Friday, April 5, 2013

We Took AMTRAK To And From Salt Lake City / RootsTech 2013

I know it has been over a week since Bob and I came home from the monster conference RootsTech 2013. Family responsibilities and some catching up on duties around the house kept me from posting sooner.

So, here I am posting some images of our wonderful AMTRAK train trip from Naperville, Illinois to Salt Lake City and back. We decided to do this type of trip because the mountains had to be snow laden and we were expecting some beautiful scenery. 

The trip was a little more expensive than we would have liked, but the trip was so relaxing and enjoyable it was hard to notice the expense. All meals were included in the price and we had our own toilet! The food on the train was very good, not at all "airplane" food. 

A trip bonus was the people we met and talked to at our meals. They were interesting, friendly, and entertainingly informative on various subjects. All in all, we enjoyed the round trip, especially the mountains. I do have to admit, though, once we crossed the Mississippi River back into Illinois, we were anxious to depart the train. That last leg felt the longest.

Making up our beds. Bob gets the top bunk!
Slept through Nebraska...
woke up in Denver!


Our train follows the Colorado River several hundred miles.
In the higher elevations the river was under snow and ice.

Looking back at the Rockies and the River running through it.

Oh, and then there were the tunnels, short and long!
Stare at this image for 10 minutes...
that is how long it took before
we saw the end of the six-mile tunnel at
the Continental Divide.

Our table is waiting.


We are now approaching the Ruby Canyon and
we are still following the Colorado River.

Getting to the end of the Ruby Canyon and
soon we would be entering Utah.

Colorado River flows away from us as
our train turns towards Utah.


The evening of our first full day in SLC: scene outside our hotel window.
You can see some of Temple Square
and the LDS's Conference Center below the Capitol building.

I spent one full day in the Family History Library which wasn't extremely busy on the Wednesday before RootTech 2013. I could have spent my whole four days there and scrap the conference, but I'm planning my annual trip to SLC in October. So, the next three days was spent at the conference with 6700+ people from all over the world. As I said before it was BIG! Next year will be even bigger and supposedly they will be going global with their sessions. Bob didn't attend the conference, but rather walked around the town visiting Sam Weller's bookstore, capitol building, and various restaurants and cafés.

Thousands crammed the giant Hall 1 to
hear the keynote speakers each morning.

A special concert was given at the Tabernacle by
the famous Choir just for RootsTech 2013 attendees.

One evening we attended the 50th birthday party for Thom MacEntee, a Geneablogger, genealogist, webmaster, and a RootsTech 2013 presenter... There is more to his credits than I can list here so go visit <> for a more complete biography, and general poking around the site. 

Geneabloggers were invited to the party several months prior to the conference. There were about 85 bloggers attending. Among the attendees was Dear Myrtle and Dick Eastman. Snacks were wonderful and there was a cash bar. Music and dancing was a must for some of the more limber. I talked with a fellow blogger who is from Vancouver, B.C. She and I (as we found out) have the October Family History trip in common and our respective groups stay at the same small family owned hotel.

Thom MacEntee and me.
What a nice time celebrating this youngster's birthday.

Meeting Dick Eastman another blogger and technology guru was
just one of the highlights of the evening.

On our way home. For miles we could see the snow clouds emptying.

We headed into the snow clouds. It wasn't really too bad. There was
some snow falling, but no blizzard where we traveled.
It looked worse than it was.

It was cold and snowy outside, but nice and warm in our little cabin
as we headed for the mountains and home.

I would recommend AMTRAK to anyone, but train travel isn't for everyone. You really must have the time allotted from your busy life to take the trip. The trip was about 34 hours - one way. From Chicago, we left in the early afternoon; had dinner in Iowa as it was just barely getting dark. Bob and I watched a movie on my computer until it was time to get our bed set up. Sleeping? Well, it isn't home. By morning we were in Denver where we picked up a more powerful engine for the climb into the mountains. A beautiful all-day trip through the Rockies then eating dinner just into Utah. We didn't sleep on the train that second night because we pulled into Salt Lake City station about 40 minutes early or 10:20 p.m. MT.



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  2. Karen, thanks for sharing all the photos, as well as the details about the trip. Yeah...I was wondering about the beds :)

    I imagine if there were wifi connections along the route, those 34 hours could still be put to productive use--IF one could tear their eyes away from all the incredible scenery. What a way to go! And hey, with the blizzard coming in, I bet some people waited on replacements for their canceled flights almost as long as it took you to get back to IL!

    1. I was just about to go to your blog and there you were on mine!

      I loaded my laptop with some movies to watch when we couldn't see anything interesting or it was dark. I had gone a couple times one way so I knew the lag times. I had taken coach before, so I watched a couple movies on my iPhone.

      There were times during those 34 hours, I could work on some genealogy before I walked into the Family History Library with nothing to do. Time had gotten away from me prior to the trip and I wasn't as prepared like I usually am. As it turned out, I got into the library, got set up at the reader I usually use, and then realized I had brought the wrong folder from home! It's the folder I put my "ToDo" and Film lists in. I didn't even transfer the pdfs to the cloud. Oh well, good thing I kinda remembered the main parishes I needed to look through. I was looking for some fill-in and a few more images.