It was Sunday already! Where did the time go? It seems we just got to Chicago and it was time to come home. It was cold but overall the weather had been great. No rain. No snow. No ice. Now, it was time to get packed and head back to Union Station for the ride home. But first, we went for breakfast, because I knew we wouldn’t get lunch on the train.
Everything at Embassy Suites is in a buffet line so there are no servers per se. There were, however, people who keep the tables cleared and cleaned. For the past 2 days, we had a woman named Shirley and, believe me, her Mississippi roots were showing in abundance. She had that wonderful Southern charm and was helpful to everyone, explaining how the buffet worked, where everything was, and what lines were for what food. And she was always stopping at tables along her way to ask if there was anything they needed. What a wonderful woman! Thank you so much, Shirley.
We are newbies when it comes to train travel, so I wanted to get to Union Station early. This time, I was determined to check my HUGE suitcase. No more hauling that sucker up those skinny stairs for me, no siree! After that was accomplished (whew!), they directed us to the Metropolitan Lounge. By reserving a sleeper, we were to wait in the lounge. Now, this wasn’t the Admiral’s Club at American Airlines but it wasn’t bad. There were couches and chairs, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary juice, coffee, and pretzels. We could’ve gone out into the train station and gotten lunch, since we had gotten there early but we had such a big breakfast that neither one of us were hungry at that time.
We started boarding at 1:20 pm and we departed on time at 1:45 pm. We actually had the same sleeper that we’d had on the way to Chicago. No, it wasn’t actually the same train but the room was in the same location, in relation to the dining car and sightseer car. Yes, there were the same skinny stairs, the same great food, and the same difficulty in walking while the train was moving! And, yes, it was just as much fun and peaceful as the trip up north had been. I slept just as good going home. I didn’t hear Ed complaining quite as much about the motion and lights flying by the window so I THINK it was a little better for him too. Of course, it helped that we were heading home. We could’ve been sleeping on pins and needles and I wouldn’t have cared.
By and large, the trip was uneventful. No TSA/FBI/BOMB SQUAD members boarding or debarking at Springfield this time. There was one little issue that occurred Monday. It is definitely funny now but it sure wasn’t then! We sat in the sightseer car for a while after lunch and I went back to the sleeper before Ed. The first stop I made was to the bathroom/shower and there was no light. Huh??? Check the light switch, which is around the corner by the sink. No, it was flipped on but I flipped it off and then back on anyway. Nope, no light. Bummer. Hmmm. I really had to go, so this was a problem.
By the time that Ed got there, I was sitting there holding the mini-flashlight that I always carry in my purse. “If you’re going in there,” pointing to the bathroom, “you might want to take this with you.” No, he couldn’t get the light to work either and we were close enough to home that we didn’t call anyone to come fix it. We just suffered through the last 2 hours. I figured they would notice the burned out light when they cleaned the sleeper after we left.
… to be continued