On The Way to Chicago

Ok, maybe I spoke too quickly!  I may need to rethink a sleeper car.  When they lower the bunk bed up top, they also extend the seat below and I didn’t realize that.  Add that extension, along with a narrow little ladder to the top bunk next to the window, and there is NO room to walk in a sleeper car!  Seriously, there is about 2 inches between the bottom bunk and the sink.  Add someone sitting on that bottom bunk and you can forget about going from the window to the bathroom.

The ladder may be wide enough for two feet but it is definitely not wide enough for two legs side by side.  You climb the ladder and crawl to the other end of the bunk to lie down.  You can forget about sitting up in the bunk to type because, while there’s enough room to sleep, there is not enough head room to get more than your shoulders off of the mattress.  I worried about falling out of the top bunk but they have that covered.  There is a safety harness on the edge of the bunk to hold you.  It’s not really a safety “net,” even though it does have squares and attaches to the ceiling with hooks.  It is made out of what looks like seat belt straps so I had no fear of going to sleep up there. 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the towns go by as I fell asleep.  I found out that not only the bumpy, swaying, stopping and starting motion of the train kept waking me up, the lights flashing by the window did the same.  Should’ve pulled the curtains sooner, I guess.  Soon the swaying would put me back to sleep though.  Of course, I’m the type of person that gets on an airplane and falls asleep between the time we pull away from the gate and before we take off so I actually loved the swaying motion.  I don’t think Ed felt quite the same way though and he was on the bottom larger bunk, right next to that window.  He was pretty beat the next morning.

You must reverse the process you used to get on the top bunk to get off the top bunk, because you really can’t turn around to face the ladder and, once there, you’d just have to turn around again to get your feet on the rungs.  So you scoot or crawl backwards to get to the ladder.  Watch your head if you want to sit on the edge though.  I had a tendency to sit on the edge first so that I could see where I was putting my foot and I bumped my head quite a few times.  I would then put my foot on a rung, twist with my weight on that foot, swing around to face the ladder and climb down.  Yeah, it was as awkward to do as it sounds.  I felt like I was swinging my butt over thin air and holding on with my fingertips until I got my balance. 

Ladies, let me warn you about something. Don’t even think about putting makeup on after you wake up.  It will NOT work until you get to a stopover longer than a few minutes.  The motion that was so much fun the day before is NOT conducive to delicate work, which does include putting on mascara and handwriting.  Typing works but handwriting is very difficult to read later and holding anything next to your eye is dangerous!

It was a much more exciting day on Wednesday.  At some point, we hit something on the track and had to stop to check some hose in-between two cars.  It didn’t take long but it slowed us down.  The most interesting part was when we stopped in Springfield, IL.  Yeah, a state capital must mean more security or something.   I first noticed a TSA guy patrolling up and down outside of the train.  Ok, I could accept that, being the state capital and all.  But then we saw 6-8 people, both men and women, with TSA, FBI, and BOMB SQUAD stenciled on the back of their dark uniforms.  Oh, my goodness.  They slowly strolled down the aisle of the train, all in a line, heading toward the engine. Some eventually returned to sit in the Sightseer car with us but not all of them.  We never did find out what they were doing, whether they were just commuting to work somewhere or whether they were checking out the train or what.  I can tell you that it made a lot of people nervous until the group started relaxing in the Sightseer car along with the rest of us.  It seems once they made a trip through the train, they could sit and laugh and talk.

                             … to be continued

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2 responses to “On The Way to Chicago

  1. And Roger and I were thinking about taking a cross country train ride. Sounds like we had better re-think. I cannot sleep on an airplane – so I do not think I would get any sleep on the train.

  2. Ah, Jen, just keep reading. You may change your mind yet again! 🙂