Well, while I wait and set up for the Summer 2017 series trip reports, I would like to fill up the time with a bit of a non-aviation related trip report. I do apologize in advance if this doesn’t fit here, and I will be open to any movement of this thread on the website.
Following what wasn’t the best experiences with friends down in Florida
(always happens, lol) my girlfriend and I decided to head to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving, while the others went off to Colorado. While another trip to Fort Lauderdale was in the works amongst them, my girlfriend and I decided that it was my time to equalize with her: I would head to her home during Spring Break!
A trip up to Canada, British Columbia in particular. Flights were ruled out even before they were an option, although I did look up Delta just for the sake of it: a price tag of $700? Oh no, absolutely not. Good thing there was AMTRAK providing a relatively easier and much cheaper option (albeit quite unreliable at times). I have mentioned the option of taking the train a lot of times in my earlier trip reports here, but due to time constraints, I decided to give that a miss.
This was it then! Two round trip tickets booked on AMTRAK’s Empire Builder Superliner service. A train that runs from Chicago to Seattle/Portland, we would be boarding at Grand Forks at 04:41 in the morning, and reaching Sandpoint (Idaho) at 0221 hours the next day. A nice 21hr22min journey across three time zones in the mid-west. I was looking forwards to this. Not until I realized that the snowstorm from a few days ago led to the east-bound service to get stuck at a massive snowbank in Rugby (North Dakota). This did get cleared up, thanks to BNSF’s locomotives helping out.
Known for its unreliability and delays, we cautiously headed to the Grand Forks AMTRAK station, with the train on time. There were no less than three GE Genesis locomotives hauling this train up to the west coast. Tickets checked in the bitter cold, we were informed that we won't be able to get two seats together initially.
Not ideal, but then we found someone who was willing to move seats, as they'd be alighting at Devil's Lake (ND) anyway. Caught up on some sleep as the Empire Builder made great time and reached its first long halt - 0809 hours, a whole 22 minutes before time! I headed out for some pictures and stuff….I could not get very close to the locomotives itself, as they were being refueled.
The next part of the journey, up until Williston (ND), I enjoyed the scenery - granted, there was not much to be seen anyway seeing as how flat and barren it is, until we got to the oil fields. Empire Builder was still well on time. The drugs kicked in as I took a bit of a nap between Wolf Point (MT) and Havre (MT). Did a bit more of walking around at Havre, because of the long stop.
A very effective nap followed as we slowly started climbing through the Rockies. Supper on the train included a warmed up cheeseburger and Mist Twist. We didn't risk spending extra money in the dining car, however….
A 25 minute delay occurred just outside of Sandpoint, our final destination. Trust an impressive BNSF train or two to get by at immense speeds! Once at Sandpoint, it was cool to see how the conductor was in constant communication with the engineers up front - the train reached SPT, but we hadn't (yet), but that was until the conductor gave the engineers a countdown as to where to stop. Fun stuff!
A half hour drive up to Bonner's Ferry (ID), the small town just south of the border. It was a short night's rest before we headed up to Creston (BC), Canada. This was where my girlfriend spent a lot of her childhood. We headed to Nelson, a nice little down nestled in the hills around the Kootneay Lake. Took a ferry up there which was nice.
Nothing better than a quick home cooked meal, eh?
My first hockey game in Canada - Poutine!
Indian food in Creston - why can't GFK have this?!
Most of the days were spent chilling at Bonner's, but we did head to Spokane one day, on the day when a lot of the landslides and stuff happened which wasn't fun. I quite liked Spokane itself! It was the very sights and sounds in the Pacific Northwest that really made me confirm my belief that anything on the west coast and inner is just absolutely amazing. Loved my time there!
Spokane - a mammoth exhibition!
Town of Bonner's Ferry itself
Canadian National and BNSF trains
A last visit to Creston - the landslides got worse
Quick story on the way back - as I mentioned, the melting snow and a significant amount of rain meant that landslides were disrupting movement everywhere. This meant that the return train to Chicago (or in our case, GFK) was delayed by about 17 hours to get things going. Amazing! A quick phone call to AMTRAK yielding a refund of the return tickets. My girlfriend's Mum was planning on heading to North Dakota anyway (Jamestown, to be particular), so we decided to drive down to ND, a solid 18 hour drive. This impromptu decision wasn't fun, but it gave me an experience of driving in the USA! Once back in GFK, we realized that the train was even more late, reaching GFK with a total delay of 33hr35min. Aaand that's it! A short & quick TR, and expect a return to the flight reports soon! My other trip reports: 2017
Winter Break 2016/17 (9): The Final Hop Home (AA Eagle ERJ-145, ORD-FAR, Jan '17, Y) (video trip report)Winter Break 2016/17 (8): Ultra long haul with Etihad (AUH-ORD, Y, Jan '17) (video trip report)Winter Break 2016/17 (7): Enticing Etihad to Abu Dhabi! (CCU-AUH, Jan '17, Y) (video trip report)2016Winter Break 2016 (6): My last flight on Jet Airways' ATR (GAU-CCU, Y, Dec '16) + Scintillating Sunderbans (video trip report)Winter Break 2016 (6): My last flight on Jet Airways' ATR (GAU-CCU, Y, Dec '16) + Scintillating Sunderbans (video trip report)Winter Break 2016 (5): Konnecting to Kaziranga (S24363 B73H CCU-GAU Y, Dec '16) (video trip report)Winter Break 2016 (4): Take us home, Qatar Airways! (QR540, DOH-CCU, Y, Dec'16) (video trip report)Winter Break 2016 (3): Long haul middle seat - our first flight on Qatar Airways! (QR28 MAN-DOH, Y, Dec'16) (video trip report)Winter Break 2016 (2): Pencil Jet across the Atlantic (AA54 MAN-ORD, Y+, Dec'16) (video trip report)Winter Break 2016 (1): The Frozen Embraer Delay - missed connection! (FAR-ORD, Dec '16) (video trip report)Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16) (video trip report)Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with Allegiant! (Part 1, many pictures) (video trip report)The day I flew the world's most popular plane (GFK-FAR-CKN-GFK, C172)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 14: Delta Connection, a quick hop in the Midwest! (MSP - GFK, Aug '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 13: Super old, Super 80, Mad Dog Across the Midwest! (AA ORD-MSP, Aug'16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 12: Flying the Friendly Skies... (United Munich to Chicago, Aug '16)) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 11: Epic Lufthansa, Epic A340! (Delhi to Munich, Aug '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 10: Konnect, Lite, Delight...(S2 B73H CCU-DEL, Aug '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 9: Take me home, Vistara! (DEL-CCU, Jul '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 8: Vistara's INAUGURAL flight out of Kolkata! (CCU-DEL, Jun '16)) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 7: Efficient IndiGo! (Mumbai to Kolkata, A320, May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16
(DL1608 video trip report
, DL2027 video trip report)De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16)
)Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16)
)Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y)
)2012South Africa 3: 12 days in Scintillating South Africa (Kruger, Kulula and Rand Airport, Apr' 12, LONG!)South Africa 2: Elegant Emirates Economy! (DXB-CPT, B77W, Apr '12)South Africa 1: My first flight on Emirates, my first flight on the 777 (CMB-DXB, Apr '12)2011International transit with Jet Airways (BOM-MAA-CMB, Oct. '11)Konnecting to Bhubaneswar (9W BOM-BBI-BOM, Jul '11)Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)
Last edited by atcsundevil
on Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited title for clarity