Taking the Train: Part 2 (Otherwise known as “There is no Part 2”)

15 Jul

So, yeah. My first experience with long-distance train travel was rocky at best.

For our trip back, we were originally scheduled to travel Florida to D.C., D.C. to Chicago, and then Chicago to Seattle.

We were notified shortly before arriving in Florida that our Chicago to Seattle route was cancelled due to flooding still being a major issue in North Dakota. We were re-booked onto 2 trains: Chicago to LA, and then LA to Seattle, but they did not have sleeper rooms available. We were put at the top of the waitlist for a room should one open up.

During the week in Florida, we were on the fence whether to just scrap the train and drive home, but decided to wait and see if we could get a room.

Then, two days before we were scheduled to leave, Amtrak called us. I answered excitedly, thinking they had found a room. Oh, optimistic me. They were calling to tell us that there were issues with the D.C. to Chicago route and we were rescheduled to a train-bus-train variation of the route – no sleeper rooms available since none of the now 3 legs were technically “overnight”.

That was it – we decided to rent a car and make the 50+ hour drive home on our own.

Fortunately, my husband and I have made many road trips together and know that we do very well on long distance drives together. We make a good team, our traveling personalities are about the same, and we find each other highly entertaining. Unfortunately, I caught a cold the day before we left that took the entire trip to run it’s course, and was passed onto Jeremy over the trip, causing him to get sick on our last day of driving.

But we did it. Five days, 50+ hours of driving, four hotels, and 12 states later, we were home.

Over the course of our two trips, I realized we’d covered a lot of ground. Between train travel and driving, we traveled through 22 states in a less than 3 week period! Phew!

Certainly not the leisurely and relaxing trip through the country I was hoping for, but it wasn’t a horrible experience. We did see a lot of the country that one or both of us had not yet seen. Most of the customer service reps I dealt with at Amtrak, Hertz, Budget, and AAA were all very nice and helpful. All of our money was refunded where applicable, though some of it in the form of a voucher.

We also don’t harbor (much) ill-will with Amtrak. The flooding in the Midwest is certainly abnormal, and they were doing the best they could with a bad situation. There is a question of whether or not they are able to routinely handle disruptions well, or if that is an organizational problem, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. We still plan on traveling by train to NYC in December, but we will be staying overnight in Chicago to give us the extra buffer should anything like this come up again!

*I will make one more post covering the many interesting personalities we encountered during our train travel from Seattle to Sacramento. Stay tuned!*

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One Response to “Taking the Train: Part 2 (Otherwise known as “There is no Part 2”)”

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  1. Taking the Train: Part 1 « The Renaissance Woman - July 23, 2012

    […] factors that caused the delays and why we still plan to take the train to New York in December. Part 2! Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Uncategorized.Bookmark the […]

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