Two Coasts. 7,300+ Miles. 9 Days.
1/21-23 Portland --> Chicago 2206 miles
Sleeper room # 5; attendant Bob (normally on the Zephyr run)
My sleeper pod was on the upper level this time and the car was obviously an older one. The inside design was slightly different, for the worse, than the SWC. Bob began to hand out the box dinners soon after we departed. I had beef. For a cold meal, it was pretty good, though no substitute for my beloved twin medallions! On this train they showed multiple movies throughout the trip. I watched a highly edited I, Robot that first night (i didn't like it). For some reason I didn't sleep as well on this leg of the trip. I still slept good but woke up a few times. The heat wasn't as good in my pod, in fact the 2nd night it was quite cold (I attempted to turn the heat knob up but quickly discovered that it just spun around completely -- oops) and I found that the rocking motion and various jerks were more pronounced on the upper level. From Portland to Spokane the train was about 90 min late, as there was very heavy freight congestion. I slept through the Spokane connection, however, so I can't say much about it. The scenery on this trip wasn't as nice as I had hoped. Glacier was pretty much a bust. Nothing spectacular. I did like the two people in front of the Izaak Walton Inn waving to the train as we sped by.
There is so much beauty in the empty, open spaces of America; In Havre, note the amount of engines. This train was especially large because it was actually two trains. The train from Portland linked up with the train from Seattle in Spokane. This was why I had a box dinner the first night -- the dining car was on the Seattle train.
A Curves franchise in Havre. Just seemed kind of odd. An old style engine in Havre.
This far along in my trip I became comfortable and a lot more sociable than I normally am. I met a lot of people on this train, from all walks of life (ranchers, farmers etc), which made up for the scenery. On this train I was given a local paper each morning, which was nice. I spent Sunday morning relaxing in my pod, lying down and reading the multi sectioned paper. I got a little local color from reading the 10 pages of tax and mechanic liens (its amazing some of the repeat offenders!).
Perhaps the finest pictures in the bunch: ME! :) In my sleeper pod, sitting and laying down.
Along the way, at the various smoke stops, the conductor threatened to leave people if they missed the All Aboard signal. I wondered how many times this actually happens. Needless to say, these smoke stops were cold. Very cold.
Minot at night. It was quite cold. I picked up a "things to do in Minot" guide and was surprised with the amount of going on's! That 2nd picture is a stop we made, I felt bad for the line of traffic as we were there for like 10 minutes! I don't know where the last picture was taken. It is a snow carving event. People I sat with at lunch, when we passed this, told me that when they were heading west on the EB they were CREATING snow, as the big snowstorm hadn't hit yet!
As the last few hours on this train began to approach, I developed mix feelings: sad because my trip, and Amtrak vacation, was coming to an end, also happy to be heading home to share my experiences with friends and family. However, as fate would have it, I wouldn't be arriving home as soon as I planned.
Chicago...Chicago...Chicago... New York