Monday, October 15, 2007

The Trip Part II

Ok, so we are now in New York and still need to fill in about the rest of the trip. Needless to say, after the wedding, the trip on the train got really interesting and had issues kind of like an airline has. Actually, we had an issue with the flight from LAX to RDU.

So we get to LAX on time on Thursday night at about 5:30pm. We get dinner and head over to the Delta terminal (T5 at LAX) at about 7:00pm for a 10:25 red-eye departure. When we got there, it was one of those gates that are split (53A and 53B). At 53A was our plane to RDU, waiting for us for 3 hours while the plane at 53B was a 7pm departure to Las Vegas. I put on one of the kids' DVD's so they could calm down and hopefully fall asleep. We had put their pajamas on their in the terminal so they could sleep on the plane, which they did.

At about 8pm we noticed the people on the LAS flight come off the plane. They stated that their plane went mechanical with the gear lights display not working. So they took our plane to RDU and hoped the plane to LAS would be fixed in time by our 10:25 departure. It never got fixed. At 10:10, Delta announced to us that our flight would be delayed at least til 10:55 to get the problem fixed. It still was out when 10:55 came so they said "...we are awaiting a flight from Atlanta, which was also another 738 so we can keep the same crew...." That plane did not get there until 11:15 and after cleaning the plane and we boarded at 11:55 and took off at 12:30am. We got to RDU at 7:30am EDT, an hour and fifteen minutes later than scheduled as we made up time with a 145 mph tail wind (I love the jetstream going east!).

On Saturday, we had lunch with Mary and her boyfriend Eric at Carolina AleHouse and it was good to meet her and get to know her better. A good time had by all.

The wedding was very beautiful, even though the minister thought the wedding was two hours later than it was supposed to (a 2:30pm wedding, he got there at 3:30!). Got to know more of Nate's family and met Robin's while at the reception. Nate' cousin Sara also did marching band at Univ. of Washington so we traded band war stories, mostly about our archrivals!

The reception ended at 7pm and we headed back to the hotel for our 4am wake-up call and our 5:40am train departure for New York Penn Station. Got the kids to bed about 10pm and we finally got to sleep about midnight...ugh! We got up right at 4 with two wake-up calls and got showered and dressed and we got to the train station right on time.

We had an on-time departure and the kids went back to sleep immediately when the train started rolling. Lauren woke up about an hour later and I took her to the cafe car to have yogurt while I got some coffee. Headed back to our seats where Lauren then fell back asleep where Dawn was already out with Evan. I got some sleep as well when we pulled into Richmond at 9am and we all woke up hungry.

We went to the dining car to have breakfast. Dawn, Lauren and Evan split the continental and I had the breakfast scramble....not bad, but way overprice because of being on the train. We got to Washington DC Union Station on time at noon and had a 30 minute layover due to switching from a diesel engine to an electric one going onto the Northeast Corridor. Left on-time and got to Philly on schedule. Now this is when the trip got really interesting and frustrating.

As we pulled out of Philly, the engine started to have problems. Every time we started to get about 30 mph, the engine would shut down and the circuit would be tripped. We would slow to a stop, reset the breaker, and start again. It took an hour fifteen to get to Trenton in a trip that would normally take about 30 minutes!

When we got to Trenton, the engineer tried to see if they could fix the engine instead of the stop gap measures they implied while trying to get it there. Finally the call came on that we would transfer to a train across the track that was also going to Penn, yet, the baggage car, with our six pieces of checked luggage, would remain with the other train. I asked the conductors what about hooking up the baggage car to the end of the train we were getting on and they said they couldn't (I think it was they wouldn't). They told us that the train would follow, but probably get to the Penn about four hours after the train we got on would get there!! That made me really angry and the kids by this time had had enough of being on the train and just wanted to get up to NY.

Now we were contemplating staying at Penn for four hours so we could get our bags. And we still needed to transfer to the Long Island Railroad to go out to Hicksville where my cousins were awaiting to pick us up. As we approached Newark, the conductor of the Amtrak Regional came on and said they unhooked the problem cars that were causing the engine to trip and that it would be 40 minutes behind us! Thank God! We got to Penn at 4:40pm and we got a coffee and a snack for our kids and then our bags got there at 5:20. We quickly grabbed them and headed to the LIRR concourse, bought our tickets to Hicksville and got on that 5:40 train. Deb picked us up at 6:30 and headed to the house where my cousins Carmen, Mary and her boyfriend Dave had dinner awaiting. After dinner, Mary and I dropped Dave off at his house and she took me to LaGuardia to pick up the rental car at 9pm. Picked it up with no problems and was back to the house at 9:30pm and then crashed after getting back. The kids were down and Dawn waited for me to get back to go to sleep.

Never again will I do a train trip like that again. Im glad I did it once, but if I ever have to go from Raleigh to New York again, I'll suck up the extra cash to fly the hour and a half route!

I will add photos for this post later.

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