PART 1 | PART 2
(Part 2 of the Go Marta, Go series coming soon to YouTube)
It’s a question many are asking themselves right now. All you have to do is turn on the news to hear the warnings against “non-essential travel” and at least a part of you wonders, does this mean I am on indefinite travel suspension? I managed to refrain from travel for nearly six months before I had to have a reckoning with myself when I realized something critical about who I am…
I am a person for whom travel IS essential.
What came next led me to the an adventure of epic proportions and it all began at Little Rock Union Station.
A reminder that the pandemic had changed travel was visible on the faces of everyone waiting for the arrival of the northbound Texas Eagle. Most chose to remain in their cars while we all waited rather than sit inside the waiting room where masks were mandatory at all times.
Our train arrived about 1.5 hours late which I had accounted for because that’s the reality of catching long distance trains here in the heartland. In fact, when I first contemplated doing this trip I had planned to split it into two separate trips because of the way the lines run. COVID-19 forced me to change my plans drastically.
After watching the Amtrak video outlining the cleaning protocols adopted in response to the pandemic (which I promise I sent to my Mama so she would worry less), I felt much better about not only getting on the train but also in knowing how the train and crew really works to keep passengers safe and healthy.
A second reminder of the impacts of the pandemic showed itself at breakfast time around when we came up on St. Louis. Gone was the inviting hot plate of southern style breakfast that I enjoyed on my previous journey and left in its place was the infamous “Flex Menu”.
Plenty before me have groused over this limited menu and I think we all agree that we’d like to see the former menu restored as soon as possible but what was not disappointing was that Amtrak coffee. Y’all, black and delicious is all I can say about that. 🙌🏾
Just before arriving in Chicago I had the opportunity to sample the lunch menu and as far as microwaveable meals go, this shrimp in lobster sauce was pretty tasty.
The choice of the sleeper car granted me access to the Metropolitan Lounge once I arrived at Chicago Union Station which turned out to be a real blessing during my long layover.
Join me next week for more about Chicago Union Station and the Metropolitan Lonnie First Class experience.
Marta C. Youngblood is the founder and creative engine behind TheWRITEaddiction creatives co-op founded in 2014 as a virtual community supporting writers from all over the United States of America. Marta’s passion drives her to support the success of creatives from all walks of life to honor their talent and share it with the world. She believes that working in our creative callings does not have to be synonymous with being a “starving artist” and helps creatives master the business skills and strategies they need to work in their gifts.