Tuesday, March 6, 2012

the trip home (lyn)

I love taking the train.  But Bolt Bus and its competitors have made it impossible to justify.  Free wi-fi, comfortable seats, and a $19 (or less) ticket have made me a reluctant bus-convert. 

I have a 9am reservation on a bus from Providence to New York.  My mom generously offers to pay for a driver to take me to Providence. The driver arrives a few minutes late because he can’t find my parent’s house.  I step outside when I see a car slowly passing by.  I wave to the driver; he continues by me.  Not a good sign.  Finally, I yell out to the car.  “Hey, are you looking for…”  He hears me, and pulls over.  Paul, the driver, is apologetic.

In deference to my mom, I’ve asked the driver to arrive at 7.  The trip to Providence is only 75 minutes or so.  This makes my mother happy, as she always likes to plan for every contingency.  The sky is cloudless and the sun shines brightly, but you never know.  A surprise nor’easter could suddenly appear and make the driving treacherous.

On our way out of town, we stop at a Dunkin' Donuts and pick up my last Cape splurge.  I fill my thermos with coffee, get Paul his requests, and buy a chocolate covered donut and two jelly donut holes.  We leave the Cape with plenty of time to spare.

We hit some traffic before entering Providence, which slows us down a bit.  I am taking the Megabus home, having purchased a non-refundable ticket for $14.50.  The bus stop is “on Fountain, between Eddy and Union.”  Before leaving, I call Megabus for more specificity but am told there is none.  I print out a map and assume Paul has GPS.  He doesn’t.  He also has a very poor sense of direction.  We drive in circles.  We end up back on the expressway.  We tour Providence.  We ask for directions.  And still, we cannot find the bus stop.  We run out of time.  I check and find there is a train that leaves at 10:16 from Amtrak, and costs $59.  That’s my backup.  At 9:15, we know the back-up is now the plan.

Poor Paul.  He refuses his $90 fee.  I tip him $20, but need to fight with him to get him to take it.  By the time I leave his car, I feel much worse for him than I do for me.

I get to the Amtrak window and go to pay the $59.  I’m told that the fare has just gone up  and is now $84.  Apparently, Amtrak changed their policy yesterday.  The price now increases $25 for purchases made an hour or less prior to departure.  I miss the $59 fare by minutes.    

But the good news is that I get to take the train.  I sit in the quiet car.  I have two seats to myself.  I have a tray for my coffee.  I have wi-fi for my computer.  I have a window seat with a gorgeous view of the New England shoreline.  And I have my donuts.  It is a nice trip home.  

No comments:

Post a Comment