Thursday, May 28, 2009

Great vacation moments: the longest trolley ride

A recurring theme throughout my travels is: getting on the wrong bus, or getting off at the wrong stop.

Perhaps the most memorable example took place about a year ago in Chicago. My husband was working so the kids and I hit the aquarium and then took the water taxi over to Navy Pier and played around there for a while.

It's always trouble when I'm traveling around alone with the kids, because I am a little scatterbrained, easily distracted, and cheap. So when we needed to get back to the hotel from Navy Pier at the end of the day, whereas my husband would probably convince me we should take a cab, I instead chose to stand in a long line for the free trolley. When we finally got to the front of the line--you guessed it--we got onto the wrong trolley.

I didn't even figure it out until we had been on the trolley for quite some time. I knew it should not take this long to go the entire route. As we neared the main bus terminal, I finally clued in that we had gotten on the wrong line. We got off at the next stop, and luckily there was one more trolley that could take us back to Navy Pier so that we could try again to go home.

This would have been no big deal except I had three tired, hungry, sweaty children, one of whom was asleep on my shoulder. Also, it was rush hour.

We finally did get back to our stop via the correct free trolley, and walked the few blocks back to our hotel, although it must have seemed like a mile to my exhausted children.

It's funny, I don't remember much detail about the other days we spent in Chicago, when things went according to plan. My most vivid memory of the entire trip was creeping along in rush hour traffic on an open-air trolley, watching the sun go down and being thankful for a place to sit and a nice breeze.

That's the thing about great vacation moments. They are usually the ones you would never plan.

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