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rusty spike

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About rusty spike

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    Railroad history, Travel by train (or just about anything else)
  1. Agree with previous posters. Just completed this trip 3 weeks ago.(#1 from Edmonton to Vancouver in Sleeper Plus). 3 hours late and loved every minute of it. A trip not to be missed!
  2. rusty spike

    Glacier National Park

    We chose the option of not staying "in the park". We detrained from the eastbound EB at Whitefish (which offers checked luggage), where the local Hertz agency had placed a car for us to pick up. They have a satellite office in the station but is not open at that hour. Due to unavailability and higher prices we stayed near West Glacier (Columbia Falls) in a conventional hotel, drove the loop thru G-T-T-S road and around on U.S. 2 thru Essex (Isaac Walton Inn) and Marias Pass. Did not take any commercial tour except boat cruise at Lake MacDonald. If I had stayed at one of the lodges, I would have passed on the rental car and taken the Red Bus tour. As a side trip, we crossed the border to visit the adjoining Waterton Lakes National Park. The view from the Prince-of-Wales hotel is awesome. I recommend it. I cannot say enough about the scenery at Glacier- and IMHO, some of the best in all of North America. And coming from someone who resides the Grand Canyon state, that's saying something.
  3. rusty spike

    Southwest Chief #3(25)

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the young family killed Sunday on the way to church and to the train crew, who through no fault of theirs, were involved. Only God knows why it happened. Maybe further investigate will shed more light on the "why". Meanwhile the remaining child will be devastated with this nightmare for the rest of her life, assuming she recovers.
  4. rusty spike

    Is the signing bonus gone?

    Its been a long time, but I seem to remember Chase briefly increasing their initial bonus points (from 12,000 to 32,000), as time went on, to entice more of us to get their card. I have no idea if BofA would do the same, though, its possible they might actually reduce, or fully eliminate the points altogether, too. Yes, when i signed up (June 2012) it was 32,000 bonus points plus $500 purchase requirement in first 3 months.
  5. Yep, I have 4 words for AGR and BofA..."Thanks, but No Thanks" I might reconsider if they sweeten the pot on sign-up bonuses. (3 years ago Chase/AGR offered 32,000 points after spending $500 in new purchases). Being out here in "flyover country" with zero Amtrak service in the 6th largest U.S. city it is very hard to earn points on Amtrak travel. I must rely on the 1% rebate for other purchases and the shopping portal. So I will look into other travel cards. Plus the devaluation of points will most likely make Amtrak travel a rare experience for me in the future. Like Bob Hope used to say, "Thanks for the memories...."
  6. Seems odd that a financial services product would be rolled out on a Saturday. But I guess there's no specific reason why that couldn't happen. Generally speaking, negative news is always released on Friday or Saturday, since most folks are out enjoying the weekend. And most folks, IMO, view this transition in a negative light. YMMV.
  7. rusty spike

    LCH to WFH on SL, CS, EB

    In July 2014, AGR did permit a 1-zone redemption from MRC>WFH (connecting to the EB at PDX) on the SL/CS/EB. However this was during the craziness on the Hi-Line and the EB scheduled departure from PDX was moved ahead of the CS's same day arrival so the overnight hotel in Portland was on my dime. But after 2 attempts, someone at AGR approved the single redemption. Having said that, 15 months is like light years at Amtrak. The orginal schedule has been reinstated but I don't know if the CS to EB is a "published" route. If so, it should be a 1 zone from ELP and 2-zone from LCH. YMMV and probalbly will!
  8. rusty spike

    Bank of America

    With several years experience in RV financing, I found that most banks considered a FICO score over 720 to be top tier. But the generic FICO score you receive if you go online and pay for it may be different than what I saw, or your credit card, auto loan or mortgage lender sees. Different models of the famous score appear because lender criteria vary. If you want to be a member of the "800 FICO Club" I guess there is reason to stress. Although true, "hard" inquiries will have some impact as will the balance-to-credit line ratio, I would guess that a very high percentage of AGR members are top tier credit, and applying for the new BofA AGR card will have little, if any, impact on that precious credit score. YMMV. As a side note, I received my letter from Chase Bank who want to send me another Freedom card that I don't need. So, playing dumb, I called AGR and ask, "What's going on with you and Chase?" She didn't elaborate, except to say, "Wait a week or too and you will receive the information on our new [and improved, of course] AGR credit card."
  9. rusty spike

    EB and Glacier fire?

    We were fortunate enough to have visited Whitefish (arriving on Amtk from PDX) and Glacier National Park last summer, then renting a car and driving the GTTS road and U.S. 2 back to Whitefish, including a stop at Essex. It is just an exceptionally beautiful area and I am dismayed and extremely saddened by reading this thread and other reports on these fires. Unfortunately Mother Nature has to do what she has to do. My heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with MontanaMike and neighbors in NW Montana and especially to the courageous men and women who are out there on the front lines of these fires. May they return home safely.
  10. I hate it when the sun prevents my ears from hearing the horn. In some, if not most cases, the train horn is not sounded for private crossings. It depends on the terms of the crossing permit. It is possible that this crossing is one of those. Train or no train, he was about to enter the parallel U.S. 50/400, a fairly busy route between Dodge City and Pueblo CO. I would think he would be "looking into the sun" turning onto the highway. He and his son, as well as those on board the train were lucky this time. It could have been a lot worse. As a thought though, if I'm the locomotive engineer and I see a semi-trailer truck approaching, or stopped at a private crossing, I'm sounding my horn anyway.
  11. As a relative newbie to AGR, my longest was last year: from MRC-LAX-PDX-WFH. Nowhere near a loop but a nice "c" shaped 1 zone redemption.
  12. rusty spike

    Offer for Buying Points

    I have no interest in buying any points right now given the fact that AGR 2.0 is forthcoming, but my e-mail said "up to 40% bonus" and linking in with the "Reveal Bonus" would give me a 30% bonus.
  13. rusty spike

    Surprise detour

    Thanks, JoeBas, for the diagram. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The wife took a photo crossing a large body of water and I could not figure out where it was until i realized we were not on what Amtrak shows on the route map. And the large body of water was Lake Houston. Always like to label my photos accurately.
  14. The scenic part of your trip, if SWC is on time will be Glorietta and Raton Passes in Northern New Mexico. It's a good time to be in the Sightseer Lounge car. Raton Pass is the highest point on the former Santa Fe Railroad. The California deserts and Kansas plains are crossed in darkness so you won't miss much there. Albuquerque is a crew-change/refueling stop so you will have ample time to detrain and stretch your legs. Hopefully your KCY connection isn't too tight as the on-time performance of this train has been pretty dismal. If you are connecting in KCY to another Amtrak (Mo River Runner to STL) the morning train is a pretty tight connection. But Kansas City Union Station (now home to a science museum) has been fully restored and a nice place to spend some time. edited for typo
  15. rusty spike

    Surprise detour

    It happened on our eastbound, #2(19) out of HOS a couple weeks ago. We left the station, stopped, waited, then backed up a mile or two. and headed down a different route. When we crossed Lake Houston, I knew we were on the former MoPac route from Houston to Beaumont. It could be standard procedure to run eastbounds on this route. I don't know, and I'm not sure what, if anything, the backup move had to do with it.