Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Getting ready for a train ride

It's less than two weeks until we will be getting on a train and going to the Grand Canyon.  The ticket vouchers are printed.  

Cliff and I have agreed that we should go to Union Station ahead of time and make sure we knew exactly where to go and what to do.  Yesterday Cora wasn't here because her dad couldn't work due to rain, and we decided to get it over with.

Because of our Amtrak departure and arrival times, we've decided the only practical thing to do is leave our car in the parking garage while we're gone:  It's only $10 daily and we'll only be gone for five days.  However, we'll be arriving after dark, and we didn't want to grope around looking for the proper place to park.  

We are such babies in the city, but the GPS is usually a big help.  Yesterday, there was a little glitch.  Sometimes, once you are in the general vicinity of a location, the GPS assumes you're close enough and tells you you have arrived.  We saw the entry to a parking garage, it was right at the checkered flag that said we had arrived, and we turned in.  Cliff put $2 in a slot and received a little card.  We cruised through the place and saw nothing but reserved parking.  What's up with that?  

Ten minutes later we were totally lost inside the parking garage and still hadn't found anything having to do with Union Station.  Finally we saw a man who was there to fix somebody's windshield; he directed us to the nearest exit and tried to tell us how to get to the proper parking garage.  We were in an area that was for Blue Cross/Blue Shield workers and employees of another business.  He told us to go to the exit, push a button, and an attendant would tell us what to do.  It's a good thing he told us about the button or we'd still be stuck in there, because the button wasn't that easy to see.  

Stuff like this really gets to Cliff.  He was fit to be tied, and when he's upset, so am I.  We'd wasted ten or fifteen minutes lost in a parking garage and spent $2 in the process, but thanks to the attendant who answered our call after we pushed the button, we found our way out.  At this point Cliff wasn't up to hunting for the proper parking spot.  We just parked out in the open in front of Union Station and went to locate the Amtrak office.

 Just inside the door is an electronic screen that is supposed to tell you where various things are in the building when you touch it, but it wasn't working.  A pleasant lady with a baby in a stroller said, "It wouldn't work for me either."  

The lady, a former school teacher, was in Kansas City to do a little sight-seeing with her granddaughter, who looked to be no older than three months.  They had gone to Nelson Art Gallery, but it's closed on Monday.  I told her the World War I museum was right across the street from us, and that it's the best thing to see in Kansas City.  She said the Uber guy driving her to the station had said the same thing, but she thought her granddaughter would have enjoyed the art gallery more.  However, with two recommendations, maybe she'd go there.  

Cliff and I had to laugh about this later, because that baby was not old enough to know the difference between an art gallery and a war museum.  When Cora was that age and we took her someplace, she was just happy being pushed around in a stroller in a new place and meeting strange people who smiled at her, talking in high-pitched voices and acting silly.  

Unfortunately, after we parted ways, I remembered that the war museum is also closed on Mondays.  Poor lady, and she told us she had never seen any Kansas City sights.  Folks, make a note of this:  There is not much to see in Kansas City on Mondays.

I spotted the Amtrak ticket office.  We went in, I showed the guy in the ticket window my voucher and asked if that was all we needed to board the train.  He said it was.  He also went over some rules with us, and said, "Oh, I see your meals are included.  Be sure to get the most expensive items on the menu."  

Alrighty then.

When we stepped out of Union Station, we noticed a smiling man who was obviously there to help country bumpkins, told him our plans, and asked him about parking.  He pointed the way to the proper parking garage entry and told us to just go on in, take a card, and drive around, because the first thirty minutes are free.  We could have kissed him.

So now we are prepared for our big adventure.  I truly wish I had spent another pocketful of money when I was planning it, because we are going to be spending as much time on trains as we are at Grand Canyon.  How come it takes a train 24 hours to get there?  However, the train will be part of the experience, because we've never traveled by train.  Looks like we'll be eating high on the hog both going and coming back, and we'll have a place to sleep.  We can also go up high in the observation car and watch the world go by... wait, won't that be Kansas?  

That's OK, I'm excited anyhow.  Happy anniversary to us!


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It was a good idea to check things out ahead of time. Sounds like a great trip !

Ramona I. Lynam said...

I'm excited for you and will be looking forward to your blogs about your trip. Taking a train trip is something I've always wanted to do. Happy Anniversary.

Jean said...

Happy Anniversary to you and Cliff!! Sounds like a great trip to take.

Carlene Noggle said...

Oh I have always wanted to ride a train!!! I am glad you were smart enough to go early to the train station, because you may have been late riding around that other parking lot!! Pleas post lots of pictures! I hope you can take some on the train too!! HAVE FUN!

Jackie said...

I checked out the menu, and unless all I saw was a children's menu, they really don't give you much of a choice. Mac and cheese, hot dog, and a salad as a side. Is that the entire menu both to and fro? I've never been on a train, and when I've seen movies with people traveling on them, they always seemed to be eating chicken or some other kind of meat. I guess it's like Airplanes....it's hard to keep the food from spoiling so they have to make it simple, unless your traveling first class, which is another thing I've never done! lol Anyway, I do hope you and Cliff have a wonderful trip to the Grand Canyon. I have been there and it's breathtakingly beautiful. :)

Donna Wood said...

Jackie, you should have scrolled down.

Jackie said...

Ohhhh....okay! Now we're talking! You will be eating high on the hog! :) Happy Anniversary!!


It sounds like a FUN and EXCITING trip. Getting a feel for the area in the daytime was the right thing to do. Glad you finally found the parking garage.

krueth said...

What a fun trip you will have. you can eat your hotdog too..ha! Looks like they have a lot of good choices to eat though! When we went to las Vegas in January we were going to make a daytrip to the Grand Canyon but it was snowing each day in the canyons and we didn't come from northern Minnesnowta to go see snow falling. LOL Glad you got the parking garage figured out ahead of time, that was a good idea to do that. Wendy