Today should be the conclusion of our train journey to Chicago that we have been looking forward to for a few months now. Since I do not have wifi on the train, I am writing this blog post in advance and it is scheduled to be published on Monday morning. Since I am writing this prior to the trip, I can’t tell you the experience. However, I can tell you how stressed out Amtrak had made me in the days leading up to our trip.
If I didn’t have a crazy train enthusiast husband, I probably would never know anything about Amtrak’s usual delays and potential cancelations. But I do have a crazy husband who constantly checked the status of the train that we were going to take. Train number 6 runs from Emervyille, CA (our station) to Chicago. Train number 5 goes from Chicago to Emeryville. About 1.5 weeks ago, train 5 was stuck in Iowa due to some tracks that were washed out by the flood. That particular train was about 36 hours late arriving in Emeryville. The resulting ripple effect caused both 5 and 6 to be canceled on certain days following the epic delay. The trains were totally canceled. The passengers could not be rebooked for another day because all the trains were sold out. Imagine my stress level when train 6 (the one that we were going to take) was running on June 28, June 30, but canceled on June 29 and July 1. Our trip was going to be on July 4th. The interesting thing is, you couldn’t find any of these updates on the Amtrak website. All it said was “No status update due to service disruption”. We found updates on some Amtrak enthusiasts’ forum. I originally gasped at how delayed the trains could be (mostly 5 to 6 hours, sometimes over 13 hours). As the days passed, our expectation had gone lower and lower. We went from only wanting 2 hours delay, to not caring about any delays as long as our train would still run on our departure day. Imagine having to scramble for last minute plane tickets to Chicago if our train was canceled. And because this was caused by natural disaster, we weren’t sure if Amtrak would refund the train fare to us. The stress of it all made me a bit crazy for a few days. To give myself peace of mind, travel insurance including trip cancelation was purchased. Those fifty-eight bucks were the best investment ever. I had been breathing better because of it.
Plus, I have been all ready to entertainment myself on the train. Here are the things that I have prepared:
- Coloring book for adults
- 50 colored pencils
- Sketch book to document our journey
- Micron pens to use with the sketch book
- Pass the Pigs (the most hilarious game ever throwing pigs and earning or losing points, thanks M!)
- iota – another game that is pretty interesting
- Books: Orphan Train, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, the Girl on the Train (on iPad, not pictured)
- iPhone games: Can You Escape 1, Can You Escape 2, Criminal Case, Cross Fingers, and possibly more puzzle games
Can you tell? I am totally ready for the 51 hour journey and any delays that get thrown our way.
If you get to see this post, it means that we are on our way there. Hopefully you get to see this!