Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer 2014, days 47-48; Vacation, days 1-2: We've been working on the railroad

We tried something different this year for vacation: Taking the train to Chicago. The boys are at an age that we felt they would handle it, and it's an adventure, right? We arrived at the SLC station very, very early to catch our 3:30 a.m.train. After enduring some drizzle (now it rains after three straight days of heat), we boarded and found four seats across. We settled in to try to resume our sleep (I had got maybe 90 minutes the night before).

Unfortunately, I probably didn't sleep more than an hour and was exhausted for all of Thursday. We got off the train briefly in Grand Junction, and I did manage a little nap after we got back on. Just a little nap, though, as Ben, who was so loud -- a combination of wired and overtired -- got into an argument with Michael and woke me up. No matter -- the scenery through Colorado was gorgeous. I did manage one more nap. We ate dinner in the dining car, which was an experience. An overpriced experienced, but an experience nonetheless -- here we were, eating a real meal, on a train. That capped a great day. Ben and I sat in the observation car and played Ticket to Ride: The Card Game early in the morning. We sat in that car at different times and played games (I bought a new one for my iPad) and watched the scenery. Yes, the first 16 hours of our cross-country trip were great, even if I was tired.

I was ready to sleep as we all settled down about 9 p.m. for the night. Unfortunately, that turned out to be another nap as I couldn't get totally comfortable and was awakened by an announcement from the conductor: A derailment a couple hundred miles ahead in Nebraska would force the train to be rerouted, resulting in about four extra hours on the train. My good mood about our journey was dissipating. The washrooms weren't being upkept as well as we had hoped, I still couldn't get comfortable, and the thought of four extra hours on the train suddenly seemed daunting. I walked down to the snack bar and bought a cheeseburger, simply as comfort food. After I ate, I fell asleep for a couple more hours -- and woke up again, about 1 a.m. It took another hour to doze off again, this time until morning.

We ate breakfast in the dining car, and we continued to play games and pass the time. I got some longer naps in as the train dragged through Nebraska and Iowa. The bathrooms were tidied up. We ate through the rest of our food that we brought on the train (Michael and I bought a cheeseburger -- that was just about all the train had left in the snack bar, after passengers needed to eat after the delay put us through dinner). Ben and I played a game on the iPad that took awhile -- enough time to get us focused on the fact we were in Illinois and approaching our arrival. We ended up being almost six hours late.

My dad picked us up from the train station, and we made it to his house and ate Thai food that he picked up for dinner. We were relieved to have made it. The trip was fun, but just too long because of the delay. I'm glad we'll be flying back.

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