An Amtrak Christmas

Amtrak: It's not just a journey, it's an Adventure

This has certainly been one of my more memorable train journeys. My plan was to take the train from Ann Arbor to Mount Pleasant, IA, which is a couple hours south of where my parents live, instead of flying back to Iowa for Christmas.

The train left Ann Arbor about fifteen minutes late, which, by Amtrak standards, is early. We hadn't even made it to Jackson when one of the cables that connects the cars and supplies them with electricity fell off and was damaged. The train stopped, and after about a half hour of several unsuccessful attempts to get it to stay on (with attendant brief periods of hope when the lights came on for a half- second, only to go right back out) we went the twenty miles to Jackson. There I saw a guy heading towards the back of the train with a hacksaw. This is always a good sign. After about ninety minutes our train and electricity again, and we were on our way.

Things would have been fine, however, the Universe smiled down upon us and the fallout from a freight train derailment that happened yesterday left northwest Indiana with only one track. More waiting ensued, and we finally arrived at Union Station at around 3:00 pm, or an hour after the California Zephyr left for Mount Pleasant and points beyond.

Fortunately, the well-oiled machine that is Amtrak knows how to handle this situation, and I was given money for food and taxi, and they paid for a night at the Inn of Chicago, which is probably the fanciest hotel I've stayed in. I'll be in Iowa tomorrow (Goddess willin' and the creek don't rise). Soon I'll go out wandering about for food. I'm apparently on the Magnificent Mile and close to Navy Pier, so there should be something worth looking at.

I know what the next cover of Late Night Thinking is going to look like: