A train across America

Union Station, Portland

There's just something about a train ride.  It's the same sort of something about a campfire - something that nurtures a peace of mind, a flowing of thoughts, and an opening of conversation with others.

After 2 weeks of non-stop travel to visit with family and friends, a little bit of solitude was exactly what we needed and we got 43 hours of it aboard a train, watching America fly by, from Portland to Minneapolis. I was even grateful this train didn't have wireless, as it gave me the perfect excuse to relax my mind, casually chat with the wide variety of other passengers, read a book, or watch the world go by.

The flight to Minneapolis would have been cheaper and much faster, but Eric and I opted for the train so we could see a chunk of America we have no other excuse to visit.  We traveled through the eastern part of Washington state, following the Columbia river, then woke the next morning to the sunrise over Glacier National Park in Montana.  I have long wanted to visit Montana and see for myself the infamous big Montana sky and wide open spaces.  The train was the perfect way to get a glimpse of this part of America without the stress of driving, so I sat back and admired the cozy cabins nestled among mountains and the ranches spreading out on seemingly endless land.

Eastern Montana and North Dakota were endless flat prairies, and after the second night in a train seat, we awoke the next morning to our destination: Minneapolis.

Union Station, Portland

The Columbia River and Mount Hood

Columbia River in eastern Washington

Sunset in eastern Washington

A conductor connecting two trains in Spokane, WA

Deer walk in front of a cabin in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Amtrak's viewing car

Nap time on the train

We had only 24 hours in Minneapolis, and we made the most of it.  We came to visit dear friends of ours who used to live in East Africa, and we let them show us around their city we've heard them brag about for years.  I think we were very true to Minneapolis style visiting a record shop, bike riding around the lakes, and eating food fresh from the garden, all with some of the very best people.

Julie at the record store

Bike ride with great friends


Garden goodies


Minneapolis by night