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Irish Angel 02-18-2007 08:39 PM

Riding Amtrak to
Hi gang...
Maggy and I are riding the train to Oregon. She is terrified and refuses to fly. I haven't seen my brother in 22 years and I am thrilled. I can't wait to sight see.

We are riding coach to Portland from Pittsburgh. No problem from what I see because we will be able to move around from what I can tell.

Do any of you have any ideas how to go more smoothly with the baby. He'll be almost 6 mos. I assume a carseat? I read on the Amtrak sight that they can not help with food, so how would Maggy go about heating the baby's water?

We will have a 6 hour layover in Chicago...YUCK. I am looking for oodles of ideas and must haves. I mean the camera is a gotta have :P This will be a 55 hour ride ladies so I need all the suggestions you can muster please.

Also, must sees in and around Portland?
The coast, Oregon caves, Columbia river gorge, Oregon trail interpretation ctr., Crater Lake....any thing else?
How close a drive is LA and/ or California? Never been there.

Looking forward to all of your responses!


DeBora4BobbyL 02-18-2007 10:08 PM

Can you purchase a battery operated warmer? I have never traveled on Amtrak, but Trainlady loves them dearly. I will let her know about this thread. She'll be all excited for you.

Pippe 02-18-2007 10:31 PM

Trainlady is our resident expert & probably can answer any questions you have. I have travelled both east & west coasts the whole distance & the staff on the coaches have always been kind and helpful.

I would definitely take things that add to comfort & ease - hand or baby wipes, hand santizer, layers of clothes (I found I was always cold), small pillow, snacks like granola bars, string cheese, fruit (gets expensive buying).

If the baby sleeps when riding in the car - the rhythm of the train will probably do it too. There is definitely alot more space on the train than a plane and you can get up as needed. Make sure that you let them know you are travelling with an infant and they may seat you in one of the back seats that have a little extra room. Also I would probably pick up some of the lavendar scented baby lotion so you can sooth the baby with a little massage. Hopefully it won't be teething time.

Irish Angel 02-19-2007 01:42 AM

Aww thanx guys... and duh I didn't even think about asking Train :wallbang:

So is the food in the "cafe" and "lounge" expensive. I saw the sample menus and they were so-so.

Here is a silly it hard to walk through the cars? Should we take a car seat? :head: How about sleeping with the baby?
Our family drives to Mexico 60 hours, so this should be a cake walk.
Sounds much more comfy than the bus, car and plane! Plus to see everything and walk around.
Are the showers:bath: only for those who have sleeper cars? Did you go reserver coach east to west?
My brother is paying for our trip. Its a gift. He's 11 years older than me and I haven't seen him in 22 years! I am SO excited.
:woohoo: Don't wanna carry on too much stuff coz of changing trains in Chicago. We are gonna be there 5 hours :rolle: Thanks for commenting so quickly


DeBora4BobbyL 02-19-2007 06:25 AM

Just so you know that I emailed Train last night to tell her about this thread. He is definately the expert.

Irish Angel 02-19-2007 09:47 AM

Thanks.. I also messaged her !

DeBora4BobbyL 02-19-2007 10:02 AM

I am sure that she is getting ready for that surgery and will get here in time.

trainlady 02-19-2007 10:39 AM

Hi Cathy,
I am So excited that you are getting to see your brother after so long and that you get to go by train!
The Capitol Limited train out of Pittsburgh (train 29/30) will be just an overnight so I think you will be glad for the 6 hours in Chicago to walk around and take a break. Don't think of it as a YUCK! You will enjoy the break!!
Union Station, Chicago is magnificent! The waiting room is upstairs. Be sure to go downstairs, that's where all the food vendors are. There will be redcaps when you get off the train in Chicago to help you carry your stuff. If you feel like being adventerous, you can walk around the Miracle Mile while in Chicago and store all your stuff in a big locker. I'd take a small foldup stroller with you. You will also be right next to the Sears Tower and can take the elevator to the top floor for a wonderful view of the city.

Are you taking the Empire Builder out of Chciago? (Train # 7/8)
If so, that one leaves at 2:15 in the afternoon so you will have some scenery to enjoy that early afternoon going through the Wisconsin Dells area. There is no smoking on Amtrak but you will have a short stretching/smoking break that late evening in St. Paul, Minnesota. You will sleep through most of the state of Minnesota waking up in the morning in North Dakota. There will be a short (VERY short) smoking break that morning in Minot, North Dakota.
Most of that second day you will be travelling thru sky for as far as the eye can see. Quite honestly, it's not the most scenic route HOWEVER, Oregon is Awesome! You will enjoy getting a glance of Glacier Park that late aftenoon if the skies are, indeed clear! Ther is a lodge that the train rolls right past near the park and the owners always have the guests come out onto the porch and wave at the passing train.

Ok, gotta go get my sheets on the bed, be back soon.........

hugs, train:lovestruc

trainlady 02-19-2007 11:03 AM

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The Empire Builder arrives in Portland Oregon the next day at 10:25 AM.

The city of Portland is Beautiful! With your love of nature, I know you will love Oregon. My fav place there is the Columbia Gorge area, beautiful!
I've not been, but there is a bookstore in Portland called Powells that is , like a block long and really cool!
I am sure your brother will know lots of places to show you!
DO try to get up to Washington state while you are there. It's only a few hours drive to Seattle from Portland! I grew up in Washington! Mt. Raineer is a place you will never forget! There is also the Olympic Penninsula, absolutely breathtaking with it's rain forests! And don't forget Pike Place Market in Seattle! You will be too close to Washington to miss not seeing this beautiful state! I have lived in eight states and Washington is my favorite!

I would HIGHLY recommend taking a DIFFERENT route coming and going. This way you see different kinds of scenery each way. The Empire Builder goes thru a more barren, though pretty in it's own way, type of land but you could see some spectacular views on the way home if you go this way:

Board train # 11/14, the Coast Starlight out of Portland. This train leaves out of Seattle at 10 AM or Portland at 2 PM.. NOTE............boarding a train out of it's ORIGINAL destination will give you a better seat. If you board in Portland the train will already be semi/near full and you will not necasarally get seats together. (As you will be boarding in Pittsburgh, mid route, this will be the case. Typically, the conductors will leave two seats together for couples/family travelling together but not always.... AND you will be boarding late at night when most people will be sleeping. You can always go stretch out in the lounge car) It will be differnt on your train you board out of Chicage............. So just grin and bear it your overnight to Chicago..........
Families with children are allowed to board first. Try to get the very firt seat on the coach. You will NOT have a fold down table but you will have extra floor space for the baby to sleep in the his carrier. One disadvantage of this seat is you are right next to the door and it can get loud opening and reopening, but you will have extra space.

Anyway......The Coast Starlight is my FAVORITE train and you will see some gorgeous scenery Salem , Albany......... Chemult, Oregon.
Get off the train the next morning in Emeryville, California and you will only have a short wait to board train # 5/6, the Califronia Zephyr, my SECOND favorite Amtkak!!

More on the next one...........

hugs, train:lovestruc

I would HIGHLY recommend taking a different route home because you will get to see some magnificent scenery! Believe me!

trainlady 02-19-2007 11:15 AM

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The California Zephyr will take you thru the gorgeous Rocky Mountains of Colorado! Simply beautiful!

You will start out going thru California's Donner Pass, sleep that night thru Nevada and wake up in Utah.
That early morning the train arrives in Colorado. Take your camera and head early for the lounge car because it fills up quick! The lounge car has seats facing huge bubble windows and though you can still see out of your coach window, you will get a more spectacular, circular view in the lounge car.
That day you will go thru the Gore, Byer and Glenwood Canyons, the Moffat Tunnel and the Rocky Mountains! Believe me, it is a view you will never forget!!
You will get a short smoking/stretching break that early evening in Denver.
The train goes thru Nebraska overnight and you wake up in the midwest state of Iowa.
The California Zephyr arrives in Chicago that afternoon at 3:20.

The Capitol Limited will leave Chicago at 5:35 PM taking you home to Pittsburgh with a 4 AM arrival time the following morning.

More on the next one............

hugs, train:lovestruc

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