March 2, 2018
Being a Tour Director is just “so glamorous”.
I just finished up a 3-day TD training for my student company, which went very well, and I had to leave them early to meet a group down in Richmond, VA.
The storm was coming in, but I had a 2pm train headed south. Not a big deal because a train is on tracks! Right? It just … Goes. Nope. Not the busiest train corridor in the country. Apparently, rain messes with trains on tracks. Flooding, power outages, downed electric lines for Amtrak. Shit.
I leave the group at Rockefeller Center at 12:30, lug my massive bag (not going to be home for 2.5 weeks) onto the subway, which is a task itself, walk the final 1/2 mile to Penn Station knowing my train is already 15 min delayed (according to the Amtrak app). Nope, all trains delayed. Indefinitely.
So we wait. In the meantime, being proactive, I book a Megabus at 4pm, just in case. Still waiting for the train status, I head to the bus at 3:30. It is blizzard conditions outside. Freezing. Dozens of broken umbrellas just flying around Midtown Manhattan. I walk a mile to the bus pickup point, still lugging the bag, and stand in the storm for 30 min. Then, the bus is cancelled.
Walk back to the train station. Still delayed. Absolute chaos. Thousands of pissed off New Yorkers and tourists squashed into the main terminal staring up at the board waiting and hoping for good news.
Start making reservations on 2 other bus companies and try a standby line for a third. I stand outside Penn Station in the storm hoping to get on the next bus leaving at 5pm. It is looking promising. Bag in the bay, I find a seat, people still trying to find a place to sit. There are just too many people on board, so all standbys have to get off. So close.
Walk back to the train station, again, and check the status of Amtrak. Now all are cancelled. Both bus companies are cancelled. Greyhound is still a “go” for my new 1:00 am bus to DC. Now, the best I can do is get to DC, and not Richmond where my group is arriving, and have them fend for themselves at Monticello, lunch and their arrivals.
I walk to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, another mile north, in the storm, with the luggage, thru the puddles of who-knows-what- and make my way inside where that terrible smell hits you. Head downstairs, look at the board, find my gate and go down to wait for my bus in 5 hours.
It is chaos. Bus departures are backed up 5 hours. With this being my last chance to get home, because flights are $480, I wait… Until all busses are cancelled throughout the east coast because I-95 is closed in several spots.
Now, after exhausting every option possible to get to my group. I called the office’s emergency number to let them know what’s up and that I am stuck in NYC.
They have pitty and approve the flight to Richmond, not DC, so I can actually meet the group. Thank You! Now, my driver…. He has been sitting in the I-95 traffic for hours right at the spot where it was shut down. He is out of hours, has to detour, get a hotel and hope for the best in the morning.
Hotels Tonight has a room at the new Pod hotel on 42nd Street for not too bad a price, just so I can get a few hours sleep before my 7am flight.
Everything that was near the bottom of the luggage or in the outer section of my backpack was wet, but it won’t dry in the few hours I had, so screw it.