I got back from my trip to Denver for my friend Christine’s funeral on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 7th.
Three days later, Tuesday Sept. 10th, Kevin and I got on the train in Springfield bound for Glacier.
so i had two days to pack. It was a crazy couple of days.
As I started packing on Sunday, Les was right there helping me. He’s always so darling on top of a suitcase!
Last spring when i put my winter clothes away, i put some of them in one tub and labelled it “Glacier?” We were already planning the trip then, and i had the foresight to put aside a bunch of clothes that i might want to take. i didn’t take all of them, but it made packing a whole lot easier. too many times i’ve put off packing til the last minute, which has made me rush around like crazy trying to grab things, and sometimes i’ve cried. no tears this time.
Tuesday morning Amy drove us to the train station.
well, she was going to drive us in our car, but all of a sudden we didn’t know where the keys were. i thought i gave them to her, but neither of us had them and there were several minutes of panic as searched frantically.
they were in her purse. whew. kevin ended up driving and we arrived safely in plenty of time.
we waited for the 8:30 a.m. train surrounded by piles of luggage. looking at that picture now it does seem like way too much stuff, but one small suitcase was just filled with snacks for hiking. and we did end up eating most of them, plus the suitcase was an old one that kevin had for many years, and it sort of fell apart during the trip so we just left it there in montana.
the train was on time, we settled down in our seats, and it was nice to sit there on the train to chicago, no more rushing around. Aaah.
we arrived right on time, at 12:20, and our train for Montana left at 2:15. When we got off the train we headed for the first class lounge at Union Station, but it had recently moved to a bigger location in the great hall of the station, and it was quite nice and spacious. Crowds of people were camped out there, but after a while i saw a kid go up some stairs and realized there was a second floor. we went upstairs and it was almost empty, plus it was on street level so there were big windows. Comfy sofas and chairs. nice.
an older gentleman was sitting across from us, and told us about a trip he’d taken to Glacier many years ago. he wore a hat and turquoise jewelry and seemed like he had many stories to tell. at one point a lounge attendant came over and shushed him, which seemed kind of rude, but at least they don’t allow loud talking.
I decided to get myself an egg mcmuffin so i whizzed out to the food court.
I then figured i’d pop outside and walked around a bit; it was quite warm that day. but i thought about how we’d spend the rest of the afternoon plus all the next day on the train and i wanted to get a little bit of walking in.
I tried to find our lounge from the street but i couldn’t figure out where it was so i went back inside. I stopped to take a photo of the Amtrak route map. i added the giant arrow to show you which route we took; looking at it now i realize just how very close we were to the canadian border. someday we’ll go there, but not this trip.
As i returned to the first class lounge i heard the boarding announcement for our train! Uh oh. I made it back to Kevin, who didn’t realize it was our announcement and we rushed out of the lounge and ran into a line of people headed from the lounge to the tracks. we were at the front of the line, and soon boarded the train.
Our tiny roomette was fine, just about the same as others we’d stayed in. the bathroom was down the hall in the car, but there were a total of four bathrooms in our car, so that wasn’t bad.
We settled in and soon realized that there was no WiFi on the train, even though it had clearly stated online that there would be. We had a small data package, so we couldn’t play our online games. kevin started reading a book he’d downloaded, and i’m pretty sure he read a few books during our trip. i’d brought an actual book made of paper, i’d downloaded a few books to read offline, I had a sudoku book, a few catalogs and a journal.
i ask you, when will i ever learn not to take all that stuff? i think i realized it was pointless a few trips back; i have a distinct memory of taking a few New Yorker magazines with me to europe, and the magazines got to travel with us but i never even opened one.
of course i didn’t read or listen to anything on the train to montana. i did play one game on my ipad that i could play offline, but what else did i do? why didn’t i at least write in the journal?
because that’s just the way i am. oh well. no worries.
i did go to the observation car because a guy was going to give a talk about the Mississippi River, which we were following. I listened to his talk for a little bit but it wasn’t super interesting. here’s a photo; on my phone it said we were in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
we had an early dinner. throughout our train journey we always had to sit with two other people at our table, and i told kevin that i think he talked more during our trip than he ever had his whole life.
that first night we sat across from a couple of women who were on some kind of guided tour. they had taken a bus to chicago and were taking the train…somewhere…and were going to get on a River Boat later in the evening. so even though it was a tour they got to mix it up a little. they were friendly and interesting.
we went to bed early, and i always like to sleep on a train, lulled to sleep by the rocking of the car.