So, it had a bad start...I had already boxed up 99% of what i owned, and it was moved ito storage. All that was left were clothes items and my computer. I had bought a big travel bag that measured just right: small enough to get in under the baggage limits, but big enough to put my tower into. My steamer trunk had most of my clothes, and would handle my monitor and peripherals. I didn't want to be without my machine for any more than I had to be, so it was the last thing to be packed. 2pm, I shut down and started.
Tower would not fit in the bag. Panic Time: Engage.
No way was I leaving it behind to be shipped. It just wouldn't fit; the steel side rails wouldn't budge enough to force it in, and the steamer trunk was not wide enough. I started to completely lose my shit, and in the end, I wrapped a blanket around it, then tore a box open and just wrapped THAT around it, taped all to Hell. I hoped that the Amtrak people wouldn't give me any shit about it.
That turned out to be the least of my concerns. I get to the station and check my bags...both are over the 50-pound limit. No idea what I'm gonna do, as I've left my keys behind at the house (seeing as how I'm moving out). I open one and decide to take out my leather jacket, replacing it with the fleece pullover I was wearing. That bag was only 3-and-change pounds over, and removing that big bastard was obvious. Wearing the leather, I weighed in, again: 47-and-change. OK, one down.
The trunk, though, that was only clothes and computer stuff. Well, i had a blanket in there, that could come out, and a couple jackets I could live without. Gave them to Dusty to take back to the house and put in a box I had left behind (madeofmeat will add it to my storage), and weighed in again...3 pounds over. In the end, I took one of my army boots and put it in the other bag, so both hit right at 50. Sheesh.
OK, so, on to the train. Finally, the easy part, just sit back and wait for 43 hours. I climb on, stow my computer, and meet my traveling companions: Brianna and Brianna's Mom, and Sick Alt-Chick.
- Brianna is a year-and-a-half old. Brianna's Mom is maybe mid-20's, and really shouldn't have a child, or be allowed out of the house, or to travel. Now, Brianna just wanted attention, and was bored and confined, so could be forgiven for being a little loud and rambunctious.People came and went, but they were there for the duration. About the only other really interesting people that I saw was a group of about 20 Mennonites that got ion not long before I left. All great people, just was a bit of a shock to see what looked like a group of Amish get on. One of them had the scariest unibrow I've ever seen. The damn thing was like a fallen widow's peak.
Mom was a moron. For instance, she has tix from Portland to Chicago. She has the tix with her. She has at least two schedules within view. She still does not know when they are due to arrive, and when I tell her, she is amazed that it'll take so long.
Her main method of parenting seems to be yelling at the child, empty threats, and freaking out. If your child is runnign near someone asleep and you run after them, is it smart to then yell: "Can't you see they are sleeping?" No, it's not.
Twice during the trip, I ended up playing with the littl'un for an hour. I like kids, and she was just cute as a button and basically a good kid. When she's going so fast that Mom starts to cry with frustration, well, what's a man to do? Hell, I was bored anyway.
- Sick Alt-Chick was seriously not feeling good. I felt bad for her at first. She slept most of the trip and was obviously suffering form what everyone I knew just had. She had been in Portland for 2 months, and the work she was trying to get did not pan out, so she was headed back to Buffalo, NY. on the way out, her friend left one of her backpacks on the MAX line (light city rail line), and it had most of what she held dear and important on it, so she was pretty distraught and mad. I got most of this story from the frequent phone calls she made where she hollered and bitched about it all. Still, I'd be annoyed, too.
I bought a small Sansa Fuze MP3 player, so I'd have music on the trip. I fired it up and it froze on the second song. I never did get it to work right, but I think I have now fixed it. Day late and dollar short, of course, but hey, at least it's working now.
The train personnel were all friendly and helpful, thankfully. The lady that ran the lounge/snack bar car was possibly the happiest person ever, and she liked my Southern manners, so we got along great. Also thankfully, I never had to have a seat mate, so I always had 2 seats to myself.
Just before the penultimate stop, the train halted and we were informed we had to pause and check for malfunctions. Nothing came of it, but I was paranoid for the last 90 minutes of the trip. Other oddity: somewhere at a stop in Montana, two U.S. border Patrol came through and asked us all if we were US citizens. Didn't ask to see ID or anything, just took us at our word. Because, you know, if we were illegal, we'd never lie. And, you know, there are SO many rogue Canadians coming across the Northern borders. Tax dollars at work, man.
Eventually, though, we made it to Milwaukee. I got off, met up with my Dad, and went to get my checked baggage. As I got it, I was told not to use the steamer trunk again, because they weren't suppose to take those, due to possible damage or some such crap. Man, glad they didn't give me any shit about that back in Vancouver, dunno what I would have done.
So, here I am now, set up in the finished basement at my Dad's place. We ran a LAN cable through the floor, so I have 'Net access. Taking a couple days to settle in, and then it's time to get cracking. Life calls, and I plan to answer it.
By the way, no, I did not take pix along the way. There's only so many pictures of flat, boring land that one wants to see. Seriously, I went through Montana and South Dakota mostly. Boring as Hell.