The train trip was eventful, kind of. I didn't realize there was a 10 1/2 hr layover in Buffalo when I booked the ticket, but I thought oh well an opportunity to check out Buffalo. When I lived in Canada it had the reputation of being a bit of a hole. So I could prove it or not.
After the train arrived in Buffalo I set off for a walk and saw the cute decorations for fall and Halloween (pumpkins are usable for both) and took a couple of photos. After one place with an American flag out the front a guy comes barreling out: "Excuse me!! My security camera just caught you ...! " blah blah. After I explained and showed him my photos he cooled off, but it reminded me - oh this is America.
(Bingo seemed to be a big thing in those parts, it even has its own newspaper, the 'Bingo Bugle' "celebrating the Bingo lifestyle").
When I got back to the train station I found I had lost my ticket for the trip from Buffalo to Chicago. No biggie - I asked if I could get it printed out again. No, I have to pay for another seat. I called a 1-800 number to ask if there was any way they'd let me on, I had a confirmation email with a booking reference and everything! No, with a 'paper ticket' as opposed to an e-ticket there was no replacement. Hard to believe - can they really do that?
So just pay for another ticket ($85) but the problem was I had put money into my travel card and it took 2-3 days to come through. As far as I knew my card only had nothing in it - I had one more day to go and a $10 note. Sweating it a bit, and not loving the idea of another 24 hrs in Buffalo, I waited until the train was nearly due and I tried to purchase the ticket. Yah, thank the lord.
(BTW there were some Amish at the Buffalo station. I have never seen any in real life so that was great. Their clothes are amazing, the young girls look like they are out of a Vermeer painting with their translucent white caps. When I was walking behind them getting on the train, it was dark, and it felt like I was in a holocaust movie, with their long gathered dresses, shawls and covered heads. Oddly enough there was also a female dwarf at the station and one of the Amish girls kept staring at her. So it was like one oddity checking out another).
Got on the train - last person, a habit of mine, to find the only seat left was the worst: underneath a really bright light and in front of doors which opened frequently with a cold blast. It was a night train (midnight to 9am) and no blankets. The girl next to me and I sweated it out, or huddled really, until the female conductor offered us her seats. The kindness of strangers.
The rest of the trip was great, slept. The girl next to me was a cute dyke (could be making an assumption but I'm pretty sure I saw a girl on her iPhone screen), the honest down-to-earth type.
Spent 2 hrs getting lost on the Chicago subway (trying to save on a cab fare) and couldn't get off with my luggage at some (too many people).
Finally got to my hostel so tired I ignored everybody in my room and went to sleep.