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Ron & Julie "Snowplow & Rubber Legs" Cluster
Begins: Apr 12, 2009
Entry Visits: 742
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Home for a bit
We are home. Ended up riding the Greyhound instead of Amtrak. Slightly faster but more money and nowhere near as comfortable. Here's the rest of the story...
When I booked the Amtrak tickets from Victorville to Eugene, the agent told me that the station is not a manned station but just a little shelter by the tracks. We would get on the bus there and pick up our actual tickets in Bakersfield. OK, no problem. We had everything lined up so we went down and soaked in the hot tub at the Best Western. That felt great. Up early the next morning to catch our taxi ride to Victorville. He was on time and dropped us off at the Amtrak Victorville Train Station, which is what the little shelter said, at about 8:00 am. The bus was due to leave at 9:20 so we had plently of time. Watched a few trains go by as the clocked ticked slowly around to 9:20, and then past 9:20, and then closing in on 10:00. No bus. Hmmm. Better call Amtrak. Was told the bus departed on time at 9:20 and had picked up 1 passenger. Ummm....we have been here since 8:00 am and there has been no bus come by. It's a vacant lot with this little shelter near the tracks, Amtrak signs on it and on the vacant lot entrance. What's the deal here? Amtrak guy confirms the address we are at, it is correct. Confirms that we are on the corner of Hwy 18 and D street, which we are. THEN he says that the bus leaves from the "CT" building. What the &%$ @# is a "CT" building I ask? He has to look that up. Says it's a "Community Transit" building a block away. Does the Amtrak website say that? No it does not. There is a transit station on the next block that has had local buses going in and out of it. And there is a Greyhound bus pulling in there now. No Amtrak signs there and no signs on this little shelter where we are at saying the Amtrak bus doesn't leave from here.
Great. So I tell the Amtrak guy that he has 6 hours to get us to Bakersfield (which is plenty of time) to make our train connection and I don't care how he does it. Doesn't matter. He's not going to help. I make it clear that I consider this problem Amtrak's fault because we waited where we were told to wait and there isn't even a sign here that says the bus doesn't stop here. Doesn't matter. He offers to reschedule us for tomorrow. I ask if Amtrak will put us up in a hotel for the night because of their screw up. No, they won't do that. I tell him that now I understand why people fly instead of taking the train. At least when the airlines screw up they put you up for the night, or give you a free ticket. I tell him to refund the full amount of the ticket and I will find another way to get to Eugene. In hindsight, I should have probably re-booked for the next day because the only alternative I could find was Greyhound.
The bus maybe isn't so bad if you're travelling a short distance, and if you're not in Southern California. As it was, we got tickets from Victorville to Eugene on the bus which cost more than Amtrak. Yep, more than the train. We had to go back to LA, change buses, up I-5 to Sacramento, change buses and then up I-5 to Eugene. About 20 hours sitting with just a few rest stops to get out and stretch the legs. I think that was harder on us than any piece of the trail so far. We will probably take the train back down when we go. Our son has suggested the idea of driving us back down but I'm not sure I really want to do that. We'll figure that out later.
It rained a little on the short drive home from bus station. Amazing. Everything is green and blooming. We have hot running water at our demand. We don't have to dig a hole, just have to remember to flush. Don't have to look for a flat spot to sleep or a shady spot to eat lunch. Will we be able to leave this in a couple of weeks? Yes, we will. We want to get back out on the trail. My knees and lower legs hurt for the first time in many days. They are used to walking and now they are doing NOTHING. They are not happy. So yes, we will continue as soon as Julie's foot is healed, which it is doing. There doesn't appear to be any sign of infection so we just have to give it time to rebuild.
We will see our family and friends while we are in town and will look through the photos we have taken (yes, I'll get a few more posted also). I, along with our Son and my Dad, are thinking of going up to Odell lake and doing some fishing. We talk about that every year but we rarely do it. Seems like the right time. And I am going to write a letter of complaint to Amtrak. It will make me feel better but that's about all that I expect will come of it.
To our hiker friends we have met, we are looking forward to seeing you again in a couple of weeks and we pray that you continue to have safe footsteps.
Ron & Julie On The PCT - 2009
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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