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Diary of an Escort – The End January 15, 2010

Posted by Fritz in Travel.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I was really dreading having to spend more time in my coach seat and I decided I would stay up in the Lounge car as long as humanly possible. I had fully charged my phone which served as my Ipod so I knew I had plenty of music. Besides I also needed to start thinking about my duties when we arrived in L.A. I was after all escorting this tour and needed to get my charges and their baggage off the train and onto a bus when we arrived.

2010 Rose Bowl Champs

Knowing we were at least three and a half hours delayed, I was worried about our bus rendezvous at Union Station. The nice thing about working a tour in a major city is most everything works 24 hours. The bus company we had contracted with had 24-hour dispatch so I was able to call and give them the heads up we would be later than our scheduled arrival. My biggest problem was finding cell service. At this point we were crossing no mans land west of Phoenix and I hadn’t seen a bar of service on my phone for over two hours. It was somewhere between Kingman and Needles I found service and was able to make my call.

The terrain had now flattened out and I could see on the map that we were heading for a long stretch of straight. I figured we would make up some time through the night since the run looked fast and the track was smooth. I settled back in a booth in the Lounge car and dozed off to some Lucinda Williams crooning in my ears.  I ended up sleeping a couple of hours sitting mostly upright in the booth seat, wedged against the table and the window. It was just after 1am Pacific time when I finally relented and headed back for my seat next to Pat. We had been scheduled to arrive at 8:15 but I knew we wouldn’t see L.A. until at least 10:30.

Pat was awake and talking on the phone when I arrived. What a surprise. I had thought by now someone would have muzzled her late night talking. My annoyance was short lived when I discovered her son was not doing well and was in the emergency room in intensive care. His fever and convulsions were serious. It was hard to be mad at someone who was enduring such stress.

I ended up sleeping for almost 4 hours. I had to make a return call to the bus dispatch at 5am to give them an update and Greg had announced he would be opening the snack bar early so coffee would be available by then. I had brought along a Garmin GPS courtesy of my boss and had been playing with it off and on through out the trip. I was able to track our journey and it did give me a rough ETA based on traveling the nearest roads. Once up, I headed to the Lounge car and got a hot cup of Greg’s joe. I fired up the GPS to get the latest estimates on our arrival and made my update call to dispatch.

The GPS guessed we would arrive at 9:30. I knew that was awfully ambitious seeing we were over three hours behind at one point and it was not factoring in our scheduled stops. In addition it had us cruising along the highway we were roughly following to L.A. One of the cool features the GPS has is maximum speed attained during a trip. It seems during our overnight run through the desert we topped out at 92.1mph!

I did some math and guessed our arrival would be more like 10:30. I would have to wait for the formal announcement from the Conductor, later in the morning, for an official time.

Even with a cup of coffee in me I managed to slip back into unconsciousness while in the Lounge car. I guess I had become accustomed to the art of sleeping while sitting. When I awoke the car had started to fill with other early risers. I wondered if they too had issues with their coach seats or maybe their seat mates. Persephone now joined me. Still wearing his Navy Pea coat, buttoned to the neck. His hair a bit more disheveled than usual but then we all were ready for showers. We talked and played cards and stared out the windows watching the sun coming up. We both knew our journey’s were nearing their end.

The Conductor had waited till almost 8am to make his announcement. We were now scheduled to arrive L.A. at 10:45. We still had several stops to make including Fullerton which would be the stop where Pat would get off. During one of her hundreds of calls, she had talked to one of her sisters who lived there and asked her to pick her up. Her plan was to then drive to see her son in the hospital in L.A. She assured me she would be in L.A. long before we were.

The final 2 and a half hours went by quickly. I packed up my little world in and around seat 19 and made sure my people were ready to depart. I wished Pat and her son well as she departed at Fullerton. Persephone and his mom had packed up their stuff too but they were only switching trains in L.A. They lived in Alameda, outside San Fran, and wouldn’t get home till after 6pm. I stopped at their seats and offered a formal goodbye. I sincerely enjoyed their company and made a point to tell Mom what a good kid she had. I could tell Persephone was a bit embarrassed but also a bit proud.

Our journey finally ended at almost exactly 10:45 on track 11. Our bus was waiting for us in an uncharacteristically cold, Southern California drizzle. We arrived at our hotel, greeted by the rest of the Prime staff and my bunch of Buckeye’s now melded together with the other 140 that had arrived in California by other means.

The rest of the tour came off flawlessly including an Ohio State win over Oregon for their first Rose Bowl victory in 13 years.

A truly memorable exploit made better by the experience of meeting such wonderful people. I thank you all for the cool adventure and wish you all a wonderful life.

If you have a group that likes to travel by train or any other method, call Prime Tours today and let us put together a trip you’ll never forget.



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