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Amtrak to St. Louis

Written 4-3-96

In the spring of 1989, after hearing all the good things about Amtrak, Norma (a sister) and I decided to make a carefree trip to St. Louis to visit Esther (another sister). We would not have to worry about having car trouble, watching road signs, where to buy gasoline, where to stop for lunch, etc. etc. We were able to get on the train at Portage, but since we didn't know anyone there, we decided to take the bus to Milwaukee, stay overnight with Margie, (a niece), and head out to St. Louis the next day. This way we could "kill two birds with one stone", and have a short visit with Margie too.

After getting on the train the next day, we got ourselves all settled in for a comfortable ride to St. Louis. Not so! The train was noisy, and we were jostled back and forth as it rattled along the tracks. When we reached Chicago, we had to change trains. As the train pulled into the station, we had a long way to walk, as we were in one of the rear cars. Jokingly we stated that we could have walked from Milwaukee. We had to handle our own luggage and had to hurry to make connections with our train to St. Louis. We made our train on time, but were all worn out when we got there, and instead of a restful trip the rest of the way, we continued the jostling and the noise. The folks met us at the Amtrak station and we had an enjoyable stay in their home.

When it was time to go home, we decided not to go through that again, so we turned in our tickets and purchased one-way tickets on the Greyhound bus. This was no better. The bus traveled at night, getting us into Union Station in Chicago somewhere around 1:00 A.M.

When we got there, the shops were all closed and we couldn't find any place to get a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. Our bus for Milwaukee didn't leave until 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. So there we were stuck in the Union Bus Station between 1:00 and 6:00 A.M. There were very few travelers around, but the station was occupied by all kinds of homeless people. It was undesirable and scary to say the least.

Under the circumstances, we were unable to sleep, but the hours finally passed as we awaited the arrival of morning so we could get out of this place. When we got to Milwaukee, we had to change buses again to get to Wausau. We finally got home after 24 hours of traveling. We decided that neither Amtrak nor Greyhound was the right way for us to travel. It surely was easier to go by car. From then on that is how we went, even though it it a long and taxing drive. Guess we'd rather put up with the worries we had about the car rather than all the problems with trains and buses.