The Perils of Travel

This past weekend, I took a trip up to New Jersey to see my good bloggy friends Val, and then Jules.  Opting not to drive, I booked a ticket on Amtrak, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with traffic and could just sit back, read a book, and arrive in about two and a half hours.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezey!

Yeah, or so I thought.  See, here’s the thing about me . . . I am a disaster when it comes to traveling by myself.  Traveling with my hubs and kids?  Cake.  Me on my own . . . tragic.  Lest you think I’m being melodramatic, let’s review . . .

Trip to Ocean City, MD, last year to meet my hubs and kids, who were already down there:

I left work a bit early to try to miss some traffic.  However, it is raining and a Friday evening . . . so, before I go 2 miles, I hit a ton of traffic.  Uh oh.  Then, once I start to move a bit, and obviously get overconfident that I might make up a bit of time . . . dead stopped cars.  I discover that there is a huge accident on the upcoming bridge, halting all movement for about 15 miles.  15 miles!  Of completely stopped traffic, just sitting in the rain.  So, yeah . . .all by myself, sitting in the car, inching along little by little, for hours.  Not a great trip. It took me almost 5 hours to make a 2 and a half hour trip.

Trip to NYC for Blogger, summer of 2012:

Flight to NYC, due to arrive at around 10:00 pm, stopover in Philly.  I blogged about this here, but short story is that there was a massive storm, halting all flights out of Philly, so I was stranded there for hours, until I wrangled my way onto a flight at around midnight.  Then, when I finally arrived in NYC around 1:30 in the morning, I find that the room I had booked many months ago, and confirmed the week prior, was not available.  And on the return trip . . . the flight out of NYC was delayed, causing me to miss my flight out of (you guessed it) Philly, and have an extra hour and a half to wait for the next available flight.

Which brings us to this past weekend . . . and a train ride:

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Here it comes . . .

I made sure I was plenty early for my 10:47 am train.  In fact, I arrived so early, I sat in my car for 20 minutes before I ventured down to the tracks.  As I stood on the platform, waiting for the train that was due to arrive in about 5 minutes, an announcement informed me that the train was running about 10 minutes late.  It was cold and windy on that platform.  But I stood there.  And waited.

The train finally arrived, and I moved to get on.  As the door opened, I realized that there was quite a gap between the platform and the train, probably a good foot and a half, and I was mentally trying to figure out how my rolling bag would make it over such a gap.  Then, I stepped onto the train, and my foot hit wet metal and started sliding.  You know how they say your life is supposed to flash before your eyes when something happens?  Well, what was flashing in front of my eyes was the huge crevice below me as my ass started falling towards the tracks.  I will attest to that whole slow motion thing, though.  As I reached out to attempt to grab onto something, anything, to stop my rapid decent, I found that there was nothing in arms reach to gain purchase upon, and I continued falling down, down, down.  Somehow, I landed in such a way that most of me stayed on the train landing.  When my fall finally came to a stop, I was lucky to only be looking down at the tracks, and not broken and bent, down below the train, as I had feared and imagined while falling.  But, I was fine.  A bit bruised from crashing to the metal landing, and having my shin hit the edge of the train, apparently, but fine.  Although, my heart was beating a bit more rapidly than a few minutes prior, that’s for sure.

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Sweet bruise.

As the journey began, I settled into my seat and tried to forget about the near death experience I had just encountered.  Everything was going smoothly . . . until we arrived in Philly.  As passengers got onto the train, a lady sat across the aisle from me and began unwrapping the most fragrant and delicious smelling cheese steak I’d ever encountered.  Having yet to eat that day, it was intoxicating.  Then, just as a little bit of drool started pooling atop the book I was reading . . . it all went dark.  Total power failure and we were underneath large concrete overpasses, so it was very dark.  So, we sat there.  In the dark.  With no idea what was happening.

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This is when the zombies would attack . . .

It was the longest time until I finally figured out what was happening.  Luckily, cheese steak lady was an Amtrak employee, so a guy came onto the train and started chatting with her about what was going on.  Otherwise, I would have been cluelessly left sitting in the dark.  Apparently, they had to change engines.  Oh that.  Sure, of course.  Uh huh.  Wait . . . what???  Yes, they were changing the engine.  I guess it was lucky that our engine died while we were stopped at a station, at least.  Crazy.  Oh, did I mention this was in my old friend, Philly?  Yeah, I’ve never actually been to Philly, but strangely, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in transportation stops in that place.  That’s how Philly and I roll.

So, eventually they got the new engine and the lights and power were once again functioning.  And we were off . . . merely an hour late.

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

Eventually, I made it to my destination.  And was met with Val and beer!  You know, because she knows me.  She was my chauffeur for the day, so she drove us to the hotel I was staying in that evening.  When I arrived, everything in the lobby was roped off with yellow tape and there were signs asking us to “Excuse our dust” as they were renovating.  Ok, no problem.  I wasn’t planning to camp out in the lobby anyway.  After I was given my room key, we went over to the elevators and were greeting by a gaping maw, all covered up with cardboard and hanging movers’ rugs.  Hmmm, that’s strange.

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Then, we arrive at my room.  And just before I open the door, I hear this very loud humming sound.  Once I opened the door, I was greeted by one of those huge rug drying machines on full blast, sitting in the middle of the floor, along with the window AC blasting air on high.  Nope, no thank you.  New room, please.  So, we trudge all the way back downstairs, assuming that the elevator and room were both part of some murder spree and clean up effort that recently occurred. The front desk guy tried to cover up by saying it was a “broken pipe on the 5th floor,” but Val and I knew better.  The next room was right across the hall, and while there was no blood stains or drying machine, it did have a funky smell.  Then, as we were in there a few minutes, we started to hear these banging sounds that sounded like they were coming from the bathroom.  There was nobody in the bathroom, so we figured that it was probably ghosts.  Upon further inspection, though, I did find this in the bathroom on the soap ledge in the shower:

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Such a classy joint.  Luckily, we had beer and a fun night out planned to distract us from the murder/pube hotel.  Which I will tell you all about in an upcoming post.  So, stay tuned for tales of the Jersey shenanigans that ensued later that day.  Cheers!

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