Traveling has it's challenges - and for those of us that are old enough to have been through it all, when we face an unusual challenge - or something different - we take notice.
Last week I experienced some highs and lows of travel alternative means in the United States. I have to believe that there are many other places in the world that suck as bad as some of these experiences - but we are lucky to have the good as much as we do. We get caught up in all the pain and suffering - but in the end it is not all that bad.
Car: Up bright and early to get to the airport, I rise from my slumber at 03:00 to depart for the airport. It is actually a nice time to drive - peaceful and limited traffic - until you reach the Boston area which rises real early to beat the heavy traffic. However, no delays, so I make it on time.
Plane: An unexpected upgrade to first class is the start to a trip everyone wants. Easy boarding, easy overhead space grabbing, a cup of joe before departing and then some shut eye as we make our way to Chicago.
Subway: So this worked out as easily as one would expect in a major US city - no changes from the blue line - departure about five minutes after sitting. Not a short ride with all the stops and the distance - but it might have beat the traffic I saw outside the window. And for $5 it was a deal for sure.
Train: This is where I have fun. I have written here before I am a closet train buff. I love taking trains - and I do not go cheap. I take the sleeper so I my space to work, think and sleep. All my meals are included - and it is the quiet time when I wonder about things in life and business that can be done better.
This trip I was able to obtain a bedroom sleeper, which is larger than the sleeperette that I have had in the past. It has a large couch and my own sink, toilet and shower in my room. It was nice but too large for just me. It was all going just fine until we were about to reach Salt Lake City.
It was then we heard of a derailment ahead of us on the tracks that would affect our trip. We would have to take a bus from Salt Lake City to Reno. 8 hours. In a bus. From Midnight to 8a.
Grayhound: This is where it got ugly. Awful. Like so bad I thought I was going to have to be taken to a psycho ward at some local hospital in Utah. Or Reno. Terrible. The worse seats ever made in the history of mankind. Rocks would have been better. And for all you air travelers out there, you thought airline coach seats were bad? They are like first class seats when compared to these seats. No place to put your legs. I am six feet tall. I have said enough.
Reno: Then we have a two hour delay in Reno - which is not a bad place to stop if you like playing cards. Like me. A quick profit of $200 and I was back on the train.
Train: Now the trains are old - they have been used very well over the years - but this car that I was in from Reno to California was beyond old - this one needed to be retired. Duct Tape all over the place - dirt in the cracks from 1970. It was not good. But at least I could move my legs and feel the blood flowing again after that bus ride from hell.
Plane: Some work in the bay area and before I knew it I was back on the plane - again the unexpected upgrade - red eye back east - and some funny service, but the journey was over.
Message: Plane travel is not that bad. Subways save you lots of money and maybe time. Trains are good option if you have patience and time. Put your business travelers that bitch all the time on a bus. That will ground them.