I have been on hundreds of trains over in Europe, but the only train I had ever ridden here in the States besides the light rail systems is the Heber Creeper in Heber, UT. So when my buddy Dave suggested a quick DEN-SLC Amtrak ride I jumped all over it!
After a very quick flight on Delta I met up with Dave at DEN. We take a bus into the city; a Denver Broncos game just ended and the traffic was a nightmare.
The Next day we jumped on the California Zephyr heading westbound at 08:05. We have coach tickets so once on the train we pick out two seats. Then it was off to the Sightseer Lounge car to enjoy the views as the train heads up the Rockies towards the Moffat Tunnel.
I found that the best side of the train to sit on is the right side on the way up then once into Fraser Canyon the left side is the ideal side to sit on.
The views along this ride are phenomenal! How this train is not jammed packed with people is beyond me.
I treat Dave to lunch in the Dining car and once again was surprised by Amtrak. The food was quite good and the prices were reasonable. The seating is communal seating, which is a great way to meet fellow travelers.
Back in the Sightseer Lounge car we settle in taking in the views and talk travel. We brainstorm some ideas for future trips over to Europe. With no rush in getting to our destination the journey becomes quite enjoyable. Plenty time to write, read, talk, nap, and just watch the countryside go by.
This being December the sun starts to set once we are in Utah. By the time we are heading up towards Price, UT we are in the dark. From time to time out of the darkness emerges the lights from passing cities.
The train makes several stops along the route, some are long enough to jump off the train and stretch one’s legs. Unless one is a smoker, I would recommend going upwind from all the smokers that use these stops to get in a quick smoke. Take the time at the stops to walk the train and snap some pictures of it.
Back in Salt Lake City fifteen hours after leaving Denver I say goodbye to Dave and head home. What a great first ride on Amtrak! I know this will be the first of many travels on Amtrak.
I recommend printing out this AMTRAK Route Guide to refer to along this ride.