Train to Minneapolis – 4

Posted on June 4, 2024

This is the final installment of our trip from two weeks ago. It has less train and more friends, wedding and Minneapolis. I have to say that the city / cities felt very manageable – quite walkable and driveable. Our lyft drivers were super friendly and having Patrick as a guide for a few hours was fantastic. Photos and comments below . . . .

Minnehaha Falls, near where my brother-in-law David lives. Beautiful, cool, green space.

Heading to the wedding!

Brother David and dog Edith (Edie) Solidly good pup – kind, gentle and funny. They take care of each other.

An uncle and a neice, posing. The weather was a nice mid-70s temperature – just right to lure one into contemplating living there. 🙂

We spent some time at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden which was just super.

One more from the sculpture garden.

It was not intended that we’d wear similar clothes, but what can we say? Patrick and I met up and went to Lake Monster Brewing Company for pizza and beer and conversation. We could have spent much more time talking the day away. It was the first time we’d met face-to-face and won’t be the last. Patrick also gave me a tour of his areas of town (he’s from there) and helped me understand some of the local history that I would never have known otherwise. I appreciated meeting him and spending time together – thank you, Patrick.

One final goodbye to Edie before flying home.

On our way home we flew through Seattle with Mt. Rainier hanging out above the clouds to welcome us.

Train to Minneapolis – 3

Posted on May 31, 2024

The final installment of train travel (at least I think so?). We’ll see, as I have many photos to choose from. Below are some photos from the flatlands of Montana and on into Minnesota. I realized that I did not take any photos of my time in North Dakota! We drifted off to sleep about Minot, ND, waking up near Minneapolis/St. Paul. In my haste to find my brother-in-law I did not get a photo of the beautiful old train station in St. Paul, but perhaps one day will do so.

Glacier National Park. Upon waking after the first night on the train, this was one of many views. It was stunning. We enjoyed views of the park as we ate breakfast in the dining car. As a passenger with a sleeper meals are built into the cost of the ticket. They also always sit you with others, four per table and for this breakfast we sat with two lovely retired engineers (not train engineers) who now spend their time traveling the country by train to see sights and visit places.

Not every stop was a “station stop” where we could get off of the train, but it was always fun to see the old depots. This is in Cut Bank, Montana.

The town of Havre is in North Central Montana. To the right of it, there’s a nice historic sign explaining how it came to be a town in this part of the state. There’s also Wikipedia.

Turns out I did not get any photos in North Dakota. This is now in Minnesota from the back of the train.

Near the Minneapolis / St. Paul metro area as we were nearing our destination. The conductor came on the loudspeaker regularly at this point clearly stating that if your destination was St. Paul, you best get off of the train. No stowaways to Chicago as they would check all tickets and charge those who remained on the train and kick them off at the next stop. They seemed serious which told me that this happens!

I used a couple of apps to tell my location while on the train. One was GaiaGPS, which gave me a visual map of where we were. The other one I used to determine the speed of travel was Waze. Both were excellent for this. There is no Wi-Fi on the Amtrak Empire Builder, so it was all based on cell coverage which varied throughout the route.

The next post will be more personal about our time spent in Minneapolis / St. Paul, with some wedding photos and a nice park Patrick took me to.

Train to Minneapolis – 2

Posted on May 30, 2024

This part of our trip found us waking up near Glacier National Park, Montana. We went through the Flathead Tunnel, which is the second longest train tunnel in the lower 48 at 7 miles. We saw beautiful clouds skirting the tops of peaks in Glacier National Park before we moved on the flat Big Sky country of eastern Montana.

I should have posted this earlier, but it is a map that shows Amtrak trains and when they are in daylight and when it is nighttime. It’s a good visual of when you can see things, although being up at night and seeing the lights outside is nice as well. Daylight is red, night time is blue.

This is just before dark as we headed north from the Columbia River to Pasco, Washington and then onto Spokane, Washington. The Empire Builder has two parts to the train, one that leaves in Seattle and has the dining car and the other part of the train that leaves from Portland and has the lounge car. They then connect in the early morning hours in Spokane so that when passengers wake up there is a complete train.

Leaving the Flathead Tunnel.

The view from the back of the train while inside the tunnel. Yes, that is the light at the end of the tunnel. This was an amazing few minutes of travel, looking through the window as we went. 7 miles of a receding dot of light before emerging.

The fog on the trees in the morning as we approach Whitefish, Montana.

Whitefish! Beautiful town that I remember from visiting family in the area when I was a kid.

The dining car menu.

Yes, they have showers in the bathrooms on sleeper cars. The water was warm, the space was limited, but it works! Until the next post . . . !

Train to Minneapolis – 1

Posted on May 29, 2024

This will be a multi-post share of photos taken on the train trip that Nora and I took to Minneapolis to attend our friend Tamara’s son, Sam’s wedding. In addition, we stayed with Dave, my brother-in-law and his lovely pup, Edith (Edie). I kind of fell in love with Minneapolis for a variety of reasons including the fact that the weather was perfect, the people were super friendly and the city seemed so accessible. Plus I got a lovely tour from my friend, Patrick who has lived there is whole life. He has a take on the area that is deep and his kindness is as well. It’s the first time we met to bend elbows, as they say, over a beer and pizza. This is post 1 of a few coming up. Cheers . . .

On the train from Eugene to Portland to get this trip started!

An inside look at our “sleeper,” in which one bed was the couch and the other is diagonal piece above that folds down. Sleep was difficult as it was a bumpy ride however the whole experience was lovely. This is something I think everyone should try to do sometime.

The route from Portland was on the Amtrak Empire Builder which goes along the north side of the Columbia River Gorge. It is a beautiful way to spend the evening.

The gorge.

Windmills in Oregon as the Columbia River is the state border.

One of the many dams along the Columbia.

Moonrise over the river, from the “lounge” car of the Empire Builder. More posts to follow . . . .