• Kara Monroe

The Amtrak Adventure Origin Story


Union Station, Chicago, IL


As I mentioned in “Meet Your Travelers”, dad had four states in the U.S. left to visit - Montana, North Dakota, Washington and Oregon. Dad does not have a tremendous wanderlust but he’s always open to adventures. After mom died in January 2021, I put on my 21 for 21 list that I wanted to take a trip with him.


We did take a trip together - as an entire family - to the Columbus Zoo and the Wilds. It was an awesome trip and brought all of us together as a family in the summer of 2021 - exactly what we needed after all of the COVID separation and the loss of mom. That said, I didn’t lose my interest in trying to get some more states taken care of on dad’s list and to get away with him.


Over the break between Christmas and New Years I was doing some planning and dreaming about 2022. I decided that I’d look at trips out west. Amtrak came up and I called to get more info. By the end of the call, I was giving them the info for the travel agent I always use - Gayle Hartleroad at Off To Neverland Travel - and booking a roomette and ADA accessible room for dad. This was ample sleeping space for two people and could easily accommodate more people. I THEN called dad and asked him if he wanted to go with me (ya - got that in the wrong order). He, thankfully, said yes.


My sister heard about the trip and asked if she could come along. Since we had so much sleeping space it was a no brainer - of course she could! So now we were taking an adventure just the three of us.


Susie was an exceptional additional thought partner for the trip and booked us on the Amtrak across the park from East Glacier Park at the lodge (where we’re staying as a part of the package from Amtrak) to Whitefish/Kalispell where we’ll fly home from at the end of the trip. This way we still get to go all the way through the park by train and it was 1/20th the cost of a private car service across the park.



East Glacier Lodge as seen from the Amtrak Station. Mountains in the background.
The Glacier Park Lodge from the East Glacier Montana Amtrak station.


So, before I spill any more big details, here's an overview:

  • Thursday June 16, 2022 - We traveled by car to Chicago and then boarded the Amtrak train. We slept overnight on the train.

  • Friday, June 17, 2022 - We had a fresh air stop in North Dakota which allowed us to check it off our lists. We did three meals on board Amtrak before arriving in East Glacier and going to Glacier Park Lodge.

  • Saturday, June 18, 2022 - Relaxing morning at Glacier Park Lodge before taking the Two Medicine Lake Boat Tour. Dinner at the Glacier Park Lodge (also part of our Amtrak Package).

  • Sunday, June 19, 2022 - All day “Going to the Sun Road” tour through Glacier National Park. We had dinner at a restaurant in East Glacier.

  • Monday, June 20, 2022 - Checked out of Glacier Park Lodge late morning, hung around the hotel area all day, boarded Amtrak early evening to travel through the park to Whitefish, MT. Overnight in Kalispell at the Townplace Suites thanks to a hotel shuttle.

  • Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - Checked out of Townplace Suites and flew back to Chicago. Overnight in Chicago at the Springhill Suites North Loop in Chicago.

  • Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - Got the car from its parking place and returned home.

  • I’ll do a final post that covers some thoughts on the Amtrak and Glacier lodge package as many people have asked for details on that.

Come back tomorrow to check out our first travel day post!

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