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Today’s adventure began by over sleeping my alarm and waking up 5 minutes before I was supposed to leave. This is pretty par for the course in my case but fortunately in a rare occasion of preparedness I had everything ready to go. I quickly brushed my teeth let the dogs out and threw on the same shirt I was wearing yesterday. Thank god I had a full tank of gas.

So I arrive in lacrosse only 15 minutes later than I had wanted to which was still 30minutes early for my train. I called Amtrak and to my surprise the train was running on time. So even in my weakened tired starving state I tell Jamie to skip the McDonalds drive through and head straight to the station. About 5 minutes before my train is set to leave they make an announcement something about a broken rail and re-routing and there will be a 10-15 minute delay.

That’s Amtrak talk for expected to be royally pissed off for the rest of your trip. My premonition was rewarded about 20minutes later when the announcement was made that the trains could not be rerouted and busses would come to pick us up.

Then the train rolls in, everyone that was on the train is now in a tiny lacrosse train station, and surrounding the building in the cold outside. Think of a large scale trapped in an elevator scenario. I do not care for crowds especially the type of crowd that develops from a demographic that either has no car or is too cheep to fly.

Then they decide that everyone that doesn’t have a connection in Chicago should get back on the train. Well I wasn’t on the train in the first place but this got me thinking I should be on there. A clearer announcement should have been made but seeing the leadership skills of the Amtrak team made me realize I should probably just go up and ask my specific question. “I am going to Glenview, do I need to get on the train or wait for a bus?’

This seemed like a question anyone in a name tag should have been able to answer but instead I got a convoluted….Well you could get on the train but its going to be more delayed…so you should really wait for the busses. So I went back to the station and (I think) did what I was told to do and waited for the busses….I waited….and waited…for 2hours more hours I waited…with no seat and holding two pieces of non rolling luggage…surrounded by crying children and teenagers with headphones on absurdly loud volumes.

Finally the busses came. There was absolutely no organization. No announcement of people going here on this bus and here on that bus. Nope 5 busses and hoards of annoyed people mobbed the poor bus drivers who had pretty much just been told to show up and were given no direction.

I ask a random bus driver it seems there are Milwaukee busses and straight to Chicago busses. You know what one lonely stop is in-between Milwaukee and Chicago….that’s right god damn f-ing Glenview. Since all the people from Amtrak seem to have disappeared I ask one of the bus drivers who says to go on the Milwaukee one because the Chicago ones are non-stop. Sigh. Milwaukee is before Glenview so how exactly am I going to make that little jaunt?

After enough time had elapsed for me to buy, breed and train a pack of blood hounds I was able to track down a genuine Amtrak employee. Who said I should have gotten back on the train. Okay breaking point reached. I begin my rant…

“First of all I was never on the train….and then when I heard non-connectors should get back on the train I took it upon myself to ask one of your associates. Who told me to wait for the busses…So I’ve been waiting for the busses and here I am at the busses and you are telling me there is no bus for me?!?” My eyes are scoring at him and I am secretly wishing that I had the superpower of shooting lasers out of my eyes to kill…or at least permanently disfigure him.

“Well I must have missed you then. You can take a bus into Milwaukee and then a train to Glenview…” God knows when that train would have been, probably tomorrow. And really an apology would have been nice.

“Never mind, I say Milwaukee is fine I’ll have someone pick me up there.”

Of course my cell phone service in that patch of Lacrosse is pretty dismal and after 7 attempts I got in touch with my parents. “I want you to pick me up at the Milwaukee Amtrak depot, I don’t know where it is and I don’t know what time I will get there.”

So now 4.5 hrs after leaving my house (if I’d driven I would have been home) I am finally on a moving vehicle set to take me to where I want to go…kinda sorta. Next time I have the bright idea of relaxing on a train and napping my way home…slap me (that’s what she said)

Happy vacation Day 1!

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  • Blogger Josh says so:
    4:35 AM  

    Yep, Amtrak is notorious for their being late and things like this... So this horror story really doesn't surprise me one bit. It's unfortunate that you had to go through all this.. but then again what do you expect. Amtrak is run by the government. And that says a lot right there. Pretty much the only well run thing by the government is our military. Everything else they just seem to get their dirty hands on and mess up... FEMA is another great government run organization... As well as Social Security, as well as, well you get the picture. In lehman's terms, Amtrak sucks. top

  • Blogger Kristen says so:
    8:23 PM  

    Poor Ava. and no McDonalds to boot. top