Our trip home...and no train!

Annapolis Travel Blog

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Courtnie & Lena on the bus on our way home. This pic was actually taken in Florence, S.C.

19 July 2008


Today we have to pack up and leave. We had such a good time here and I’m not looking forward to going back to work. It will be nice to get back home and sleep in our own bed again, and see our kitty who I’m sure is missing us very much!


After getting everything packed and in the car, it was time to say goodbye and head back to the dreaded town of Florence. The only good thing this time is we can leave the rental car at the train station and they will pick it up from there. I had forgotten, well almost forgotten, all the bad stuff that happened to us getting here. We only had the one incident on the roller coaster during our stay in Myrtle Beach, so our stay here was basically trouble free. It was just the getting here part that sucked! But, it was time to go back and I was thinking, it couldn’t be worse on the return trip, but was I wrong!!


When we pulled into the parking lot at the train station, there were two Amtrak employees leaving the station and they said we might want to go in before we unload the car because the train was late.

Mike & me on the bus on our way home. This pic was actually taken in Florence, S.C.
Our train was scheduled to leave Florence at 11:30am and arrive in Washington D.C at 8:00pm. There we had a 2 hour lay over before our train to Baltimore was to leave.


We went into the station and asked about our train and we were told the train was late and they had no information at this time as to when the train would be arriving. Oh great, here we go again!! We waited in the station about 30 minutes before they made the announcement that the train was broke down and would not be coming to pick us up! What!! Not coming at all!!! We were then told they were sending a bus to pick us up and it would be arriving there between 1:30 pm and 2:00 pm. It would then take us to Washington D.C. with a stop in Dillon, S.C to pick up a few passengers, and then a stop in Richmond, Virginia to drop off those that were scheduled to get off there. When we told them we had a train to Baltimore to catch in Washington, they told us we would be in Washington on time to get that train. I thought, no way will we make that train to Baltimore! We missed a plane to Baltimore once and had to take the next plane which took us to Washington instead. We ended up renting a car for $36.00 instead of the $100.00 taxi ride. So, as long as we get to Washington, I didn’t care because we would just rent a car and drive home from there if we didn’t get to Washington in time to get on our train to Baltimore.


After this announcement was made, we decided to get back in the rental car, lucky we still had the keys, and find a place to have lunch. We had also packed a lot of snacks and some drinks, including a few beers, for the train ride back, so as long as we ate lunch, we wouldn’t be hungry on the bus.


When we returned to the train station after eating lunch, we just sat and waited for the bus to show up. The two employees at the station even had pizza delivered there to feed all of us that were waiting, but I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t want to stuff myself knowing what the bathrooms on a bus are like…yuck!

The bus finally arrived at 2:30 pm and we were off. The bus was a standard tour bus with cloth reclining seats and foot rest. The bus was full, but there was still plenty of room as there weren’t very many of us, so some people had two seats to them selves. Even when we picked up four other people in Dillon, there was still plenty of room.


The trip to Dillon only took 30 minutes, where we stopped and picked up four more passengers. I remember the train ride from Dillon to Florence taking more like 1-1/2 hours, so the bus was defiantly faster so far. There was hope after all!!


The drive to Richmond was long and boring, but not as long of a trip as it took on the train. You would think a train would be faster, but it does make a lot of stops. I’m sure glad I packed a few beers and all those snacks! It made the trip much more bearable. All the passengers were quiet for most of the trip, and the few small children on board must have been sleeping, because I do not remember hearing them. So far, this trip was much quieter than the trip down J


When we arrived in Richmond, a few people got off the train for this was their stop. But, a lot of other people got off to use the bathroom, get a snack or something to drink from inside the train station, or just to have a smoke. We seemed to be there longer than we should have been, because as a few people would get off and back on, more people would decide to get off. I was not happy and wanted to get back on the road so we didn’t miss our train. Finally, after about 20 or 30 minutes, we were back on the road headed to Washington D.C.!


The trip to Washington went well and we pulled in to Union Station with 20 minutes to spare. This was the last stop and every one was getting off the bus, so there was a lot of crowding around the luggage compartment with everyone trying to get their bags. Once we had our bags, we quickly walked inside and found our gate. We made it and had 10 minutes before the train was supposed to leave!!! The departure time of 10:00 pm finally arrives, we were in line at the gate, and an announcement was made that our train was running late and it would be here in 15 or 20 minutes. Another late train, great!! But we were here and as long as we got on it and we got to Baltimore where our car was, I didn’t care. It was late and I was tired!


Finally the train arrived and we got on, all was good. We arrived in Baltimore around 11:15 pm and made our way to the parking garage and quickly found our car. We drove the kids to their house in Davidsonville, Md. first and dropped them off around midnight, and then drove ourselves home. It was so good to be home!! Our kitty Raven came running down the stairs meowing and purring to meet us. I think she was happy we were home too!!  I guess the neighbor coming over to check on her every day wasn’t good enough for her.


Well that’s it! We had a great time and look forward to going. We also decided that taking a train to NYC is one thing, but never again will we use the train for a long distance trip! We’ll fly, or we’ll drive and we’ll just have to make lots of stops along the way, but that trip will keep me off the trains for a while, here in the U.S. anyway!

I hope you enjoyed reading about all of our adventures and find something here useful in your own travels. Please make lots of comments and smiles, and safe travels to you all J


Mark, Lena, Courtnie & Mike





missandrea81 says:
Good god! No I know why Americans are against train travel. No wonder! It doesn't seem very reliable!
Posted on: Aug 07, 2008
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Courtnie & Lena on the bus on our …
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