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When last we left our three heroines they were returning from a day on the eastern side of GNP having been enjoying an afternoon of water coloring and one entering into the world of Junior Ranger-ship. Now we pick up as they return to the lodge and walk over to the Amtrak station to check the status of their evening train…

Mum went to the window while AEB and I took a look around the station which has quite a display about the Great Northern Railway and in particular the history of the station with the Blackfoot Nation and the park. I was impressed with the array of pictures and artifacts as well as the signboards explaining things. The station may be small, but it packs a lot of history into a small space!
The conversation at the window with the attendant did not seem to be going well so I went over to see what the news was. We were prepared for delays as most local, or at least returning folk told us that the trains never really comes in until 7:00 p.m. or later. I was not prepared for the notice that the train might be in by 3:00 a.m. Did I hear that correctly? 3? A.M.? Uh, okay. What’s happened? Well, what happened was apparently there was a derailment. A freight train, fortunately or unfortunately depending upon your point-of-view, had derailed somewhere east of Glasgow, MT on each side the passenger trains were having to stop, get everyone off, get on a bus, drive around the derailment, get on the train on the other side of the derailment and then carry on their way. So, that was the first bump in the road. 3:00 a.m. was not my first choice for leaving, but one could do it and if we could not re-book into the lodge they had a nice lobby and comfortable sofas to sleep on if there wasn’t some concert or other entertainment going on there. The next one was more difficult, especially for mum who had been planning this trip for years and dreaming of this next bit – the Columbia River Gorge. She had been talking about getting to see it by train, plotting out either getting into the observation car very early or seeing it from the sleeper window, planning what time she would have to wake up so we could all see the beauty of this incredible sight. We would not be seeing the gorge…we would not be seeing it from a train. We were told that to try and get back on schedule the train would take us as far as Spokane, WA where it would dump everyone off, turn around and head back for the next bus load waiting to get around the derailment. What?!? No gorge?!? For me, to watch mum, it seemed as if the whole trip was for nothing. Oh GNP had been great, but the whole reason for taking the train in the first place was to continue on and see the gorge by rail where you’d be right there alongside it and be part of it. The idea of seeing it from a bus felt like a “booby” prize. We talked over our options and decided to take the ride and see where it went. So, crestfallen we went back up to the lodge, took our luggage out and stashed it with the other “stranded” rail passengers’ things and while mum returned the car AEB and I set up camp at a table where she could console herself with a DVD we’d brought along and I with reading and doing a bit of writing. Sigh.
So, a movie later, we went in for supper, after supper it was check with the train – still no sign of it getting in any earlier. Time for bed, such as it could be that night. Now, upstairs on the second floor balcony where there are rooms and a lovely view of the lobby below there was a spa and outside the door of the spa there was a teepee. Yes, that’s right a teepee. We had been in that teepee the night before to check it out and see what it might be like inside. Inside there was a big, I’m talking almost life-size, black bear and two blankets. We thought that Amelia might be able to sleep in the teepee where it was darker and less noisy. It took awhile, but she did finally fall asleep. I slept for a bit and mum dozed on a sofa outside the teepee. In this not so ideal situation and in a not so ideal locale things were made even more not so ideal by the revelers in the lounge. There was to be a wedding over the coming days and folk were starting to arrive. A few adults, who I do not begrudge joy in catching up with old friends over a few drinks, got drunk and in getting drunk got loud and one gentleman seemed to be “holding court” and even after the lounge stopped serving drinks he stayed getting louder and more boisterous with every sip. I’m pretty sure he could be heard behind the doors of the rooms encircling the lobby on that second floor and perhaps even by those on the third. I wished very much to have been around for the morning so I could, in his hungover state, been there to make a loud racket for him to endure. I know this is an unkind thing to think, but thinking is different than doing. And I do hope that anyone reading this will never behave so rudely. Getting drunk is not pretty and the hangover is never worth the effort. At least I’ve never felt great after a drunken night out and always rather regretted the back-talk of the alcohol.
So, not much sleep between mum or myself. I did get out of the teepee earlier than I had set my alarm to find that the train would be getting in at 2:00 a.m. and that a van from the lodge would take us all over at 1:00 a.m. Mum got our girl’s socks and shoes on without dscn1941waking her, but we rousted her when pulling her out of the teepee to carry her down to the van and the lobby of the station to wait the arrival of the train there. Oh – SO – tired! I hoped, rather than believed, that our room on the train would have the beds made up ready to just fall into them. The train came, the beds were ready for us to fall into and sleep – blessed sleep with no drunken revelers came over us all! We were on our way to Spokane, WA and who knows where next…