Amtrak Empire Builder’s Train Route 2013…

Earlier this month my Mother and I traveled aboard the Amtrak Empire Builder’s Train from Chicago, Illinois to Portland, Oregon.  I realize how fortunate I am to still be able to travel with Mom!  Neither one of us is getting any younger and we try to spend a few weeks traveling together every other year.  We have been on some pretty cool trips over the last 6 years.  We took a river cruise in Russia in 2008,  a trip to Greece in 2011 and now the American Pacific Northwest aboard Amtrak in 2013.  The trip began on a Thursday afternoon in Union Station in Chicago and ended at about 10:30 AM Saturday morning in Union Station in Portland.  The Empire Builder’s Route goes from Illinois through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Washington and ends of course in Oregon.  Along the way the train stops briefly in about 30 cities to pick-up and let-off passengers.  I have traveled a few times in Europe on day trips aboard trains and once overnight but this was the longest I have traveled by train to date.  All in all it was a pretty cool experience!  We were very pleased with the food aboard the train and the service was great!  We both had our own “roomette” which made the trip really nice.  Be warned, the roomettes are really small.  With the two bottom chairs folded down into the sleeping position, there is only about 12 inches of room between the edge of the bed and the cabin door, which makes it challenging to stand up much less change clothes.  The best scenery during the trip was on the last morning, from Spokane to Portland.  The train follows the Columbia River Gorge all the way to Portland and the views are spectacular.  The river was full of hundreds of fishermen in small boats trying to catch their limit of salmon.  Probably the biggest disappointment of the trip was the fact that the train going West goes through Glacier National Park at night and there is nothing to see from the train in the dark!  Another passenger had taken the Empire Builder’s Train from West to East and said that route was better because you go through Glacier during daylight!  Keep that in mind if you decide to travel the route!

Above, the Amtrak Empire Builder’s Train in Minot, North Dakota.

Below, a view of the Columbia River Gorge from the Washington State side of the river.



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I am an adventure-loving American man, with a severe case of wander-lust and a desire to experience as much of this wonderful world as humanly possible. Every place I have visited or lived has taught me something about life and helped me grow. For me, traveling opens my eyes to how similar the human race is, yet at the same time, how unique we all are. I hope this blog will motivate you to put down the TV remote, dust off your backpack and decide to take a chance on an adventure. It can be a walk in a new neighborhood 2 miles from home or a trip to a far off distant land. I have lived in or visited over 50 countries during my life and hope to see many more. I want to share my experiences. I hope you enjoy the blog. -WAND3R3R, Somewhere on the Globe, 2014.