The railroad goes ever on

Waking early again – dang clock-lag – we scurried through the shower, an interesting process in its own right, and one that a civil engineer would be proud to accomplish we made our way to the dining car. What’s the hurry? It’s only breakfast. Yes, but Mr. B (our attendant) had been helpful yet again and given us a heads up, eat quick and get to the lounge! We didn’t ask, he just smiled. Whilst we didn’t ‘inhale’ our breakfast of scrambled eggs for J and omelet for K, we did manage to enter and exit in record time – we even managed to chat with a lovely couple, Jeff and ??, from Portland who seemed to know what Mr. B was hinting at – and darted off for a table in the observation car. We owe our attendant! Because of his and Jeff’s heads-up we were able to grab seats on the left side of the car as we entered East Glacier Park. The train skirts around the edge of the Glacier National Park and from the train we could see many of the rivers, mountains, old homesteads and occasional animals – nothing wild, just ponies and farmed Bison. To say Rockies are breath taking would do them a huge disservice. Majestic, awe-inspiring, absolutely outstanding. There are simply no words suitable to describe this landscape, to do justice the beauty and magnitude of them. We sat in the observation car for the next two hours, mostly with our jaws hanging open, as a couple of Trails and Rails volunteers talked about some of the route’s history, the geology and natural history. K even hopefully managing to to grab a small segment of footage near Missoula MT (the importance being from A River Runs Through It, her absolute favourite movie). Absolutely amazing.

 

We know one thing for sure. We will be back. No question!

 

There’s only one problem with waking up before 5am. By mid-morning, and with jet-lag, it’s nap time! We struggled to keep our eyes open after exiting Glacier National Park territory at East Glacier, but as the countryside gave way to more farmland and pastures we began to drift in and out. Taking our leave of Jeff we returned to our sleeper roomette and dozed, played scrabble and tried to download some pictures from the GoPro to K’s iPad. The gentle sway of the train lulling us off for a mid-morning nap, and more ‘bumpy’ tracks waking us in time for lunch. We’ve unfortunately not managed to take many pictures of our meals, as we’d intended, but as we usually share a dining table with other passengers, well, it becomes a bit of a problem. Lunch was either ‘Mac and cheese’ for J, or a ‘ham, pepper and provalone’ flatbread sandwich for K, both with a regular salad included, a nice surprise there! So far we’re definitely impressed with the food on the train and can’t really fault any of it. The afternoon saw the jet-lag catch up with us again and given our general relaxed state we gave in. Waking as we neared Williston ND it was time to say goodbye to some of our less favoured fellow passengers, in particular the guy opposite us. Since he boarded the train at Spokane he didn’t utter a single word of gratitude or pleasantry to either Mr. B. or any other passenger. Oh, and he also didn’t shower.

 

Eventually our allotted dinner time came around and we made the five car trek down to the dining car. The evening’s selection included steak, tilipia (a fish we’ve never heard of), and sundry other offerings. Both our choices proved to be quite tasty, and the takeaway Haagen-Daas ice cream was a luxury we enjoyed in the observation lounge as we watched more North Dakota landscape whiz by. The area in general reminded us of the Victorian region along the Murray River and Riverina districts, though we were informed that the weather is pretty much polar opposite! We were back in our roomette by 8.30 and waiting for Mr. B. to ‘turn down’ our beds, both of us incredibly tired from doing nothing but sleep and eat!

 

Tomorrow we continue our trek east, making our way to Chicago and a non-moving bed and equally stationary toilet. Something of a novelty after the last three days we can assure you!

 

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