Saturday, January 16, 2010

Adventures in train travel, part 2

If you haven't read part 1, yet, click here.

1:45pm - After boarding a new train that will take me from Chicago to Little Rock, I discover that while there are not assigned seats on the train, there are sections which are reserved for couples, and I lacked .5 of a couple. The train attendant moved me to the front of the train where I sat by a seasoned Amtrak veteran - we'll call her Lisa. She was eager to help this novice with some inside information to traveling the world of rails.

2:07 - 2:36 - Power nap, which was ended by an: "Excuse me, can I get by you to use the restroom," from Lisa.

2:44 - All this bathroom talk reminded me that a visit to the facilities was long overdue, and upon Lisa's return, I received directions to the bathroom.

3:28 - I finally wandered over to the observation car, which confirmed my thought that traveling by rail would be quite a relaxing experience. The observation car definitely does not lack in great views, making a journey through the snowy midwest quite beautiful. The seating is different in the observation deck as well in that there are seats that face directly toward the window, rather than forward like in a plane, AND, there are several restaurant style booths to sit in to read/write/people watch - with an electrical outlet at each seat!

4:31 - As I navigated the swaying train back and forth between the observation cart and my seat, an elderly man walking towards me heading the opposite direction says, “So we dance.” (Isn't it cool how elderly folks can say and do pretty much anything they want? At what age does this begin? I'm not wishing away my childhood [I'm told that it ends at 30 {which reminds me, I was recently told that a double parenthesis is faux pas, but it is legal to throw a bracketed sentence into a parenthesised sentence, however, can you put a bracketed sentence inside the bracketed sentence which is inside the parenthesis, or do you move to something like this squiggly line thing...}], but I'm excited to be a grandpa someday.).

4:47 - Caleb calls to tell me he’s leaving work to start his 2-week wedding/honeymoon vacation. As we're talking, I see two deer off in the distance scurrying across a snowy midwestern field. "Dude, you're getting married," I say somewhat in disbelief, as if he needed a reminder. I've had other friends get married, but I think because I still hadn't met his lady friend, it seemed a bit unreal...

5:41 - I wander to the food cart with the hopes of purchasing a delicious train style meal, only to find that the cheapest food item available was a hot dog for $3.95. I resort to the Austin Peanut Butter Crackers and a bag of Frosted Animal Crackers that I packed for the journey, because it’s a known fact that when you can pay a mere 50 cents for a quality roller-dog at the Baraboo BP Station, why pay 8 times as much for one that isn’t even a roller...?

6:04 - The linebacker from Remember the Titans is seated in the booth near me.

6:49 - You may not have heard, but word of my illustrious middle school basketball career made it to Baraboo, WI, inspiring the principal of St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School to recruit myself and a fellow Camp Grayer, Moty, to coach the girls 5th grade basketball team (which actually doesn't have any 5th graders - but we do have two 6th graders, three 4th graders, and a 3rd grader). I have aspirations of writing an article about the hilariousness and greatness of this experience, but for now, I'm going to watch Hoosiers for inspiration.

7:48 - I paused the movie as we take a pit stop in St. Louis.

10:17 - That Jimmy Chitwood is so hot right now.

11:41 - I finally decide to quit fighting my tiredness and I try to sleep in my seat. Although the seats recline pretty far and there is a foot rest at each seat, I've never been very successful at sleeping in a chair.

12:21am - After a brief snooze, I notice the two seats behind me were unoccupied, so I do my best to curl my 6'4'' frame into fetal position.

2:04 - Caleb calls to check the status of my journey. With an ETA of 3:00am, he's eager for me to arrive. I realize that we're stopped, and after stumbling around for a few minutes to find an Amtrak staffer, I learn that we've been stopped for nearly an hour, pushing our arrival back to closer to 4.

2:31 - I called Caleb to pass along the unfortunate news. I then return to fetal position.

3:48 - 10 minute warning from Amtrak staff. We're almost to Little Rock.

3:58 - Train pulls into Little Rock Train Station.

4:09am - Caleb and Hedger arrive with sleep goop in their eyes and smiles on their faces. While the train travel adventure of two hundred and one - zero ended nearly as quickly as it began, the real adventure of an extended weekend in Little Rock for the wedding of my good friend Caleb has just begun. While stories and pictures from the wedding weekend await publication from the editor of a blog, allow me to recommend, in the meantime, that you research your own personal train adventure. It'll be an adventure you won't soon forget.

Thanks for tuning in, friends!

Peace be da journey!



Patrick said...

Wait! You just throw in there that you sat across from Julius Campbell and say nothing else of it. Did you talk to him? Recite quotes from Remeber the Titans?

Jeff and Rebecca said...

Man, I could really go for one of those fitty cent rollers right now! Good stuff.

Jenn said...

I had a $7 hotdog in DC. It was pretty much the best one I ever had. I think they may have sprinkled some left over Hope on it.