My LifeTravel

Amtrak Failed Us: An Overnight Trip Gone Bad

I got a tale to tell about my how Amtrak failed us!

I had to travel to DC this past weekend to speak at the Blogging While Brown Conference. What had happened was: Me and my homette Patrice (aka Afrobella) decided to travel to Washington DC from Chicago on Amtrak. Our logic was that we’ve never traveled such a long distance on the train, and it’d afford us the chance to see the country. So we searched on the website and VOILA! Got our tickets.

Below is a conversation that occurred on GChat last week, after Afrobella’s Hubby Steve started asking questions. Like 2 days before our trip.

Afrobella: So Steve made a valid point by asking me: “Do you know what station your train leaves from?” ** crickets ** Do you guys have like, a bed?” ** more crickets **
Luvvie: LMAOOO umm… O___O
Afrobella: #fail
Luvvie: our train leaves from union station. I know THAT.
Afrobella: yes I just saw that LOL
Luvvie: lol
Afrobella: A roomette. We should ask about one of those ASAP. *goes to Amtrak site* “We suggest that you plan ahead and reserve your preferred sleeping accommodations early.”. SHOOT
Luvvie: F our lives LMAO
Afrobella: We gon be on a bench with a blanket LOLLL
Luvvie: hahahahaha
Afrobella: SUPER trifling. I can’t believe we didn’t even think about it
Luvvie: RIGHT!! We are dumb. Something tells me this is gon be a comical weekend. Tell Steve “HE AINT SMART CUZ HE KNOWS STUFF AND ASKS GOOD QUESTIONS!” shoo… lololol
Afrobella: I’m gonna see if there’s a 24 hr phone line
Luvvie: ok cool
Afrobella: on the phone holding 4 amtrak now
Luvvie: okie
Afrobella: Amtrak says all the rooms are sold out. “bring your own pillows and blankets”. WALLSLIDE
Luvvie: HA!
Afrobella: HOBOLIFE
Luvvie: *cackles.* I’m CRACKING up
Afrobella: I’m tweeting our epic fail. May as well teach others from our foolish ways. Steve is clowning me SO HARD.
Luvvie: LMAO!!!
Afrobella: “so Luvvie just said let’s buy train tickets! and you were like yay! what train are you on? * clicky *” ROFL
Luvvie: That ain’t even how it went! lol
Afrobella: tears are rolling down my face. OMG I so can’t tell my mom about this


Seems we were already destined for a FAIL.

When me and Patrice set out to take this train trip at 4pm on Thursday, we were super excited for what was to come. Oh the adventure. Oh the beautiful scenery. Oh fun!!! Armed with our suitcases, 2 duffel bags worth of food and snacks, our laptops and mad enthusiasm, we boarded our Amtrak train in Chicago’s Union Station. We did a jig when we sat down and saw that we had electrical outlets. Awwww snap! We can charge our gadgets! We were very much geeked by this. We settled in and I busted out the bowl of rice I had brought. Within 10 minutes, I was done and itis kicked in. Before I knew it, I was passed out! For the 1st 2 hrs of our trip, I was in a fantastic doze.

I woke up. We ate more snacks. We talked. We tweeted (well I tweeted since Afrobella’s HTC touch phone was being a hater and didn’t let her. #VivaLaBlackberry). We went through dead zones for an hour or two at a time while we rode through the boonies but we didn’t care. All was still well.

We even decided to do our nails, although it was nighttime then. The train was pretty dim too. We somehow did it, although mine came out looking SUPER sloppy. I twitpiced it and my girl @Lurrelle replied with “O_O Stevie coulda painted your nails better while joggin on a treadmill… #judgingyou #sorry lol.” She’s so RUDE. LOL

This is all hand-sketched. Dope!

Anyway, we got our blankets and went to sleep in our seats, propping up the foot rests. We woke up in the morning as we were in the West Virginia mountains. We even talked to some of our neighbors. Turns out one of them is an artist and he put on an impromptu art show, bringing out some of his pieces. Folks crowded around him as he showed some of this sketches. I was so impressed. I even bought one of the prints of his pencil sketches. It was THAT dope.

Then came the incident with the woman who cussed out the conductors for giving away her seat while she got off the train to smoke at a stop. When she said “Don’t make me turn this mother out” and took off her earrings, iCackled on the inside (It surely wasn’t gonna be on the outside. I can’t get beat up on nobody’s train). Afrobella and I watched in complete amusement.

This is the vidjo I recorded while on there, 24 hours into the trip. I look real rough. Y’all must not judge me. Kthx.

But THIS is where our love affair with Amtrak ended. We were supposed to get to DC at 4:30pm. At 4:30, we were still not even close. What made matters worse was that we had an event on the rooftop of the W to attend from 6:30 – 8:30.

*sigh* Long story short, we didn’t ARRIVE in DC until 8pm. MotherWHAT, Amtrak?!? 3.5 hours late? GAHTDAMB! We were hungry, tah’d and mad as hell that we had missed the event. All because of this. Our love story with Amtrak was over then.

Then came the part that killed the experience for me. Heading back, Afrobella and I were separated because she was assigned Lower Level seats and I was in regular coach. Little did we know that this didn’t mean the same thing. We get to the train and were separated. You mean to tell me that I have to travel ALL THESE HOURS without my friend next to me? You mean I have to sit (and sleep) by someone totally random??? But… but… *WALL SLIDE*. I wanted to cry! We were so pitiful. I felt like Celie when Mista stoned Nettie until she ran away.

ugly cry dawson gif

Anywho, to make matters worse, I get to my seat and see that I will be sharing my trip with an older Ghanaian lady who’s already proving to be difficult because she’s insisting on the aisle seat. I don’t argue with her because I actually prefer the window. Then I looked down and notice there’s no eletrical outlet. F MY LIFE! You mean to tell me that I can’t even keep myself entertained with my gadgets because there’s no where to charge them? I just wanted to do a *chair slide* unto that floor. But it was Amtrak. The only slides I could do were internal.

This was going to be a miserable trip back to Chicago. Anywho, I put my bags down and go downstairs to visit Afrobella in her seat and she’s in a little compartment with like 14 seats. And no one’s sitting next to her. So I’m like “well maybe I can move.” We ask the conductors and they shot down our hopes and dreams. I wanted to cry. My thug was halfway on the floor.

Well, I go back up all dejected and pout in my seat silently. BLAH! Me and Afrobella go browsing the rest of the train later on. We end up finding a lounge car, sit and talk for a couple of hours. When I returned to my seat, the lady sitting next to me was using my blanket. She saw me coming and went “Thank you.” HEFFA, that IMPLIED I gave you permission to begin with! iCAN’T!!! UGH!!! I wanted to cuss.

Fantasia Fights Air gif

Then to add insult to injury, it was colder than a witch’s heart in that jurnt. It was just a mess. I couldn’t wait to get back home. I’m DONE with Amtrak. I’ma stick to what I know and FLY next time. I think they killed my spirit of adventure. Just FAIL, Amtrak. FAIL!

Dear Amtrak,

I hate your stinking guts. You make me vomit. You’re scum between my toes!



P.S. My recap of the Blogging While Brown Conference is coming sometime this week too. It was SUPER DOPE though.

Edit: Afrobella just put up her recap. Getchu a piece HERE.

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  1. June 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

    HOLE UP! I’m over here cackling at the fact that you took a bowl of rice on the train with you! WDDDA? Had y’all asked ahead of time, someone would have told y’all that Amtrak is NEVER on time. I’ve had what should be a 5 hour ride from St. Louis to Chicago turn into 8 hours. Amtrak = no bueno ever

    • June 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      I sho’ll did take my rice on Amtrak. Shoo… It was gone within 10mins of me sitting down though. I murked it!

      We were HOPING Amtrak would defy all odds and be on time. Hope wept.

  2. June 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Hot damn! I would’ve packed up my life at not being able to use my gadgets on the trip back. That’s a NO GO for me. No, sir. Hopefully y’all enjoyed the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia). It’s my home and I lub it.

    • June 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm

      RIGHT! No outlet just hurt my soul. No laptop or phone? I just wanted to quit everything!

      But yes, I loved DC! Had a blast!

  3. bogart4017
    June 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Shucks, some error occurred and i can’t see your lil video. Anyway the story was very amusing. You two sound like a coupla kids running away to join the circus.
    And a bowl of rice? On the train? Seriously, are yhou from Charleston, SC? (LOL)

    • June 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      Your computer must be a hater. And yes, I had my rice. I’m African. We love rice.

  4. June 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I am trying to contain my laughter!


    When you told me Amtrak on gchat..I was like o_O. When I saw the length of two different trips, leaving an hour apart, but with a 6 hr different arrival time..i was like O_O lmao!

    • June 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      LOL! Your side-eye STAYED on 10.

  5. June 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    LuvBug: You so cute!
    LMMFFBAO at the lady thanking you for use of your blanket. {o+<} <–casket collapsed.
    Ghana Girl was CAUGHT and didn't know what else to say. But at least it was a gracious response. **shrug life**

    PS: You've kilt my dreams DEDDD of taking a cross country Amtrak trip. I had dreams of traipsing the countryside via train. And now…

    • June 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks Savvilicious! And gurl that Ghana gal had my side-eye on overdrive. UGH.

      Bout that train countryside trip… think twice. And hard. lol

  6. Cheekie
    June 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    LOL, good look on bringing the rice. That’s somethin’ I’d do. I’m like you in that I loves me some rice. Blame my Grandma, who made rice with errthang. Even spaghetti. o_O

    But dayum, I’m mad you got me all cynical and ish about Amtrak. My fam and I were planning a trip to the Grand Canyon via Amtrak. Note, that is on the opposite coast and may be different sigh-seeing, but they can be just as late. Hell, they’ll probably take advantage of that MST and be EXTRA late talmbout “Well, since it’s an hour behind, folks won’t even notice so we’re gonna take our good fine time.” *sigh* I was so Amtrak naive. Had this dream trip all imagined and ish… lol

    Lookin’ forward to the good stuff! The BWB conference recap!

    • June 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm

      A fam trip to the Canyon could be fun. Long as you know ur Amtrak train may be 5 hrs late. And w/o an outlet. Make sure yall buy ur tics together though. Lest your entire trip be lonely. WOMP.

    • Andrew
      January 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      If you’re taking an Amtrak train to the Grand Canyon, you’ll be riding on the Southwest Chief, which has been preforming much better than the train this lady rode on. Amtrak’s website has a page of each train’s on-time performance, and last time I checked, the Southwest Chief has been arriving on time 75-80% of the time, compared to the Capitol Limited, which is somewhere around %60 percent.
      75% doesn’t sound like much of an improvement, but that’s the average on time rating for the airline industry.

  7. Lite Bread
    June 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Yer Most Late Awesomelynessis,
    An’ here I was all ready to complain about my havin’ to do the Red-Eye cross-country flight.
    I’ll keep my mouth shut then.

    At least Ghana-Granny didn’t fart!

    (Oh an’ Ghana comin’ out the First round from Group D, but poor Nigeria got bounced, Hard, outta Group B).

    • June 23, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      I think I smelled a fart at one point. Ghana Granny let one loose when she ell asleep. I had forgotten til now. Thanks for nothing, Litey.

  8. June 23, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Lol I wish someone would have given u a heads up about the mess that is Amtrak, its about as on time as a whores period, I can’t stand it.

  9. June 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Lol I wish someone would have given u a heads up about the mess that is Amtrak, its about as on time as a whores period, I can’t stand it. My grandmother still travels by Amtrak because she is scared to fly but after my one expirence with a stink man in the seat next to me who sleep with his arms up, I am done with the train. And don’t even let me begin on my Greyhound horror story……lol

    • June 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm

      Greyhound is the Den of Iniquity. iCan’t gurl.

  10. June 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    No she didn’t use your blankets. Hecky nah

    • June 23, 2010 at 7:52 pm

      She shonuff did!!! I was like :-O. The nerve!

  11. […] roasting and clowning I’ve had to endure since this whole trip began. In fact – check Awesomely Luvvie’s recap for complete details via our G Chat pre […]

  12. June 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Man, Ive never had that much difficulty on an Amtrak train. Then again, Ive never traveled that far on it either. And after reading this, I never will!


    • June 23, 2010 at 7:53 pm

      HA! Yayyyy Lola! You commented like you promised!

      But yeah. Amtrak gets a NAY!

  13. June 23, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Since when is rice and chicken wings a snack???!! LOL!!

    • June 23, 2010 at 7:53 pm

      LOLLLL!!! Since I murked them in 10 mins. Ain’t that snack timing?

  14. June 24, 2010 at 1:07 am

    You are so respectful of elders! Kuddos to you. And I know it is the right thang to do but I would have gone apeshit on Granny and Febreezed her ass! LMAO Bwahahahaha now see the gangstahlicious in me would of sat in that car with my homie even tho they said I couldn’t f what you heard! o_O wow that is some type of turrible! I only do Amtrak for trips 2 DC or Philly… I can’t do anymo I can’t even do Greyhound…. my moms #swindled me into riding them to Chicago….. o_O nevah again!

    • June 29, 2010 at 4:08 am

      Gurl I wanted to cuss that Ghanaian grandma out. But I behaved. And HELL TO THE NAW on the Greyhound tip. Naw son… not me.

  15. June 24, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Hmmm…Sounds like the Carrie and Samantha’s cross country trip…

    *Looking on the bright side* Hey! At least you made it back safely!

    • June 29, 2010 at 4:07 am

      Yes. We made it back in one piece. For this, we juke for Jesus.

  16. […] began on Friday with a game night but Afrobella and I missed all those festivities because of janky Amtrak. UGH! *kicks trashcan* When we got to DC, we met Adria Richards at our hotel to complete our roomie […]

  17. June 24, 2010 at 10:29 am

    […] began on Friday with a game night but Afrobella and I missed all those festivities because of janky Amtrak. UGH! *kicks trashcan* When we got to DC, we met Adria Richards at our hotel to complete our roomie […]

  18. mrscamp
    June 24, 2010 at 11:03 am

    HI LUVVIE!!!! I love the site!!! Just FYI, NEVER trust anything Amtrak leaving from Chicago. I used to travel between Detroit and Chicago all the time on Amtrak. Once we were delayed three hours because the engine broke down. Another time, we made it all the way to where the tracks cross the Dan Ryan ON TIME, and then ended up being stuck on the train for an hour and a half because there were no tracks for the train to come in on at Union Station. Yes, it’s a beautiful ride, but don’t travel on Amtrak trying to get anywhere on time!!!!

    • June 29, 2010 at 3:53 am

      Thanks for the site love!!! 😀 And gurl who you telling? LAWD… Amtrak is just a big fail. They don’t rush (or even stay on schedule) for nothing. Wackness.

  19. Miss Sixx
    June 24, 2010 at 11:55 am

    This was the BEST amusement I’ve read in AGES!!! You and Afobella rock.. *snickering* wow.. I’m dying at ” take my earrings off” when I’m bout to set something off.. I take my earrings off.. so I know she meant bizness!!!!! hahahahahahahaha.. and the bowl of rice…LMAO!!!!! Least you were full… My 1st and last trip on a greyhound… I was 13 and the lady next to me whipped out a container of fried fish, hotsauce and wonder bread and was passing it along to her family that occupied 3 rows- WHHAAATTTT!!!! The bus smelled of fish the entire 13 hours.. JEZZ LOUISE I was miserable. I just knew that Amtrak was a better option BUT I see that I was mistaken.. Glad you ladies had a blast in DC.. and made it back to the CHI without freezer burn 🙂

    • June 29, 2010 at 3:54 am

      Aaawww!!! Thank you.

      And LAWD don’t get me started on Greyhound. THAT is the Den of iniquity. If I never see another Greyhound again, it’d be too soon.

  20. June 24, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I’m glad you had a bunch of snacks. I was on Amtrak from New Orleans to Houston from 3pm to 1am. I was supposed to get there at 8. I was on with a sick elderly who didn’t speak English and their son (who DID speak English) lift no instructions for the train staff.

    I still. made out better than my sister. She always was late taking Amtrak home since someone always committed suicide on the tracks and they had to wait for the cops, etc to show up

    • June 29, 2010 at 3:54 am

      WOWWW @ ur sister’s Amtrak luck. I’d be all scarred emotionally.

    • Andrew
      January 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      I wonder if people who try killing themselves by train do it to make an Amtrak train late and piss off a bunch of people…
      It’s a pain in the ass, but it’s something that can’t be blamed on Amtrak.
      Just a couple of days ago, a man was ran over by freight train at a crossing, and the NB Texas Eagle was delayed by 2 hours out of Austin due to the accident.

  21. June 25, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Omg… that Gchat between you and Bella completely made my day. It so sounds like the adventures of So Flyy (me) and the Flyettes (my girls). Lol. So much ratchedness.

    • June 29, 2010 at 3:55 am

      LOL. That gchat was such a mess. I was crying laughing by the end of it.

  22. June 25, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    OMG you had me rolling on the floor – especially whipping out the rice.

    Reminds me of the family sitting behind me in the movie theater who whipped out a mess of fried chicken. Had the whole theater smelling like fried chicken and greens.

    At least you didn’t drive from Chicago to the conference like I did. Big mistake – 12 hrs and people don’t mention all the tolls. Cost me $30 in tolls just to get back and forth across Ohio alone. $15 each way just to cross Ohio! And Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania had their fair share of tolls as well.

    Anyway I guess anything is better than Greyhound – LOL

    • June 29, 2010 at 4:06 am

      The rice is essential in my daily repertoire of meals. I had to bring it. Patrice just laughed at me.

      You DROVE to the conference? Wowsies. Kudos to you lol

  23. DeeDee
    June 29, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Good lawd I have not laughed so much today and it is in the weee morning hours here in San Francisco!!!

    Luvvie … gurl … you a hot sizzling mess of laughs!

    Your experience was better than mine … I rode from Cali to Wisconsin, and back. 17 zillion rings of hale. Amtrack staff are very odd, should be happy to have a job yet they are surly and mean, trying to debase their clients, whom, I think, they consider lesser than themselves.

    btw, linked over from AfroBella, peace to you both!

  24. Dr. Kiti
    July 17, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I didn’t realize people still took the train. I go back east every couple of years but my family always drives…now THERE’S an adventure for your ass!You get to see stuff, meet people, eat good food and the only person stealing your blanket is your lil cousin 😉

  25. Andrew
    January 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Sounds like you took the Cardinal from CHI to WAS, and the Capitol Limited on the way back. From what I’ve heard, the Capitol Limited is the better of the two CHI-WAS trains, but it is prone to delays on Norfolk Southern’s trackage between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
    Honestly, what bites isn’t being late, but the rude attendants on your train. Even if your train was on time, rude attendants really sour up up the experience. Delays aren’t always Amtrak’s fault, but a rude crew is unacceptable in my opinion.
    Yes, a sizable chunk of Amtrak’s staff are rude, but for some reason, a large amount of them are from the east coast or work on trains out of Chicago. hehe
    And if you think flying is better option, all these bad things (delays, rude crew) can happen too, plus now you have to worry about the TSA and their groping.

  26. […] We continue what seems to be our adventures around the country. We managed to have fun even on an Amtrak train, so I think we’re going to have A BLAST on that red carpet. We’ll be the ones looking […]

  27. katrina
    June 6, 2013 at 11:52 am

    girl i feel your pain. my daughter and i took amtrak over mothers day weekend from richmond va to savannah ga. 9 longs hours! we didnt get a sleeper car, but we totally didnt bring pillows or blankets. there was an obama look a like sitting across from us which i snapped a pic of while he was sleep. the outlets were a life save because i downloaded all my fav shows from youtube and could watch. until 10 mins in the trip my child broke her headset!!! damn it now we shared one headset the whole 8.45 hours! smh there was the one black man that talked to everyone in his outside voice and wanted to sing about everything.smh the trip overall was nice but the headset oh and my child forgot her DS charger and her magazine. so i was just annoyed for other reasons the whole way..sorry to hear about your trip. my inner thug is wall sliding with you

  28. KB
    June 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    “I felt like Celie when Mista stoned Nettie until she ran away.”
    I. Hate. You.
    Almost fell out my rolling chair and Ioneben care neither. That was THEE BEST.

  29. […] We had more fun than we could imagine because anytime me and Patrice work together, we have a blast. And our adventures are typically tale-worthy (remember our not-so-cross country Amtrak trip that failed?). […]

  30. February 24, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    LOL. Sounds like my trip from Houston to D.C. Then I rode from Philly back to Houston. I was on that train like a week. And you arrive LATE everywhere. But I’ll ride for free on their writers residency program if I get in.

  31. October 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    What’s up i am kavin, its my first occasion to
    commenting anywhere, when i read this paragraph i thought i
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  32. Dennis
    September 6, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    The reason Amtrak is always late going east is because it shares the tracks with regular train traffic. Our elustrius leaders in Washington would rather sink money into their money pit home town projects instead of improving the railroads. In Europe there trains travel up to 200 Miles per hour and they travel on their own tracks!

    Washington talks BS on how they want high speed trains, but when push comes to shove, Nothing is done!

    My wife and I just got home from a trip from Toledo Ohio to Seattle Washington on Amtrak, because oil is at a all time low, there wasn’t a lot of oil tanker trains going east. We were on time going both ways. The tracks could use some improvements, but here again, the Good Ole boys in Washington would rather stuff their own pockets for there home areas instead of updating the Rail System.

    I’m sorry you were late, sometime for a little more cash, try a roomette. With a roomette, you have a room for two people, a door you can slide shut, two bunks and all your meals are included. I’m not saying you will be on time going east, but you will be a whole lot more comfortable.