We've been on our three-week train trip for 6 days now. Starting in New London CT because we dropped Simba off at Todd's sister's house for the three weeks, we hopped on the train for New York and then on to Chicago. We decided to splurge on a sleeper car from NY to Chicago, it being a 17-hour trip overnight, and we were hooked! Not only is it nice to stretch out when it's time to sleep, but the little compartments are just a wonderful way to spend the daytime hours as well. The fact that meals in the dining car are included in the price was a nice bonus, too.
We breezed straight through Chicago, changing trains to the Empire Builder there, and spent a couple of days in St Paul, falling in love with it in the process. It's a wonderful small city, walkable, and beautiful. I hope to post some pictures from there later ... I don't have PhotoShop on this laptop so I need to seek out an image editor that will let me resize the images down to Blogger size. In the meantime, above is a picture of the main street of Whitefish, Montana, showing the gorgeous mountains at the end of the very Western-quaint street. We had a lot of fun moseying along the street, and met a really nice lady named Carol in "Montana Tom's" who, as it turned out, designed and made the earrings that I bought there. She was a treasure. She wasn't going to tell us that she designed and made them, but since they were labeled "Made in Montana" and were called "CMK Designs" I asked her if she knew the designer. Ha! How very fun!
The trip from St Paul to Whitefish is some of the most gorgeous scenery in the country. Just about an hour before you get there, maybe a bit more, you cross the continental divide over the lowest pass in the Rockies ... which is still a mile high! The mountains still have snow, although it's a bit patchy now. I can't even begin to do justice to the lyrical beauty that you pass through. Just do it yourselves and see. So much better to drive through it than fly over it!
Next stop: Seattle, where we'll stay with my seester, do some laundry (one backpack for 3 weeks, what WAS I thinking?) and hang out for a few days before moving on to ... not sure where. Either Victoria Island in Canada or Sacramento in the other CA!
P.S. The second half of this YouTube video gives you just the faintest flavor of the glories of traveling across the top of the country in the Empire Builder. This whole train experience has been amazing ... a little moveable community of travellers, with time to sit and have a meal together, as the scenery slides past the window, sometimes mundane, sometimes completely stunning.