pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

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Travel With Friends ATNANO

I had a good time on the train.  It was the first time I've ridden a train in over 30 years.  I decided to try the train because the trip was 1,200 miles and an estimated 21 hours . I can't sit in a car for more than about 6 or 7 hours at a time or I can barely move when I go to get out.  That means it would have been a three day trip by car.  Round trip on the train (in coach) was only $309.  I couldn't drive for that given the cost of 4 nights in a hotel and the gas out and back.  I confess I ended up spending a lot more than that though as I decided I wanted to try a roomette since one leg of the trip both out and back was overnight.  I'm glad I opted for the roomette as I was able to sleep more comfortably, had my own potty, meals were included in the cost (and meals on trains are EXPENSIVE), and I was able to relax and read or nap all I wanted.  The roomettes are SMALL though.  Though they are said to accommodate 2 people it would have to be two small people who like each other REALLY well :-).  The potty is like a camp potty and is right in the room instead of in a separated space.  When the lower seats are converted to a bed there is about 4 sq. ft. of floor space.  I'd never be able to climb into the upper bed with my bad knees.  The beds are really narrow too.  There were a couple to times when the train started really rocking from side to side that I thought I might be tossed from the bed!  It didn't happen though.  There are some larger bedroom accommodations but they are, of course, more expensive and not necessary for someone traveling alone.

The train wouldn't be for everyone.  First of all you have to be very relaxed about your schedule and never plan a trip where you have a close time when you have to arrive.  My trip didn't start off very promising.  The train was almost 4 hours late getting into KC.  I only had a 2 1/2 hour layover in Chicago before my train east left.  Well, it left without me!  Of course Amtrak already knew that was going to happen to me and about 20 others.  At least they have contingency plans.  They took us off the train in Galesburg, IL and chartered a bus for us to Indianapolis where we were able to meet the train again.  The bus was small enough that it didn't have a bathroom but big enough to accommodate all 20 people without anyone having to sit next to anyone else.  The bus driver was great and had planned potty breaks at rest areas plus stopping for all of us to get a bite to eat since we'd missed dinner on the train.  We got into Indianapolis about 2 hours before the train did.  I was over an hour late getting into Newark, NJ, my final destination.  There was one lady that was doing a lot of bitchin' but I just looked at it as an adventure.  It was fun to just visit with the other passengers while we awaited the train.   The trip home was totally uneventful.  We even pulled into KC 10 minutes ahead of schedule.  Just for grins I called Amtrak to see about compensation for the missed hours on the train when I should have been in a comfortable roomette instead of sitting on a bus and in the train station and the missed meal.  They offered me a $250 voucher!  Guess now I get to plan another trip somewhere :-)

Tags: travel

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