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Home » Adventures » Glacier » Day 0

Thursday, August 18 — It Begins

After a full day of work, I abandoned my coworkers who were rushing to achieve a quickly approaching deadline on our project. I had enough foresight to have scheduled my vacation for this week (before I knew about the deadline, honest), and my boss honored that despite the time crunch. I purchased some last minute supplies at Wal-Mart and headed north towards Minneapolis. The drive was incredibly uneventful, and I arrived at Amtrak’s Minneapolis-St. Paul train station (exactly where I remembered it from my internship) around 10:00 p.m. With the train listed to depart at 11:15, I double-checked my pack for everything needed to increase my odds of survival, left anything remaining locked in my Chevy, and headed inside the train station. The depot stood in a decent section of town, but glancing back at my car I hoped it would sit peacefully in the unsecured lot during my absence.

Amtrak Ticket

Although I was punctual, the train of course, was not. Judging from people’s attitudes and my experiences over the next week, delays seem to go hand in hand with Amtrak. The Empire Builder, as my train was so eloquently called, left Chicago late so it was running a couple hours behind schedule. Not too much for me to do though, so I sat in the provided interlocked plastic seating watching the news and chatting with other people stuck in the same boat…err train station.

A little before midnight the train finally rumbled up to the platform. The conductor did not loudly call “All Aboard,” but people instead filed civilly onto the train as the attendant announced their destination. At the appointed time I managed to board the train with little hassle, despite being a rookie and slightly clueless long haul passenger train rider. I purchased only a coach ticket, which limited my accommodations to a seat in a passenger car. Although I would be spending the night on the train, coach more than suited my needs. The cushy seats were large and most everyone stretched across an adjoining pair since the train was not packed. I settled into the first open spot and made myself comfortable. It had been a long day already and the train was dark, both inside and out, leaving me to fall asleep shortly after the train pulled away from the station.