Slightly late that I am finally posting this here(as I posted about the Cardinal quicker), but better late than never I guess. Anyway I had been quietly debating in my head as far back as 2018 doing a trip out to Glacier National Park, and this year when I realized that shuttle service was sufficient to do such a trip without renting a car(even between Saint Mary(at the main east gate into Glacier NP) south to East Glacier Park Village by that train station, with a stop at Two Medicine on the way south), that I decided to finally pull the trigger and do such a trip. Never mind that next time, I may just try renting a car on my own to explore Whitefish and Kalispell a little bit, and perhaps cross the border into Alberta to see Waterton Lakes National Park for myself! Never use my passport enough, and should put that into use more often. Although for sure, a part of me does regret that I didn't do some sort of brief excursion into Whitefish, MT. That's okay, since next time I know for sure I will stop in Whitefish, and likely from there also rent a car, maybe explore Whitefish/Kalispell, and then go on to Glacier NP. And I'm sure also try to visit Waterton Lakes NP, in Alberta? Anyway, my trip going west to Glacier National Park on #7/27 on June 29th(and arrived the 30th at West Glacier station), may perhaps have been THE most crowded I had ever seen an Amtrak long distance train in coach. And unfortunately as it was too overpriced to upgrade to a sleeper going west(thankfully, it wasn't as pricey to upgrade to a sleeper roomette going east, so I got a roomette coming back), I rode on #7/27 all 31 scheduled hours going west in coach! One sad aspect I quickly realized going west was that the train was SO DANGED CROWDED, that I was blown away that the staff had decided to reserve all tables(usually designed for groups up to 4 people to sit in) on one end of the sightseer lounge, for all the extra coach passengers boarding the train. I don't know how all the coach employees somehow pulled it off so that every coach passenger going west on the Builder got a seat, but Amtrak should give all those employees on that train run special kudos from the company! I especially liked the coach attendant who was regularly working my car as she was a very nice (Asian?) woman who really was handling that challenge of getting all passengers a seat well, and even crossing into other cars to make sure all boarding coach passengers going west could find a seat somewhere on the EB train! And as I understood the Builder train I rode going west talking to that coach attendant, it was sold out to at least East Glacier Park I believe. Back to how the first day of this trip went and to move on from talking about crowds, I was impressed that when I boarded at Chicago Union Station, that each door of the train was marked with clear paper sheets with boarding assignments(that each coach car on the EB going west was going to handle) for each car. I wish more Amtrak trains departing Union Station, would also do this myself. Since usually they don't write out clear paper sheets to tape to each door with the station stops each train car will handle, and one of the Amtrak employees will bark out 'go to blank car further down the platform' to each boarding passenger in coach with no notes taped next to each train car door on where to board(just like what I remember happened, when in 2018 I rode the Capitol Limited to Pittsburgh and back). Anyway the boarding and departure of the train went fine and on time, though I knew that once we got to Milwaukee and Columbus, WI, that I already was bracing the warning that this coach car attendant and others were telling all of us that 'enjoy not having a seatmate while it lasts, since likely once you hit Milwaukee or Columbus you'll have a seatmate for the rest of your trip'. That said away from the issue of crowds, the trip went VERY well, and I got a lot of great photo opportunities going west. Aside from slightly mistiming one of my photos I attempted to do going through Wisconsin Dells of Broadway Ave(main east to west street there) looking east, but going back eastbound on #8/28 I finally got off that photo opportunity of that town I attemped to do going on #7/27, and barely missed my photo turning off well enough for me. After that the trip went very well, and also I didn't realize outside of Tomah, that there is a brief tunnel the EB passes through! The scenery was great passing through western Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota, transitioning into beautiful vistas of the Mississippi River by the time we hit southeast Minnesota after La Crosse. Right after we passed La Crosse, I went over to the Sightseer Lounge(and somehow I found a seat!) to take in the views of southeast Minnesota, all the way till it got dark just before Red Wing. After we passed Winona(also the first smoke stop of the EB going west, and I briefly walked outside here), it got too dark for pics about 15(?) minutes before Red Wing, MN, which made me slightly sad as I was hoping to see the town of Red Wing just before it got dark. Least I quickly realized looking at the schedule, that this wouldn't be a problem(having daylight to allow for seeing Red Wing properly, and photos) when I rode the EB going back east. And going back on #8/28 later, I got some good shots of Hastings(not a station stop, but it's a nice town the EB passes through), and of course Red Wing. Also if you are wondering about dinner the first day(and night), I made a reluctant decision to skip getting dinner and eat either my own food or cafe car food during both dinner periods going west, since in my opinion dinner prices in the dining car are EXPENSIVE as heck, if you aren't riding a sleeper(where all meals are gratis) for your whole trip. I did do a dining car breakfast and lunch the next day on the EB(day 2) through ND and MT respectively, since dining car breakfast and lunch prices aren't as expensive as dinner. Thankfully coming back east on #8/28 I was somehow able to afford a sleeper upgrade, and get all dining car meals gratis. The smoke stop in Saint Paul went fine(as I LOVED seeing St. Paul's skyline at night), and I have no doubt that likely in 2020, it'll be a top contender for a possible future Amtrak trip I may do. Not just since lol, the employees in both directions talked me out of my desire to very briefly look inside the station building, then head right back to the platform. OTOH when I took the Cardinal and we did the smoke stop in Indianapolis(probably helps that night the train was early there going east, and will note I didn't ride the Card going west as I got a ride going back to Chicago), noone talked me out of my plan to look inside the station house there. Ah well, it's all good and not the end of the world, since train crews on each Amtrak train can be a little different. And myself, my preference(IF at all possible) is to get a brief look inside station houses at stops during smoke stops, IF(!) time and the train crew allows for doing that. I understand VERY, very well(and for sure, more than some of the other posters may think!) that train crews keeping the train running as close to on time is a top goal, so not the end of the world if sometimes that goal doesn't work(getting a brief look inside each station house during smoke stops, and get a photo or 2 of the inside of those station houses IF time allows). After leaving Saint Paul I didn't totally fall asleep, until sometime past Staples or Detroit Lakes. I tried starting to sleep before we hit Saint Cloud, but weirdly I rewoke up briefly for the stops in St. Cloud, Staples and Detroit Lakes, then fell asleep for good right after Detroit Lakes. And totally slept through the stop in Fargo. Next morning I briefly rewoke up around the time of the Grand Forks station stop, now demolished today) and went back to sleep, then woke up for good a little after passing Devils Lake. At least I did see Devils Lake's downtown going eastbound and even got a pic of its charming downtown, albeit at night coming back on the EB just before I slept going east on #8/28 later on. I'll post more day 2 details(starting with when our train went by the Lake Irvine/Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge west of Devils Lake, ND, as barely before that NWR was when I first woke up for day 2 of the EB train ride for good), later. On a side note a few months back(think it was on some random online website where I saw such a photo), I wish Grand Forks' Amtrak station was still downtown in its former downtown station site(and was a Great Northern Railway constructed station), and not moved to the western edge of that city in an Amshack station it now has today(sigh). Am posting some photos for the scenery I saw, going west on day 1. Will be honest that to me, Montana stood out a little more vs. Minnesota, though for sure I did LOVE the scenery along the Mississippi River in MN. North Dakota had a few good moments too(oil equipment aside, but at least I didn't notice that once I crossed into Montana), on day 2. Photo 1(#5036) is Wauwatosa, WI, photo 2(#5040) is a marshland a little east of Columbus, WI(can't remember exactly where), photo 3(#5043) is Columbus, WI's Amtrak station, photo 4(#5045) is scenery in Columbus, WI barely west of the Amtrak station including a local church, pic 5(#5047) is a local cemetery in Columbus and a farm next door to it, pic 6(#5055) is looking north on the Wisconsin River right after we departed the Wisconsin Dells station going over a bridge, pic 7(#5061) is a rocky cliff and a town(per relooking at street view on 11/6/19, I'm 99.9% positive it's Camp Douglas, WI) between Wisconsin Dells and Tomah, pic 8(#5063) is the Tomah Amtrak station house, pic 9(#5066) is the rural scenery somewhere between Tomah and La Crosse, and pic 10(#5070) is La Crosse's Amtrak station. I'll post Minnesota pics on the next post, since IIRC this site only allows 10 pics a post.