Category Archives: Blogging While Traveling

Blogging on Amtrak – Photography, Engine of Perspective

When taking photographs it is important for the photographer to establish dimensional perspective of the subject.

Take a look at this model steam engine.

Steam Locomotive

Steam Locomotive


Oh, really?


The humans in the foreground of the photograph accentuates the enormity of the steam locomotive that sits on display at the train station in Havre, Montana.

Steam Locomotive 2584

Steam Locomotive 2584

Locomotive number 2584 was acquired in 1930 by the Great Northern Railroad from the Baldwin Locomotive Works for service on the Empire Builder Line running between Chicago and Seattle.


The president of Baldwin, Samuel Vauclain, claimed this was the most powerful steam locomotive built at the time. It was operated for passenger service up to 1947 then pulled freight until retired in 1955.

See more details.
http://www.gngoat.org/havre2584c.jpg
http://www.steamlocomotive.com/northern


Blogging on Amtrak – Montana

Traveling east on Amtrak from Spokane to Kalamazoo we are rolling through the mountain country of western Montana. I took this picture just west of the small community of East Glacier at about 5,700 feet altitude.

Near East Glacier, Montana

Mountain near East Glacier, Montana

The train has three sleeper cars, five coach cars, cafe car, dining car, baggage car and diesel-electric engine with 8,000 horsepower. The big gripe from most of the passengers is a lack of AC outlets.

My biggest complaints are the continuous waft of one unpleasant odor that smells like soap and the constant sound of blowing air from the air conditioning. The conductors and attendants are friendly, helpful and attentive.

The people using Verizon have connection nearly all the time. My Sprint drops in and out but it provides more coverage than I expected.

Now we are entering the western plains of Montana with brown, low rolling hills. Temperature is in the upper 40s with low overcast.

Plains of western Montana

Rolling plains of western Montana

From time-to-time we stop at a siding to let freight trains roll past. Freight pays more the passengers and the freight trains are too long to fit on a siding.

The pictures are being taken with a Fuji FinePix S700 digital camera.

I upload the photos using a USB cable to my laptop and resize the images for the web from 200 to 300 pixels and output as a .JPG with compression set so file sizes are 30 to 50 KB.

Blogging on Amtrak

I boarded the Amtrak Empire Builder passenger train in Spokane, Washington, 1 a.m. Tuesday morning headed for Kalamazoo, Michigan, arriving 9 p.m. Tuesday evening. The one-way air fare was over $600. The train ticket was $157.

After finding a seat on the upper level of double level coach car, I began looking for AC outlets. I travel with an IBM ThinkPad that rips through a full charged battery in about 20 minutes, helped along by a full sized keyboard, optical mouse, and a Sprint digital cellular USB modem. Sprint provide me unlimited connection to the Internet anywhere in the USA for $59 per month. I am curious how much coverage I will get with my Sprint service as the train crosses Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota.

There are two AC outlets in the coach area of each car on this train. In the dark I can not find them. I certainly would not wake a sleeping person to ask them to move if I found one. The upper level of the observation car has three outlets, none close enough to a seat.

One of the passengers that travels this route once a month tells me there are outlets in the lower level of the lounge car but that has been blocked off with a trash bin. Never deterred by a waste bin, I did find an outlet near enough to a table. So I am now sitting at a well light table zooming through Idaho.

I check my Sprint Internet signal…full strength. I will post this quickly and attempt more posts as we move along.