Training" from the Amtrak
ads for their Guest Rewards Triple Point promotion.
My Clergyman and Railfan buddy, Don "Preacher" Roe, (my nickname
for Don is based on a pitcher the Dodgers had in the 50s, "Preacher
Roe," and the fact that Don's favorite team is the Dodgers). I like
to say, "I travel like the US Presidents, I take my clergyman with me."
Don and I used our Amtrak Rewards Miles, each using 15,000 rewards
miles to pay for a roomette each way from Fullerton, California, to Essex,
Montana. As Don points out to our wives, "It costs half as much
if we go without our wives." Don't worry, my wife will find plenty
of quiltmaking to do in our absence.
As I said, it would be hard to beat our first trip to the Izaak
Walton Inn (IWI) in 2008. We arrived in the morning of the first
day and had beautiful weather, so we rented a car at the Inn, and headed
to the East Glacier National Park Lodge, spotting BNSF freights on bridges
and in snow sheds on the way, then back west, past IWI, to West Glacier
National Park's Entrance. The second day, it began raining in the
morning, turning to snow, and we spent the day watching trains pass the
Inn. By late afternoon about 8 inches of snow had fallen, and by the
time we flagged the westbound Amtrak Empire Builder
was even more snow. I checked later and the accumulation for the day
was one foot! I'll put a link at the end of this story so you can read
that 2008 report on the IWI.
What's new at the Izaak Walton Inn
Dorothy Van Geison, General Manager,
of the Izaak Walton Inn,
said they now have completed the cabins that were under construction
in 2008, and added the "luxurious GN 441!"
looking forward to seeing the other parts of the IWI property including
the cabooses, the lodge dining room and the railroad memoribilia downstairs
in the Inn. The Helper Station adjacent to the Inn provides constant
railroad photo ops, as well as the many frieghts and twice-a-day Amtrak
Empire Builder passings. Off property, I want to return to the
East and West Glacier National Park entrances and see more of the beautiful
park interior, as well as checking the many bridges and snow sheds for
photos of freights. What about the weather, it helps when you can
just look on their webcam and see the current weather, which I enjoy doing
(If the camera shows a photo of the Inn with a gondola car and cloudy
weather, it is the same photo when writing this report.)
National Park Reservations Description of the IWI:
The Izaak Walton Inn was built in 1939 by the Great Northern
Railway to accommodate the railroad's crews. Today the Izaak Walton Inn welcomes
tourists that come by car, train or plane! The Izaak Walton Inn is a beautiful
historic chalet. The Izaak Walton Inn is conveniently located just on the
south side of Glacier National Park. This pristine area encompasses a million
acres of wilderness with jagged peaks, wildlife and glaciers. The Izaak Walton
Inn has a rustic elegance that can be felt right as you walk in the lobby.
The lobby is thoughtfully appointed with a massive stone fireplace, log furniture,
and pine ceilings. Rooms are cared for, with quaint decorations such
as Americana quilts, down comforters, Montana pine furniture, antique
school desks, and historic memorabilia of the Izaak Walton Inn and Glacier
National Park. Guests often mingle around the lobby fireplace prior to
dining on brook trout, Montana beef or international specials served nightly
in the Dinning Car.
Izaak Walton Inn, YouTube Video:
Empire Builder arriving from the west at the Izaak Walton
Families and individuals can enjoy the lounge-recreation room and
the Izaak Walton Inns skiing and hiking packages. Glacier National Park
is approximately a 30 minute drive to both the East Entrance or West Entrance.
The Inn is open year round and offers activities to compliment each season.
All room-types and rates are also located here, plus a nice video/ad
for Glacier: http://www.nationalparkreservations.com/glacier_izaak.htm
, (how it looked when we arrived from the west):
View from the Izaak Walton Inn's porch
of a westbound passing
freight. Notice the IWI's caboose accommodations across the track:
Before you click the following two links,
BOOKMARK my page so you can return to it. Amtrak doesn't let you go
away from the Amtrak page easily.
Information on the Amtrak Coast Starlight: Click
Information on the Amtrak Empire Builder: Click
Our Tickets Going:
Pacific Surfliner, from Fullerton, CA, to Los Angeles
(When you book a room on the Coast Starlight, you get Business
Class on the connecting Pacifuc Surfliner on the return.)
Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Portland, OR.
Empire Builder from Portland, OR, to Essex, MT
The yellow line (right) shows our route.
Table of Contents
- New GN 441 Luxury Locomotive Accommodations
- Six new Cabins
- Four Caboose Cottages
- Accommodations in the Inn