Taking Amtrak home to Little Rock was not my first choice of transportation. I am a girl who likes to get to her destination f-a-s-t, although I am not crazy about flying either. I guess driving fits my personality better…I can leave when I want, stop when I want and listen to my music loud without bothering anyone else (headphones for my passengers to save them from my singing). I was initially against traveling by rail but Brad convinced me to give it a try. I knew Cole and I would have lots to remember so I decided to record our travels in a journal-style writing and use my blog. For most of you, this will be boring but my family wants details!
Sunday evening at 5:45 p.m.
Coppelia graciously takes Cole and I to the train station in Burbank. It is not a train “station” per se, just a platform with a bench.
The train arrives 15 minutes late (a foreboding of things to come). I struggle with my luggage and flashbacks of Brad and I traveling in Europe with backpacks (my pack weighed 40 pounds with items such as 5 pairs of shoes and an iron!) came to my mind and I wondered why I packed so much stuff. I finally make it onto the train as it starts pulling away from the platform. By the time our luggage is stowed, I am covered in sweat. Great. Sweat soaked clothes for the remainder of my two-day trip. Can you say lots of Secret and perfume?
We arrive at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles 30 minutes later. As I hobble off the train with all my luggage, we were greeted by a Red Cap (valet driving a golf cart) named Andrew who stowed our luggage on his cart and took us to the appropriate location to check our luggage. Andrew was a wealth of information and showed us where to stand in line and even told us that he would be back to pick us up at 9:05 p.m. to take us to the appropriate train. He doesn’t know it but Andrew was an answer to my prayer.
Union Station is, um, interesting. It reminded me of the Union Subway station in New York. Definitely not some place you want to go and just hang out.
Andrew was true to his word and picked us up at 9:00 p.m. We settled on the train and Cole fell asleep almost immediately. I, however, was awake until almost 2:00 a.m. when my sleeping pill finally kicked in.
Monday morning, 6:00 a.m.
Cole woke me up with a cup of coffee and the news that he had been exploring the train and had already eaten a cheeseburger for breakfast. What? Thank goodness the coffee was strong.
Monday, 7:15 a.m.
My first attempt at using the potty in a moving train. Trying to squat over a moving object is an acquired skill but one I don’t intend on perfecting.
Monday, 12:45 p.m.
Our first stop where we can get off the train and stretch our legs was Tucson, AZ. We had a 30 minute stop so Cole and I went exploring.
Wyatt Earp and Doc takin down the no-good-yeller-belly Cole Ewing!
Monday, 5:15 p.m.
Welcome to El Paso, Texas. Holy smokes, it is amazing seeing the fence for the US/Mexican border, the Border Patrol and the drug sniffing dog that searched the baggage compartment on the train. Traveling makes me realize even more how blessed we are to be Americans.
I wonder how long Cole could hang on if we left him here!
Beautiful sunset in Texas.
Tuesday, 1:15 a.m.
As we are pulling into the Del Rio, Texas train station, there are a group of 20 guys playing basketball on the court next to the train station. Hmmm……
Tuesday, 4:15 a.m.
I am brought out of my fitful sleep by a thud. Our engine has dropped our sleeping car at the San Antonio train station and we wait for a new engine that will continue across Texas towards our Arkansas destination. Our car attendant, Andre, informed us that we have at least a three hour stop so Cole and I head out to explore and
to find breakfast and lots of coffee! I mean, who doesn't want to go exploring the River Walk at 4:15 a.m.?!
The Spurs' Stadium was adjacent to the train station.
When an older couple we met on the train, Miss Rita and Mr. Earl, found out we were going to Denny’s, she ask Cole and I to bring her some breakfast. After her specific instructions about their order, she proceeded to pull her bedazzled and sparkly change purse out of her very ample bosom. The look on Cole’s face was priceless! Welcome back to the South, deary!
Tuesday, 7:15 a.m.
We finally pull away from the San Antonio station and head to our next destination.
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.
At our stop in Austin, Texas, I start talking with Spencer on the phone and then decide to go potty at the train station. I guess I waited too long to go because as I am exiting the station, the conductor is YELLING at me to get on the train and it starts pulling away from the station! Now I know what it feels like to run for the train. Ha!
Tuesday, 10:00 a.m.
Cole’s commercial agent calls to tell us that not only has Cole gotten a callback for a national commercial, but they want to Skype with Cole today for the interview! Thank goodness for smart phones.
I am NOT adept at walking on a flat floor, much less through the aisle of a moving train so imagine what happens when I am trying to carry my lunch? And how can James Bond run down the aisle?
Tuesday, 2:15 p.m.
I am not made for going more than one day without a shower but teenage boys should DEFINITELY NOT go more than 12 hours without one. In addition to multiple applications of deodorant, he also smells like “Step into Sexy”, my perfume from Avon because I keep spraying him with it to mask his unshowered smell!
Tuesday, 2:30 p.m.
Cole asks for stomach medicine so I get it out of my toiletry bag and he takes it. A second later I ask what was wrong with his stomach and he tells me it is hurting from what he ate at lunch. Uh oh. I game him a laxative! Thank goodness he can regurgitate his food (TMI) and he spit it out and took some Pepto. I’m about done with this trip.
Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.
People are cranky if they stay on a train too long (not necessarily talking about me but, yes, I am getting that way.).
Tuesday, 5:00 p.m.
The train stops for a 20 minute break in Austin, TX so I’m walking around the parking lot talking with Spencer on the phone. Once again, I decide I need to visit the ladies room in the train station and once again, I waited too long to go. As I was coming out of the station, Cole and I notice all the doors are closed on the train! Yikes. We run to the doors and Cole bangs on them to let us in and we jump on as they pull out of the station. Oh lawzy.
Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.
Tired. Want a glass of wine but I’m afraid I will fall asleep and miss our stop in Little Rock. Need real sleep.
We arrive at the Little Rock train station safe and sound and only one hour late! Praise the Lord.
In six days, we have to repeat this trip!
"They are sustained as they travel along..."