Next stage on my western train adventure is the Empire Builder itself!  We got on the train in Chicago at 2:15 pm and headed west.  We settled into our sleepers and did a little exploring.  The train was very full – this is a popular trip.  The observation car was bright and sunny – and full – full – full.  But the wide windows in our sleepers on the top floor provide just as scenic a view.  Our dinner introduced us to the dining car crew who were such a pleasant and hard-working group.  You are seated 4 to a table, so every meal means you make new friends.  The camaraderie that develops is part of the charm of train travel.  The food is surprisingly good.     This segment of our journey lasted 31 hours, and we were very capably taken care of by our porters, another hard-working group.  The staff on Amtrak trains are exceptional.