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Salt Lake City, Utah to The River City

I’m determined to finish writing about my trip – I’ve got many photos and links to share and it may take me awhile but I’m going to keep updating this blog about the trip. Day 3 of the trip was one of the highlights – it was a day to hang out on the train, chat with my fellow passengers and just enjoy the scenery of heading through the Rocky Mountains

Amtrak's California Zephyr Route from Salt Lake City to Denver

Amtrak’s California Zephyr Route from Salt Lake City to Denver

Salt Lake City, Utah to Grand Junction, Colorado

The train departed Salt Lake City around 3:30am.  I wanted to wake up and take a peek at the Salt Lake City train station but, after the trip to get to San Francisco and all of the excitement of the first few days, I slept right through the stop and woke up around 8 am somewhere in Utah.  According to the train timetable I probably woke up near Green River, Utah.

view from the Millennial Train of Utah

Good Morning Utah

The rest of the day was just filled with incredible scenery and sparkling conversation.  We didn’t have much access to photo/data reception during this part of the trip. Here is some of the scenery between Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado…

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The River City

Grand Junction Amtrak Station

Grand Junction Amtrak Station (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

One of the nice things about coming back and writing about my trip is that I get to go back and look up all of the historical questions that I asked and wasn’t able to find an answer to while we were on the train.  One of the things I looked up en-route was the origins of the name “Grand Junction” – here is the story from Wikipedia:

The city is located along the Colorado River, where it receives the Gunnison River from the south. The name “Grand” refers to the historical Grand River, which was renamed the upper Colorado River in 1921, and the word “Junction” is from the joining of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. Hence, Grand Junction has been given the nickname “River City”.

I am amused that Grand Junction has the nickname River City, compared to the three rivers that run through the city of Pittsburgh, the Colorado River near Grand Junction looks like, what some Pittsburghers might call – a creek.

Blue Skies over A Vintage Train Car

Spending a day in a dome car of a vintage train gives you a different perspective on lots of things.  But one of the things that struck me most – is the sky.  Maybe it is because most of the time, I’m in a building and not looking right up at the clouds passing by, maybe the sky is just more blue over Colorado.  I hope that everyone has the opportunity to take a train between Salt Lake City and Devner and spend some time looking at the sky over the rocky mountains. I continued to be captivated by the sky over Denver – I do think that the sky over Colorado has its own shade of blue. And even now that I’m back in Pittsburgh and it isn’t overcast and grey – I find myself noticing the sky more often that I did before. Here are two of my favorite photos from the day because they capture the train and the sky in one frame.

First Night on the Train & Salt Lake City Links

Do to the limited internet access on a moving train and the busy schedule of the trip – I feel behind on the blog post.  I’m back in Pittsburgh now, and much more rested.  I am going to keep blogging about the trip – I’ve got lots of photos, stories and links to share.

It takes about 18 hours to get from Emeryville, CA to Salt Lake City, UT.


Here is a great photo of the sun starting to set that was taken by Shawn Kolodziej, who is from Minnesota.  His project is about financial literacy across the US.  You can read about Shawn’s project here.

Photo Credit: Shawn Kolodziej

Train Tracks Photo Credit: Shawn Kolodziej

Friday, August 9th was out first night spent on the train – and it was totally fine.  The beds fold down from the walls and were more than comfortable (and I was more than tired and happy to see a bed).

Here is a photo that my fellow passenger, Cameron, took from her bed.   (I tried to take a few of my cabin but it is hard to photograph a small space).


For some more great photos of the train – check out this post from the HotelTonight blog.  HotelTonight was a sponsor of the trip and sent a representative to join us for a few days on the train.

Salt Lake City

MTP-salt-flats-utahOur itinerary was supposed to include a stop in Salt Lake City, but due to some train logistics, the train was not able to stay in the rail-yard.  Some of my fellow passengers got off the train in Salt Lake City during the stop to spend the day in Salt Lake City working on their projects and then they took a flight to Denver to meet up with the train later in the day.

My fellow passengers made some interesting stops in Salt Lake City and I wanted to share the some links:

You can read and see lots more photos from Day 2 and Salt Lake City on the Millennial Trains Project blog here.

I spent Saturday, August 10th on the train enjoying the incredible scenery from Salt Lake City to Denver – my next post will have a lot of photos of the scenery from the train ride.