Getting on the train in Denver is a piece of cake. I bought my tickets online and printed them out at the station at an electronic kiosk. When the California Zephyr, which was taking me to Chicago, came in, they opened the baggage area and I checked a bag. About 30 minutes before departure, they started loading. Very easy process and my wife was able to go out to the platform with me, so retro, right? Amtrak the conductor in the station assigns a car, not a seat. My car was about 30% filled so I had a nice couple of seats together to camp out in. I made myself at home and then did a little recon: There were about 4 coaches, 2 sleepers and a dinning car and lounge/observation car. The dinning car was taking reservations and the lounge car had a cafe where you could buy all sorts of drinks, sandwiches, and snacks. Cool.
So, I've just had a wonderful night's rest, a good breakfast at the Homewood Suites on Grant Street in downtown Chicago and I'm getting ready to explore. It's 20 degrees and snowing out there....I'll let you know what I find.