My love affair with Amtrak may be over. After telling everyone I know how much I love train travel and having mostly painless trips myself (while friends and family have had delays, including one due to “an armed robbery ahead on the track” – not exactly a confidence booster), the travel karma gods have finally caught up with me. I made a quick visit home for Memorial Day weekend and my return train trip was delayed by nearly four hours.

Delayed four hours, mind you, before we even got on the train. It’s Monday evening, I’m on the train, and I have no idea what the final hour count will be. More than four hours, that’s for sure, because we’ve been stopped on and off for the three and a half hours I’ve been on the train, and I’m not entirely sure we’ve hit the station we were meant to at the hour and a half mark.
It’s been a pleasant ride otherwise – lots of leg room on this train, they came around with snacks and water, the sun is shining, I have plenty of reading material (if no internet connection) – but I’m not too thrilled about the fact that it may be 10 or 11 p.m. by the time I make it to my apartment. I’m not letting myself consider that it could be later than that – I’ve got a long ride ahead of me and I need to enjoy at least some of it.
I got to spend a little extra time with my parents this morning – we took a ride and went to a park, walked around, got some Vitamin D – but if we’d known my train would board at 1:45 instead of 10 a.m., we might have gone out for a full breakfast instead of making a quick stop for bagels. My dad would’ve finished his coffee, I would’ve finished my orange juice. Hell, I might’ve slept in a little, called a friend I hadn’t managed to see, hung out at home with the puppy a bit longer.
But here’s the thing. The travel karma gods have caught up with me before. A few years ago, within a six-month period I had one Friday night flight canceled (on my birthday weekend, no less) and two others hideously delayed. I swore never to fly on a Friday night again (a promise I may have kept, I can’t remember), and since then have had mostly good travels, with only minor delays. So I was due for another round, and considering I have a vacation on the horizon with (count them) sevenflights in a ten day period, I’m really hoping this insanely delayed Amtrak train will pay my debt this time around.
If it does, Amtrak, you’ll be back in my good books. And let’s be honest – I’d rather spend a delay hanging out with my parents, or even on a train, than stuck in an airport any day. This seat is pretty darn comfortable and the trees outside my window are a beautiful green.
From my couch, the next day, I regret to say that the final delay was five and half hours. I got to Penn Station at midnight and hopped in a cab. Yesterday was a long day, today was a long day, but I have one nice thing to say for Amtrak: they fed us some stew at dinnertime. Considering I’d pretty much only eaten bagels, an apple, and brownies up until that point, that earned them a few points.
But I’m back now, after a really nice weekend. And while I was home I got to hang out with our adorable dog, so it’s still a win.