Over the river and through the woods

Well not to grandmothers house. But we did take Amtrak Train 28 late on Friday night and arrived in Wisconsin on Sunday to visit for Thanksgiving week! All you long time readers of Kitkatknit know we average an Amtrak trip once every 18 months or so. We like it because if you have the time and don’t have to be at a certain place at a certain time, it’s a fun way to travel.

We spring for at a minimum one of the 2 person roomettes and only travel on the days when we can get them cheap (any given day the price is different). If the price is lower on any other of the other sleeping car rooms we reserve those instead. The roomette has two seats that face each other, that in the evening turn into a lower bunk. The upper bunk drops from above. You have to be a contortionist to launch yourself into the top bunk while the train is traveling 80 mph swaying over bumpy tracks. The top bunk is so close to the ceiling you can not sit up so you do this flying leap and turn 90 degrees to land. Which is actually pretty easy. Getting down? Not so. I really have to plan in advance for that one.

The biggest decision once you get on the train is what to eat during the three meals plus wine and cheese party that comes with the sleeper car accommodations. Usually we knit, read, sightsee and take short walks during the longer fuel up stops. This time our train had no observation/lounge/snack bar as it had broken down in Portland before it even made it to us. So no spreading all our knitting and magazines out all over the tables in the observation car! It’s dark out when we leave our train station. When we wake up on the second day we are in Glacier Park. This time we awoke to a snow storm.

On the Empire Builder Train 28 you’re traveling through Montana most of the day. It changes from the Rockie Mountains to the big sky part of Montana. With views like these all day long.

And as we headed into North Dakota this was the view out the back of the train.

On our way to the dining car, we noticed one of the cars was terribly hot every time we passed through. When we got to our 30 minute stop in Minot SD, Amtrak called the fire department. There was an electrical fire in that car and it had started smoldering and stinking up the car. The passengers and luggage we put into available remaining seats. We were so happy we were back in the sleeper car!! That little mishap put us 2.5 hours behind schedule and we never did make it back up.

Mid day on Sunday we crossed the Mississippi (which we’d followed from Minneapolis) and arrived in Wisconsin. We got off at Tomah.

We spent last night visiting. By mid evening Knitting Hubby and I were exhausted, barely making it through watching the finals of the “Next Iron Chef”. Woke up late this morning. Guess we got worn out doing nothing on the train for a couple of days!

Today we spent quite a long time at our favorite coffee place – The Daily Grind.

And then we stopped by Marshfield’s new Janet’s craft and yarn store.

We ended this afternoon (after a great lunch at the Blue Heron Brew Pub) by power napping.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dave Daniels
    Nov 23, 2009 @ 17:15:03

    What a wonderful journey! Not as exciting as the Alaskan Adventure, but fun. My only overnight on a train was going to Montreal back in the 70’s. Rail travel is SO much fun. )Do they have free WiFi, too?)


  2. Becky
    Nov 23, 2009 @ 17:18:48

    I used to ride the train as a kid from western KS to KC. My aunt and uncle would put me on at one end and Mom would collect me at the other. Different times. Spectacular scenery. Glacier!!


  3. Chris
    Nov 23, 2009 @ 17:19:56

    Dang, it sounds like you came through the Twin Cities at a time when I might actually have been awake! D’oh.


  4. Jeanne
    Nov 23, 2009 @ 19:22:28

    That sounds like a fun way to travel – enjoy your visit!


  5. Kim
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 13:51:16

    In honor of your amtrakin’ I downloaded the white noise app for the iPhone… It has a train ride sound. Can youu tell i’m wishing for a train adventure! Have a blast… I won’t let slip we’ve had some lovely crisp days, and one day that may have blown your house away…maybe you saw it spinning by the train in Montana.


  6. Honey the Great Dane
    Nov 28, 2009 @ 16:38:45

    Wow – what beautiful pictures! And i love the look of the daily grind – just my kind of cosy, atmospheric place!



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