I'm gonna ride the Empire Builder

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Ralph, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Hi all,

    I've been counting down the days to this trip! My wife has a conference in Portland Oregon starting next Saturday. I'm going along so we can be tourists together when she isn't working. She's flying but I'm getting there by train!
    She jokingly says that her gift to me is to not join me on the Empire Builder where she'd complain about the length of the trip and other inconveniences that I would perceive to be pleasures. :)

    My trip will begin late Thursday night (departure is scheduled for 11:15 PM) and I am scheduled to arrive in Portland at 10:10 AM on Saturday. I have one of the roomettes on a Superliner car so I'll have a bed and a little privacy but I'm also looking forward to meeting new people in the dining car and the observation car.

    I'll be taking pictures along the way and plan to journal about the trip. I'm looking forward to posting about it later!

    Here's a pic of the classic Union Station in Portland...definitely several steps above the modern utilitarian station in St. Paul!


  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I took a leg of the california zephyr a few years back, and it was a very memorable experience. The observation car is definitely the place to hang out. In fact, I hardly went back to my seat at all! And yeah, you will definitely meet a few interesting people on the train. :)

  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    WoW....1-1/2 days on the train...!!! That'll be an experience...Looking forward to your pics and comments..!!

    Good luck..!!!
  4. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    We took Amtrak from Toledo, OH to Flagstaff, AZ several years ago. We got held up 4 hours someplace in Kansas due to snow on the way there. We went coach there and had a private room on the way back. A trip I won't forget.
  5. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Ralph, THATS GREAT!:thumb::mrgreen:

    My folks took the Southwest Chief from Chicago to LA, dad LOVED IT:mrgreen: .

    i cant wait to see your follow up post on the trip:winki: .
  6. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    Ralph, need a ride to the station? sign1

    Sounds like fun, cant wait to hear about it when you get back.

    But I do hope to meet you at a train show or something one of these days. And MAYBE, someday we can visit each others layouts.
  7. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Thanks Kevin. :) If we both make an effort to remember the State Fair grounds show we should bump into each other. :)

    I found an all-Amtrak discussion forum that has some interesting discussions about riding the trains and reports of all kinds of experiences onboard. It was fun to read, especially the thread in the "First time riders" forum in which people recommend bringing along all kinds of items like duct tape to make the journey more comfortable!

    I'm hoping to make up for a disappointing experience riding the Builder Eastbound from St. Paul to the Wisconsin Dells a few years ago. It wasn't Amtrak's fault but a Metro commuter train in Chicago had a bad accident and blocked access to Chicago's Union Station from the direction the Empire Builder would be approaching. To accommodate this my train was re-routed through Wisconsin so all the usual station stops would be missed. Those of us not going all the way to Chicago had to get off at LaCrosse WI and board a bus. Bleah.

    Wish me better luck that that this time!
  8. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    I'm back from Portland. The trip on the Empire Builder was terrific! I enjoyed every bit of it even though it started late. Instead of posting a long thread about the trip I've started a blog I'll gradually add text and photos to.

    Here's the link: http://ralphtakesthetrain.blogspot.com/

    And here is a photo of my home away from home: [​IMG]

  9. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Ralph...I read through your first post in your blog....Sounds like ir was a great experience..!! Look forward to more "Tales of Train Travel" AND pictures....:thumb:
  10. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Ralph, i read what you have in your blog so far, real nice read:thumb: , cant wait to read about the rest of your trip & see some pics:winki: .
  11. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Where can I get a home like that?
  12. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    ROFL Ed... The Railfan's idea of a mobile home... Now, all we need is land (and rails) for a mobile home park!!

    looks like there's enough room for a nice sized layout too!! :D :D :D :D
  13. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Just got the chance to read the blog... Nice!!!! Can't wait to see more!
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Cool, Ralph! I've been away for a week at a camp and then a week at the NMRA convention in Anaheim. Since I was up early everyday to head out to the convention and back between 9:00pm and 10:00pm every night, I didn't get on the computer very much. I just saw this thread this morning and read the blog. My wife's "dream" vacation is to go to the Hawaiian Islands, which I think we will do next year. My dream vacation is to take the Coast starlight North from Los Angeles, get off in Portland, and take a day or two to sight see. Then get on the Southern section of the Empire Builder as far as Glacier, and do a 3 or 5 day tour of Glacier National Park, then get on the Northern section of the Empire Builder to Seattle, take a couple of days sight seeing and then come back South on the Coast Starlight. My wife's arthritis causes her problems on long airplane flights, and my height of 6 feet makes air travel uncomfortable for me. I'm still debating on whether to take a flight to the Hawaiian Islands or a cruise ship. I'm hoping that the train will allow my wife to get up enough to keep the pain more bearable. We are going to try an "Albuquerque turn" first to see how train travel is for her. That is go from L.A. to Albuquerque, rent a car to go sight seeing in Albuquerque and up to Santa Fe for 3 days or so and then return to L.A. on the train.

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