Sunday, October 16, 2016

via the train - between here and Chicago

in which our plucky heroine shares a travelogue...

It took a while to get all the photos off my camera and into the computer. My cross-country trip last month was all via Amtrak, and covered over 6400 miles and four time zones. One good thing about train travel is that there is no jet lag. The first leg of the trip was aboard the Empire Builder from the west coast to Chicago; I left from Portland's Union Station on September 7th.

my carry-on gear is stacked on the seat opposite me: daypack, soft suitcase, and my elegant black straw hat with the silk chiffon scarf acting as a hatband. My rolled up memory foam is stashed atop the two provided Amtrak pillows, which are sitting on the "stairs" used to get into the upper bunk in the roomette.
As on my previous cross country excursion two years ago, the plan was to travel in (relative) style, ensconced in a first class roomette, aka "bunk bed with a door". Being able to lie down to sleep at night makes the long journey mostly relaxing rather than grueling.

Eastern Washington sometime on the first evening...

Multiple reflections, somewhere I think in Glacier... the observation car windows above and a fragment of sky down in the river.

Many horses in Montana. While I love seeing the varied landscapes outside the train windows, I often wish there was some way to know more about what I am seeing - given the spacious landscapes with few animals visible for most of my travels, looking at all these horses penned up in one place was not reassuring as to their future destiny, though one friend suggested it may have been part of a mustang roundup.

Montana really is the big sky country!

big sky, tiny cows...

big sky and rolling hills... I love the quality of the light in the prairie heartlands

sunset on the first night, looking west from my seat in my compartment, hence the blurry edge as I focused outside the train

passed through most of North Dakota and Minnesota while I was sleeping, and in the morning caught a few glimpses of Minneapolis/St Paul after breakfast...

As we travel from Minnesota through Wisconsin, the landscape changes yet again. I liked the contrast here between the concrete highway understructure, the stacks of railroad ties, and the wild greenery on the embankment

more industrial scenery the further east we go...

highway megalith

we passed through Milwaukee sometime after lunch (lunch was tasty barbecue pork shanks with mashed potatoes and salad and Greek yoghurt cheesecake for dessert)

A very colorful bridge in downtown Milwaukee

and some matching highway spaghetti, also blue and gold... just looked this up online and it is part of the Marquette Interchange, a new redesigned multi-freeway intersection in downtown Milwaukee

...and this concludes the first leg of the trip photos, taken over the almost two days between home and Chicago.


  1. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing (do you suffer badly on flights?)

  2. Because I developed lymphaedema in both my legs after my cancer surgery, flying is contraindicated, as it can cause additional damage to my legs and make the swelling worse. I have managed to do a good job of controlling the condition by wearing compression socks, and by regular water exercise. Aside from the fact that taking the train first class is substantially more expensive than flying, I love train travel. It is a pleasurable experience to travel in comfortable seats with the ability to walk about the train, and on extended trips like this, first class travel gets me my own private wee compartment, and the ability to lie down flat and sleep whenever I am tired, and through the nighttime. Indeed, I nap a great deal on the train, as the rocking motion puts me right into dreamland... Travel cross country by train is my one great extravagence, I miss my family, and only manage to visit them every other year at best.

  3. Thanks for explaining it for me! Sounds like a great trip.