I quickly paid the $200 deposit via Paypal when I won the auction. No way was I taking a bus to Pennsylvania and I was too poor to fly so I booked an Amtrak. I haven’t been on one in 20 years (literally) and was looking forward to it. Total cost, $74!
I arrive at the Amtrak station downtown Milwaukee, WI. I packed basic tools, CDs, some clothes, toothbrush, bottled water, cookies, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, some chocolates, Ipod, Valentine 1, IPass, laptop.
The train leaves Milwaukee at 3pm to Union Station in Chicago. We get there around 430pm. I wait a half hour and board the Superliner to Pittsburgh at 5pm. It was almost 6:30pm before we even left the station. The seats were quite comfortable and reclined quite a bit. I had both seats so I was able to lay sideways, in the prone position over both seats and anything else I wanted to do. I made a dinner reservation for 8pm in the dining car and ate a salad, roll, salmon, mashed potatoes and broccoli. It wasn’t too bad aside from the rocking of the train car back and forth.
9pm. We cross through Indiana and it becomes 10pm EST. The train stopped a few times, South Bend, Cleveland and some other places. I nap briefly for 15-20 minutes at a time, but am too distracted from other idiots on the train. One guy, that I originally thought was a girl, started to cut a whole garlic and put it into this plastic bin. WTF! The whole train car stunk. I saw some sprouts and noodles and who knows what else go in the container. He/she warmed it up, came back and started eating it like soup. Unreal. Then around 11pm this guys phone began to alarm. Of course he was passed out. After alarming for 20 rings, the guy/girl behind him kicked his seat and he woke out of his slumber and shut it off. Nevermind that it happened two more times in the next half hour. I brush my teeth and try to sleep around 1130pm before arriving in Pittsburgh at 4am.
I think I was able to sleep decently from 1am-530am when we arrived in Pittsburgh. I woke several times and was quite sore though. Since we left Chicago 1.5hours late, we got to PA at 530am. I sat around until the next train left at 7am to Lewistown PA. Central/northish PA. So 1130am rolls around and we finally make it to Lewistown. The seller meets me at the station which is an hour from his house and drives back in the Mirage.
Still haven’t eaten since the Salmon dinner on the train last night. All I’ve been “eating” was Triscuits and bottled water. He gave me a box of CVS brand chocolate chip cookies. Those complimented the water and Triscuits very well. Transfer the title, get gas and I’m on my way 700 miles west on I80. Snow everywhere, wind, up and down mountains, my ears are popping. The Mirage is crusing at 4000 RPM at 75mph. Gotta love it. I got around 32mpg on the way home however. I bought another 6-pack of Ice Mountain water when I got gas at some point.
170 miles or so and I’m out of PA. I try and hustle to the Norwalk exit because I know I *only* have 400 miles left to go before I’m at my house. I think I went another 200 miles or so before I was midway through Ohio. Nothing too exciting, I finally hit Indiana and it’s somewhere around 8:30pm. I’m making pretty good time, but I still haven’t eaten anything for 24 hours. I’ve been living on the water and my Triscuits. I push it to 85mph. (4300rpm) hehe.
5 Miles to Middlebury Indiana. 160 miles to Chicago. If you know where Middlebury is, I’m sorry. Stereo cuts out. Uh oh. Cluster lights dim, headlights dim. Game over. Alternator is dead. I make it without the alternator off the freeway, wait behind a crackhead semi-truck paying a toll on the offramp and try to rev the car to keep it alive. The toll lady has no idea where any civilization is much less an Autozone. I find out there’s a gas station a block off the freeway. I pull in and the car dies. I obviously didn’t bring a spare alternator. My mind races, nothing is open. There isn’t anything within a 10 mile radius.
The Indian gas station clerk was quite nice, gave my a phone book, told me where a few places were around. That wasn’t good enough. I had to get home. I called Advance Auto. Guy by the name of Chad Nichols answers. They have one remanufactured alternator in stock. I throw Chad my crazy story and offer him $40 to bring me the alternator when he gets off work at 10pm. He thinks about it and calls a few friends. This Autozone was nearly 30 miles southwest of where I was. Chad calls back, he will buy the alternator with his own cash and bring it to me. Unbelievable. If anyone finds this guy tell him he saved my life.
Chad arrives around 10:30pm with the alternator. I had the old one out in about 10 minutes well before he arrived. I tossed him an issue of Import Racer with LILEVO1 in it and talked about snowboarding and life. I maxed out my ATM limit earlier in the day withdrawing $500 for the car. Luckily, and I mean luckily, I had a check. I wrote him a check and he was on his way. So was I. What a lifesaver.
I’m on my way once again after a 2 hour delay. I bust through Chicago and finally get home to Sussex at 2am CST. So the trip essentially took 11-12 hours, non stop. I still hadn’t eaten at this point and finished my Triscuits long ago. Haven’t eaten a meal in well over a day. I passed out.