Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

First Amtrak vacation underway.


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 scrollmaster

scrollmaster

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Monroe, Louisiana

Posted 25 May 2018 - 04:10 AM

•Left Longview TX station 21 May on Texas Eagle overnight to Chicago. Had good SCA for our bedroom. Enjoyed first day and night immensely.
•Stayed overnight at The Palmer House, very beautiful and oldest operating hotel in the US but otherwise I considered it a severe waste of my money. Chicago Union Station quite impressive even with the construction. Very large and a bit overwhelming to an old country boy born, raised and still living in the sticks and deer trails of northeast Louisiana but enjoyed wandering around and through it as well as the Metropolitan Lounge.. great place to grab a drink, lite eat and visit. Gotta say the young Red Cap driver from train to Lounge very exciting. Felt more like the rollercoaster ride at the state fair with the fast speed, constant honking of the horn, dodging people and columns. Gave him a few dollars tip.. more for the excitement of the ride than a lift to the Metropolitan.
• 23 May - Empire Builder from Chicago overnight to Havre, MT. Very busy train. Lotsa people but handled well by the staff. I found out what an outstanding SCA can do to enhance your stay on the train. Her name was Suzanne from Seattle and working Amtrak for 5 years. Energetic, conversational, and seemed to be always close at hand. Told me I kept the neatest and tidy bedroom ever. Lots of cudos from the travelers. She should be the study for Amtrak SCA's. Thank you Suzanne!
•24 May - Departed at Havre, MT Station and Tara from Budget Rentals waiting in the lot for me with rental car.. nice service. Drove to great Falls for the night, wonderful meal and live music at the Celtic Cowboy Pub and Restaurant and in bed early before driving to Livingston for week with wife's family and a day at Yellowstone then driving back to Havre to catch Empire builder again to Seattle. Have the exact same car number and bedroom and praying Suzanne the SCA again.
•Gotta say that overall I love the train so far. Surprised the sleeper beds fairly comfortable and the motion of the train seemed like a sleeping pill. Bedrooms fairly small but layed out well for me and I have owned 5th wheels for more than 15 years so my room shower/toilet wasn't a problem to use. Food good.. not great but better than a lot of restaurants I've been to including The Palmer House Hilton.
•And by the way.. Thank You to the many people on this forum that has helped me learn and understand so much about Amtrak and Guest Rewards to make planning and enjoying not only this trip but how to best accumulate and use points for future travel.
  • Everydaymatters, oregon pioneer, chrsjrcj and 5 others like this

#2 Mystic River Dragon

Mystic River Dragon

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,821 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 25 May 2018 - 07:33 AM

Glad the trip has gone well for you so far, and hope the rest does as well. :)

 

I rode with the same young Red Cap (I'm sure it was him--couldn't possibly be two of them like that!) when I went cross-country by train. That ride with him was the scariest part of the whole trip, and then I got him again on the way back! :help:


  • scrollmaster likes this

#3 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,303 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin Texas
  • Interests:Passenger Trains/Travel/Sports/Gov't/ Politics/History/Reading/
    Movies/Music/Space-Ancient Aliens

Posted 25 May 2018 - 09:33 AM

Wonderful trip, thanks for sharing!😊

And I've found the same Thing to be true about some "Classic" Hotels, which tend to have High Prices,shabby and faded Decor, ancient Plumbing and spotty HVAC ( such didn't exist in the olden days).

The current Luxury places such as Four Seasons,Grand Hyatts,W etc. are generally Superior for comparable prices.

When's your next Amtrak adventure?😄

Edited: I see you're still traveling so you've answered this! The trip to Seattle on the Builder has really nice Scenery even if the Sightseer Lounge goes to Portland from Spokane.But you'll have the Diner for Breakfast!😎

Edited by Bob Dylan, 25 May 2018 - 09:57 AM.

  • dogbert617, cpotisch and scrollmaster like this
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..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

#4 scrollmaster

scrollmaster

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Monroe, Louisiana

Posted 25 May 2018 - 09:51 AM

Glad the trip has gone well for you so far, and hope the rest does as well. :)
 
I rode with the same young Red Cap (I'm sure it was him--couldn't possibly be two of them like that!) when I went cross-country by train. That ride with him was the scariest part of the whole trip, and then I got him again on the way back! :help:

We are about a third thru so far. Get back on Empire Builder 31May at Havre MT and continue to Seattle. Cruise to Alaska from there and back for two more days in Seattle then Coast Starlight to LA couple days before Texas Eagle working our way back to Longview Texas mid June.
  • dogbert617 likes this

#5 scrollmaster

scrollmaster

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Monroe, Louisiana

Posted 25 May 2018 - 10:00 AM

Glad the trip has gone well for you so far, and hope the rest does as well. :)
 
I rode with the same young Red Cap (I'm sure it was him--couldn't possibly be two of them like that!) when I went cross-country by train. That ride with him was the scariest part of the whole trip, and then I got him again on the way back! :help:

You not kidding.. bet my heart rate probably 90 by the time we reached Metro Lounge.

#6 railiner

railiner

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,311 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, NY
  • Interests:All public transportation....land, sea, and air

Posted 25 May 2018 - 10:44 AM

Sounds like a great trip, thanks for posting!   Curious as to which ship you're sailing on?  :)


  • scrollmaster likes this
metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#7 cpotisch

cpotisch

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,401 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY
  • Interests:Planes, Trains, Cooking, Politics

Posted 25 May 2018 - 12:30 PM

Sounds great so far! I’ve gotta say I’m a bit jealous. ;)
  • scrollmaster likes this

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#8 scrollmaster

scrollmaster

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Monroe, Louisiana

Posted 25 May 2018 - 01:28 PM

Sounds like a great trip, thanks for posting!   Curious as to which ship you're sailing on?  :)

Ruby Princess
  • Railroad Bill likes this

#9 railiner

railiner

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,311 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, NY
  • Interests:All public transportation....land, sea, and air

Posted 25 May 2018 - 01:49 PM

 

Sounds like a great trip, thanks for posting!   Curious as to which ship you're sailing on?  :)

Ruby Princess

 

Nice!   Leaving tomorrow?  Bon Voyage!!! :)

A little preview for you.... ;) https://www.princess.com/bridgecams/  click on 'Ruby'...


Edited by railiner, 25 May 2018 - 01:51 PM.

metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#10 scrollmaster

scrollmaster

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Monroe, Louisiana

Posted 25 May 2018 - 02:02 PM

No we will spend a week yet here in Montana driving around and visiting relatives of my wife. Then we will head to Seattle and depart on June 2nd I believe.

#11 Dakota 400

Dakota 400

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 617 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 25 May 2018 - 03:11 PM

Many years ago, I stayed at The Palmer House and am glad that I have a memory of that classic hotel.  I'd probably choose a different one now, however, if I needed to stay in Chicago.  Some hotel chains do a better job than others in maintaining their "classic properties".

 

Enjoy your cruise!


  • dogbert617 and scrollmaster like this

#12 dogbert617

dogbert617

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago, IL

Posted 12 July 2018 - 03:07 AM

Sounds like such a darned amazing trip you did there! To which cities/towns and destinations did your Alaska boat cruise go to? Once I do a Southwest Chief trip(due to my fear of its route through western Kansas, southeast Colorado, and northern New Mexico being rerouted after December 2018 over the positive train control issue, sigh), Empire Builder is probably near the top of my list to do a train trip on.

 

And that's cool you rented a car from Havre and went as far south as Yellowstone National Park. I was considering one day taking Amtrak to Alpine, TX(via Sunset Limited), then from there renting a car to get down to Big Bend National Park and back. Maybe also a brief side trip into Marfa, TX too as well, but we'll see if I do try to do a Big Bend trip via Amtrak someday.



#13 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,303 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin Texas
  • Interests:Passenger Trains/Travel/Sports/Gov't/ Politics/History/Reading/
    Movies/Music/Space-Ancient Aliens

Posted 13 July 2018 - 01:06 AM

Dogbert: FYI, Alpine only has Mom and Pop Rental Cars, no National Brands, but they meet the Train, are very friendly and provide used cars in good condition.

It's a fairly long drive over Hilly Roads to Big Bend National Park from Alpine, but Marfa is only 20 miles,away. Note it gets extremely Hot in the Park in the Summer, and Cold in the Winter, so Spring and Fall are the best times to visit!

Other "must sees" in the Big Country are Ft Davis,( makea,a Triangle with Marfa and,Alpine)including the Restored Fort, a National Historic Site,and McDonalds Observatory, the Star Parties held there are Fantastic! Lastly, the Natural Springs Pool and State Park @ Balmorhea. ( go for a day trip tp swim and take a Picnic Lunch)

Edited by Bob Dylan, 13 July 2018 - 01:07 AM.

  • dogbert617 likes this
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..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

#14 scrollmaster

scrollmaster

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Monroe, Louisiana

Posted 20 July 2018 - 07:10 PM

Sounds like such a darned amazing trip you did there! To which cities/towns and destinations did your Alaska boat cruise go to? Once I do a Southwest Chief trip(due to my fear of its route through western Kansas, southeast Colorado, and northern New Mexico being rerouted after December 2018 over the positive train control issue, sigh), Empire Builder is probably near the top of my list to do a train trip on.
 
And that's cool you rented a car from Havre and went as far south as Yellowstone National Park. I was considering one day taking Amtrak to Alpine, TX(via Sunset Limited), then from there renting a car to get down to Big Bend National Park and back. Maybe also a brief side trip into Marfa, TX too as well, but we'll see if I do try to do a Big Bend trip via Amtrak someday.

We were on the Ruby Princess and went to Juneau, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay, Skagway & Victoria BC. My first cruise and I enjoyed very much but one week on ship was enough for me for one trip.
We rent vehicles if going to be 3-4 or more days in an area. Less time we just Uber around until we get back to the train. We did this last weekend when we rode the Texas Eagle to Dallas for couple days. When we go to San Antonio mid October for a week we will get Enterprise to bring us a vehicle to the depot and drive ourselves around.
  • dogbert617 likes this

#15 SarahZ

SarahZ

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,451 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Michigan
  • Interests:Writing, reading, baking, trivia, adventures, historic preservation

Posted 20 July 2018 - 07:23 PM

Many years ago, I stayed at The Palmer House and am glad that I have a memory of that classic hotel.  I'd probably choose a different one now, however, if I needed to stay in Chicago.  Some hotel chains do a better job than others in maintaining their "classic properties".

 

The Palmer House is still excellently maintained and retains its classic beauty. I have stayed there countless times and have never seen anything in disarray or disrepair. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous.

 

I imagine the prices WERE fairly insane that close to Memorial Day, though. Considering some of their rooms are on the small side (it's a historic hotel, after all), I imagine that could make it feel like a waste of money. I've lucked out and ended up in some of their ridiculously huge rooms before, but that's usually in January when no one wants to visit during below-zero weather. :)

 

The OP mentioned they went to the restaurant as well, which is seriously overpriced. It's too bad, really, as there are some wonderful (and affordable) restaurants within walking distance of the Palmer House. I usually point people toward The Berghoff.


  • Dakota 400 likes this
Amtrak Miles: 48,312
 
Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine
 
Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro

#16 JRR

JRR

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 458 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 20 July 2018 - 07:44 PM

Our favorite hotel is the Drake. Haven’t been there in awhile. My parents stayed at the Palmer House. Their bill was $6.50!

Obviously, a long time ago!

#17 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,303 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin Texas
  • Interests:Passenger Trains/Travel/Sports/Gov't/ Politics/History/Reading/
    Movies/Music/Space-Ancient Aliens

Posted 21 July 2018 - 07:55 AM

 
 
You are aware that all of the Trains that call @ Sunset Station arrive in the dark of night (O-Dark-Thirty)and that the Station is Closed during Daylight Hours soon as #22/#422 Leaves right?

You may have to spend the night before you pick up your car, I'd call??


Edited by Railroad Bill, 21 July 2018 - 02:08 PM.

"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..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

#18 scrollmaster

scrollmaster

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Monroe, Louisiana

Posted 21 July 2018 - 08:27 AM

 
(You are aware that all of the Trains that call @ Sunset Station arrive in the dark of night (O-Dark-Thirty)and that the Station is Closed during Daylight Hours soon as #22/#422 Leaves right?)You may have to spend the night before you pick up your car, I'd call?? ]

 

You're right. Just have to get Uber to run us to our hotel. I like Enterprise because they will pick you up with your rental where you are and drop us off at the train station.
In Havre, MT there is no Enterprise but Budget will do the same. Coming from Chicago on Empire Builder they have you call when train stops to refuel just before Havre Station and she was waiting for us at the station when we stepped off the train.. great service.


Edited by Railroad Bill, 21 July 2018 - 02:12 PM.


#19 cpotisch

cpotisch

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,401 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY
  • Interests:Planes, Trains, Cooking, Politics

Posted 21 July 2018 - 10:01 AM

 

 




When we go to San Antonio mid October for a week we will get Enterprise to bring us a vehicle to the depot and drive ourselves around.

You are aware that all of the Trains that call @ Sunset Station arrive in the dark of night (O-Dark-Thirty)and that the Station is Closed during Daylight Hours soon as #22/#422 Leaves right?

You may have to spend the night before you pick up your car, I'd call??

Just so you know, I think you're missing a [/quote]

bracket, so your post and anyone else's post that quotes yours, will not be able to render the quote box. Just so you know.


Edited by cpotisch, 21 July 2018 - 10:43 AM.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#20 scrollmaster

scrollmaster

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Monroe, Louisiana

Posted 21 July 2018 - 10:42 AM

When we go to San Antonio mid October for a week we will get Enterprise to bring us a vehicle to the depot and drive ourselves around.

You are aware that all of the Trains that call @ Sunset Station arrive in the dark of night (O-Dark-Thirty)and that the Station is Closed during Daylight Hours soon as #22/#422 Leaves right?

You may have to spend the night before you pick up your car, I'd call??
Just so you know, I think you're missing a bracket, so your post and anyone else's post that quotes yours, will not be able to render the quote box. Just so you know.
Hey bud.. I don't have a clue what you're talking about missing a bracket so if you don't mind explaining it might help me in the future. If it makes a difference I don't use a computer but do it on my Samsung Galaxy S8 instead.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users