By A.B. MINTHORN, For The Associated Press
Mon Jun 18, 2:45 PM ET
The Empire Builder snakes through Montana's Rockies, past evergreen forests and mountaintops that glisten with snow even in the warm months. It's a glorious morning in my transcontinental railway journey.
Amtrak's intercity express had departed Portland, Ore., at 4:45 p.m. the previous day bound for Chicago. My destination was Penn Station in New York City, four calendar days and 3,216 miles distant.
Traveling before a holiday, I wanted a no-stress alternative to jammed airports and packed jetliners. I also wanted to travel in comfort, so for $1,792.90 one way, I booked a deluxe bedroom compartment in blue decor, with a lavatory and shower. My meals and dinner wine were included.
I hadn't made a sleeper-car journey since the 1960s, when airliners and interstate highways came to dominate long-distance travel. My friends were intrigued by the idea of a train trip across the Rockies and Great Plains, through lands traversed by Lewis and Clark 200 years ago.
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