Monday, August 27, 2012

Marcy's Travel Blog! The Long Awaited Train Trip- With Guest Blogger, Evan!

Three years ago I was telling my grandson Evan stories from my childhood. Since my step-father was an engineer on the railroad, we often took train trips. Some of my stories revolved around these trips, and Evan was fascinated, hoping that one day we too could take a train somewhere.

Thus started our planning, thinking, and dreaming. We didn't need to start on a long trip, but where to go? Chicago? Toronto? I needed to find somewhere that had a special attraction for a young boy. Finally we decided on Kalamazoo. It was not a great distance, had a really interesting museum, and a castle where we could spend the night! Between Evan's busy schedule and mine, we had to keep changing the date- but finally came up with a viable plan!

The following is Evan's trip, from his point of view. As always, a child's view is interesting, amusing, and sometimes has some surprising insight!

From Evan:

Our train was leaving from Ann Arbor early in the morning- a bit before 8 a.m.!  I was really too excited to get to sleep the night before. So Nonna Marcy (grandma) had to call me several times to wake me up! (Two billion times, it seemed!)  Good thing I'm a quick dresser! I was completely ready in a half an hour! We left the house at 6:30 in the morning! I remember trees blurring by the car as we got on the expressway, then fell back to sleep! (Good thing Nonna didn't need my help to drive!)

Me- with Don, the nice ticket agent that helped us!
When we got to the Amtrak station, Nonna went in to find out where to park. The parking by the station had a 4 hour limit! She talked to the agent, a really nice man named Don, who realized that all the stairs we'd have to take from free parking-with our roller bag, and Nonna's sore shoulder- well, it would've been hard. He gave her a slip of paper that let us park in the close parking lot- which was really nice of him!

I was really excited, and wanted to stand outside and watch for when the train came! I saw it before Nonna Marcy did! We've been waiting a long time to take this trip! (Three years is a LONG time when you"re a kid!) I have been trying to imagine what it would be like to ride on a train. Even though Nonna had told me stories, I was excited to see for myself!

Nonna said that because this was a special- long awaited trip, we were going "Business Class"! The seats are really nice and large. And (most important to a boy my age), Business Class is right next to the snack car!

For a little while, I just stared out the window! This was so cool! It's a whole different way to see the country side! Nonna said it was hard to get a clear picture outside, it always came out a bit blurry- but you get the idea.

It wasn't very long before I wanted to try out the snack car! We actually had huge windows and a booth to sit at while we ate! I think this was my favorite seat on the train! Sitting in a booth- eating- while on a train! Such fun!

The man behind the kitchen counter is Adron Kmighton- Lead Service Attendant. He took care of us on our way to Kalamazoo- and answered any questions we had. Thank you, Adron!

On the left is Dallas, head conductor. The man on the right is Terry, assistant conductor. They have two way radios - and also use hand signals to communicate with the engineer. We couldn't speak to the engineer, nor see up in the engine. Since 9/11- security won't let anyone up there. Oh well.

Nonna Marcy pointed out the window! There were all sorts of colored hot air balloons, rising from the horizon! That was unexpected, and made the ride even more fun!

Nonna did the best she could, but this picture came out a bit blurry too. Oh well, she tried!

We made a few stops along the way. When we stopped at Battle Creek, the Conductors got off and this lady conductor got on. We didn't get her name. When we were approaching Kalamazoo, this lady insisted we go stand by the door before the train stopped. Nonna Marcy's very safety conscious, and didn't like the idea- but the lady kept saying "come on- come on!" so we stood up and went forward to the door. When the train stopped, it jostled everyone- including a woman holding a baby. Nonna Marcy says she understands Amtrak wanting to keep to a schedule, but it should be safety first! Next time we don't stand up until the train stops! (Like on the airplanes Nonna Marcy use to work on!

I LOVED riding on the train! Nonna and I decided that "someday" we'll go all the way to California on a bullet train- where you can sleep and eat on the train for days! That would be SO cool!! Next blog I'll tell you about my day in Kalamazoo! It was packed with a lot of fun and interesting things to see and do! I hope you enjoyed this blog- and hope you'll join me next time!! As Nonna Marcy says- Until then!


Susan Lois Metler Henry said...

Dear Eric,
Thank you so much for your wonderful descriptions of your trip to Kalamazoo. I really appreciate your sharing your viewpoints and experience with us. I am eagerly awaiting the write-up on the next phase of your journey!

Marcy said...

Thank you for your comment, Susan! Evan and I have had some wonderful times together! He's a delight to travel with- because nothing is "boring" to him! (Thank goodness!) The next couple of blogs are going to be so fun- and from his point of view!