Vacation, Part 1: Getting There

comments: 71

Almost two weeks ago (we're home now), Andy, Amelia, and I left for our vacation to visit Andy's family for his parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. We took the train from Portland, Oregon, to Chicago, Illinois, then drove up all together (with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins) to Door County, Wisconsin, to spend a few days in the places of so many of both of our family vacations in the past. We left Portland on a Saturday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. and arrived in Chicago on Monday afternoon, around 2:15 p.m. (So, that's two nights on the train.) We had a wonderful time. Amelia did amazingly well. On the train, I took all of my photos with my iPhone. (If you follow me on Instagram, you saw some of these in real time.) The train, called the Empire Builder, follows a route from Portland (or Seattle — two parts of the train meet up in Spokane, Washington, and go the rest of the way across the country together) through Washington, Idaho, Montana (right through Glacier National Park), North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern Illinois to Chicago. (And to those who have asked, we had two Superliner Roomettes, right across from each other.) Here's a chronological photo-log of the first part of our vacation, the train trip from Portland to Chicago.

Would you like to join us?



Vacation2aPortland, Oregon





Vacation7Columbia River Gorge








Vacation17Glacier National Park

Vacation18East Browning, Montana
























Vacation42Stanley, North Dakota








Vacation50aSt. Cloud, Minnesota






Vacation54St. Paul, Minnesota












Vacation65Union Station, Chicago, Illinois

Thanks for riding the rails with us. I'll be back soon with Part 2. :)


Lee Cockrum says: August 11, 2016 at 04:47 PM

Thanks for sharing! I'd love to see a post with some of the questions from the comments answered. I know nothing about rail travel!

Ha! I have those same pink floral pillow cases, yay vintage. I found mine at a thrift store in brand new packaging, never opened plus a flat sheet, super comfy.

All abroad the train! Thank you so much for the ride with you and your family. I'm glad it was a good experience for everyone. The images are a true delight. 🚂💨💨💨

I've ridden the Empire Builder twice from Wisconsin to Glasgow, MT to visit my huband's grandparents (no longer living), once with my son who was 7 months old at the time. He's 10 now. Our country is so vast and beautiful, isn't it? Northeastern Montana isn't the greatest and it was too bad we didn't have the time to go any farther west. Someday...

Alicia B. says: August 11, 2016 at 08:15 PM

Please print a coffee table book. I will buy it.

diane willard says: August 11, 2016 at 08:16 PM

Thanks for sharing the photos of a beautiful family and our beautiful country.

What a great time you must have had Alicia! We would have really enjoyed a trip like that when we lived in the USA. So beautiful and so much to see. Thanks for sharing!

I'm so jealous. I'm an Iowa/Minnesota gal myself and always love the pictures and the trip details.

Melissa L says: August 11, 2016 at 09:03 PM

I love these photos sooooo much! What a wonderful trip. And it's nice to see your smiling face too, because you're usually behind the camera :-) Can't wait to see the rest of your pictures.

I kind of love the idea of traveling by train--it seems much less stressful than driving for days or flying. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

What fabulous insight to North America! Goregeous pics look forward to part 2 :)

Debbie from Illinois says: August 12, 2016 at 04:46 AM

I'm in Sister Bay right now,we are looking forward to the Perseid meteor showers tonight.

Claudia Martins says: August 12, 2016 at 05:13 AM

Uau! What a trip! So much to see!

What an amazing adventure you all had--Meems will definitely treasure these photos when she's older. Last year, we spent two weeks traveling around Germany, mostly by train, and it's just such a lovely way to see the country. Thanks for taking us along on your journey, Alicia!

Heather Tewksbury says: August 12, 2016 at 05:20 AM

That was really cool!!

Fabulous trip! Beautiful scenery and such an adventure. Was nice to see you, too, Alicia! You do a great job with any camera!

How exciting! I love to ride the train from Lawrence,Kansas to Union Station but have never been farther west on my trips...lovely photos! Thanks for sharing

Raina Glazener says: August 12, 2016 at 09:35 AM

Thank you so much for this virtual train trip! It brings back many memories of traveling from San Francisco to Kansas every summer in the '60s, 36 hours on the train each way, sleeping in seats. My mother dressed my sister and me in bright striped shirts so that she could find us more easily when we skittered off to explore while she was napping -- the baggage car and visiting the crated animals there, helping to throw the mail off the train, the tiny boxes of cereal in the diner. The train crew were wonderful to us, and other passengers kept an eye out ("They went thataway!"). Your trip looks just as magical....

Notice how the butter photos begin in Minnesota

I love it when you share pictures of yourself with Amelia. She will want those someday! I have always been behind the camera myself, and the pictures with me in them are few and far between. Keep taking those!

I've only taken a train ride once, from Denver to California (or vice versa - can't ever remember!), and we had a sleeper car. It was so lovely, eating in the dining car, hearing the whistles all night long, feeling the train cars stop in the night, then start up again. We generally fly or drive everywhere we go, but still I think by train is just the most lovely. And I have to say, I always think, when coming to visit your blog, there is something so beautiful about the content of your photos - seeing the beauty in everyday life. The photo of your husband yawning was beyond priceless. In a world of selfies that have been doctored up with filters, etc. it's so refreshing to see the beauty of photos of us just as we are.

Back, again... Maria and I were gazing at your train moments, together, appreciating all the familiar bits, and your own touches. She agrees, you have a gift for making Posie Gets Cozy an especially beautiful blog.

Those pictures are wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing. I've wanted to take a long train trip like that and now I want to more than ever!

Such a good post - totally love it!:-)

Georgia Inskeep says: August 12, 2016 at 01:38 PM

What a wonderful family trip. We drove from North Carolina, our home of the last 30 years, to Montana two summers ago. We have family in Montana and she was our tour guide to Glacier and West Yellowstone Parks. Beautiful place to visit, but so is the rest of the USA. We are from Iowa and on the way home from Montana we made a side trip to Chicago area and family. Everyone should take a trip at least once in a lifetime to a part of the USA that they have never been. The train is also a wonderful way to travel. I look forward to seeing more photos from your trip. Bless your little family. Love all of your beautiful work.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.