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Chicago to Portland: June 2017


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#1 George K

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 04:09 PM

Sigh...too many pictures....

 

Never mind.


Edited by George K, 27 June 2017 - 04:10 PM.

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#2 Rail Freak

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    U.S. & Native American History

Posted 27 June 2017 - 06:25 PM

AHHHHH, Comon!!!!!!


A Rookie No More! But Still A Lot Of Track To Travel !!!
Silver Meteor #97(6) & #98 (4), Silver Star #91 (2), Capitol Limited #29 & #30(6), Empire Builder #7,#8,#27(2) &#28(4) Coast Starlight #11 (6) & #14(5), California Zephyr #5 (2) & #6 (5), Cascades #506, City of New Orleans #58, #59 (2), South West Chief #3 (4), Lake Shore Limited #49, Maple Leaf #63, San Joaquin #714, Pacific Surfliner #774, Texas Eagle #422 (2), Cardinal #50, Crescent #19, Sunset Limited #1. Approx. 60,169 miles & 41 states!

HAVE FUN


#3 George K

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 06:40 PM

As threatened promised, a travelogue of our trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon.

 
We caught a Lyft on Friday for Union Station. Lyft is nice because you can schedule a ride. So, we had a pickup at noon for a 2:15 departure from Union Station in downtown Chicago. Ride cost $23 plus tip. Not too bad. 
 
We showed our tickets to the agent, and we went to the newly remodeled Metropolitan Lounge at Union Station. It's clean, new and spacious - two floors! In the back, you can see the line of people getting complimentary snacks: veggies, nuts, celery, carrots and dip:
 
IMG_7268.jpg
 
Status board showed that our train, #27, The Empire Builder was to depart on time: 
 
IMG_7272.jpg
 
The name of the train is in honor of the Great Northern Railway founder, James J. Hill. Known as "The Empire Builder," Hill had reorganized several failing railroads into a transcontinental railroad that reached the Pacific Northwest in the late 19th century. Following World War II, Great Northern placed new streamlined and diesel-powered trains in service that cut the scheduled 2,211 miles between Chicago and Seattle from 58.5 hours to 45 hours. Our trip was to last 45 hours, anticipating a 10:10 arrival in Portland, 2255 miles.
 
We got to our car, at the end of the train, and went to our room. Here's the view of half the car. The bedrooms are on the left of the aisle:
 
IMG_7277.jpg
 
Mrs. George was ready, having brought her lemonade to drink, and a couple of comfy pillows:
 
IMG_7284.jpg
 
It's always fun pulling out of Union Station, going North and then West out of Chicago:
 
 
 

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#4 George K

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 06:40 PM

After a 90 minute ride to Milwaukee, we turned West, with the first recognizable landmark, the ever-cheesy (yes, pun intended) Wisconsin Dells:

 
IMG_7287.jpg
 
I didn't take too many pictures of Wisconsin because, well, you know. Nevertheless, it's always fun crossing the Mississippi river near LaCrosse:
 
IMG_7289.jpg

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#5 George K

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 06:41 PM

It started to get cloudy, and we rolled through a couple of nice thunderstorms along the Mississippi:
 
IMG_7297.jpg
 
As sunset approached, we were in Red Wing Minnesoooota, with a spectacular sunset:
 
IMG_7306.jpg
 
We hit the sack as we got to Minneapolis, looking forward to breakfast in North Dakota:
 
IMG_7313.jpg
 
Skies cleared up, for the most part, and we enjoyed the amazing endless plains as we rolled along.
 
IMG_7317.jpg
 
We didn't feel like having lunch in the diner, so I went to the downstairs of the lounge car and delivered a pizza and some beers:
 
IMG_7328.jpg

Edited by George K, 27 June 2017 - 06:41 PM.

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#6 George K

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 06:41 PM

Along the route, there are several "fresh air" stops. These are locations where the stop is longer than required for getting passengers and luggage on and off the train, and of course, letting the smokers get their fix. They refuel the locomotives, put fresh water into the passenger cars, and change crews (engineer and conductors; the "on board services" crew ride from end to end. The OBS is the sleeping and coach attendants as well as the meal service crew). Our first such stop is Minot ND. I got off the train for about 15 minutes at our second long stop, Havre Montana. At Havre, they have a nice display:
 
IMG_7331.jpg
 
IMG_7334.jpg
 
We had a nice dinner as we approached Browning, Montana. I had a steak with baked potato, and Mrs. George enjoyed a baked chicken breast. Beer was included. Sorry no photos, but this is what I had last year. This year, it was served with a Bernaise sauce:
 
1016877_10152824871225351_21470660775407
 
We walked back to our car for the rest of the evening. I should mention that the dining car is quite a ways forward on the train, so we had to walk from our car through two coaches, a lounge car, and two more coaches. Each car is 85 feet long, so you're certainly hungry by the time you get to dinner, and you feel not too guilty because you'll work a bit off on the way back to your sleeper.
 
As always, the approach to Glacier National Park is spectacular:
 
IMG_7346.jpg
 
I got a nice shot of the Flathead River from the south side of the train:
 
IMG_7383.jpg
 
From the north side (where our bedroom was) we saw this:
 

Edited by George K, 27 June 2017 - 06:43 PM.

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#7 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:23 PM

Very nice, George--thanks for the lovely pictures. I now have an idea of what I'll see on my way to the Gathering, and it looks beautiful! :) 

 

How was boarding from the lounge in Chicago? I'm a bit nervous about it, since I'll be on the Portland one (27) also, and am not sure if the agents take you to the track or just announce it or what--how did it work? Thanks. :)



#8 George K

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:50 PM

Boarding from the lounge in Chicago was...okay. It's a bit of a walk, if you're arthritic like Mrs. George. However, if you're in a sleeper, you're at the end of the train, so once you're on the platform, it's right there. 

 

The agents tell you which way to go, and which track you'll be on. If you have questions, there are guides along the way. 

 

Boarding from the old lounge was easier - it was right by the platforms. But, the old lounge was...old, and felt like you're in someone's basement (which, as a matter of fact, you were!).


4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#9 George K

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:52 PM

The final leg: From Portland back to Chicago.
 
We left Portland on Saturday. On the way back from Cannon Beach along US 26, the two lane road was PACKED with people getting out of Portland, heading for the coast. It's a two lane road, and it was bumper-to-bumper for miles. I guess everyone wanted to get out for the warm weekend that was in store:
 
IMG_7676.png
 
Though hotter than Hades, it was dry, with a nice breeze coming off the river.
 
We had a couple of hours to kill, so we went to a local bar/restaurant called "Pints." I had a nice blonde beer and a wonderful reuben sandwich. After we were there for about half an hour, we had an invasion of hipsters:
 
IMG_7675.jpg
 
We left shortly after their arrival and walked back to Union Station, in the Pearl District of Portland:
 
IMG_7671.jpg
 
Union Station is a grand old building, full of tradition: Oak benches and wonderful walls and windows:
 
IMG_7672.jpg
 
We waited in the Metropolitan Lounge for about an hour before boarding:
 
IMG_7678.jpg

Edited by George K, 28 June 2017 - 02:53 PM.

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#10 George K

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:54 PM

Our train pulled up to the platform about 45 minutes before departure, all fueled, and with a recently-cleaned windshield. The rest of it, not so clean. I imagine they'll run it through the wash in Chicago. Notice the "California Zephyr" private railcar in the background. 
 
IMG_7680.jpg
 
As I've said, the ride along the Columbia River is spectacular. One of the highlights is the "Bridge of the Gods."
 
 

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#11 George K

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:55 PM

Eastern Washington State has a great beauty too:

 
 
Because of freight traffic on the BNSF tracks in Washington, we ended up losing about 2 ½ hours of time. This turned out to be a good thing, because we awoke in northern Idaho which is usually in the dark when we pass through. Stunning country.
 
IMG_7697.jpg
 
The next highlight, as we ate breakfast was Glacier National Park. One of the highlights is the Izaak Walton Inn.
 
IMG_7755.jpg
 

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#12 George K

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:56 PM

Glacier: 

 
 
 
 
East Glacier is a huge resort that's a hopping-off place for tourists and hikers.
 
IMG_8048.jpg
 
As we pulled away, we saw some rafters going down the Flathead River (I think).
 
IMG_7731.jpg
 
And finally, we bid goodbye as the Rockies faded off to the West.
 
IMG_0145.jpg
 

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#13 George K

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:56 PM

We pulled into Union Station in Chicago at 5 PM, about an hour and a half late. Not too bad, when you consider that we were 2 ½ hours late when the day started!

 
Next up? New Orleans in October - 5 nights. This time, moar jazz clubs.
 
We're going to go out of the way to see the Dapper Dandies:
 
Here's Tiffany Pollock singing Очи чёрные 
 

4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip


#14 Bob Dylan

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 03:24 PM

Good stuff George, were envious!😎

And even though the CONO has sadly had its Service downgraded, New Orleans is worth the journey from Chicago as you know!😍
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#15 George K

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 04:07 PM

Good stuff George, were envious!

And even though the CONO has sadly had its Service downgraded, New Orleans is worth the journey from Chicago as you know!

As I think I mentioned, my first Amtrak trip was in 2014 with Daughter #4 who was 26 at the time. We roomette'ed it from Chicago to Portland to San Francisco and back to Chicago. Upon our (6 hour late) return, Mrs. George looked at the photos and said, "That looks like fun. We should try it."

"Name the city."

"New Orleans."

 

So, within 6 months we rode CONO (when the food was still good). Loved the city and have been back two more times. This fall's trip is our fourth excursion.

 

I must say, however, that I enjoy the longer rides more. There's something really special about getting on a train in the afternoon, settling in, and knowing that you're going to be on for two nights. You really get a feel for the train, and if you've done the trip more than once, you know what to expect and look for landmarks.

 

It's also kind of fun, now that Mrs. George and I have done 10 long-distance trips, to be seen as "veterans" when we eat in the dining car. So many questions coming at us...


4/1/1955 - NYC "Pacemaker" - NYP to CHI 

9/14 - EB - CHI to PDX , CS - PDX to EMY, CZ - EMY to CHI

3/15 CONO - Round trip 

9/15 CL CHI to WAS, Acela WAS to BOS, LSL BOS to CHI

11/15 CONO - Round trip

5/16 EB - Round trip

12/16 CONO -  Round Trip

5/17 EB - Round trip

10/17 CONO - Round trip





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