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Fall Amtrak Vacation Trip 2012: The Flights Home & Some Closing Thoughts
  It's time to go home after 2 weeks of travelling across our beautiful country! After packing up the computer and my luggage, I checked out of the hotel and put gas in the rental car, then headed over to McDonald's one more time for breakfast (they still have the McSkillet Burrito on the west coast, I love those things!) before driving back to Los Angeles to turn in the rental car at Enterprise, then get to Los Angeles International Airport to get the first of two flights home. After taking the free shuttle bus from Enterprise's facility, I headed inside Terminal 1 at LAX for Southwest Airlines and checked my bags then went through security and waited inside for my boarding call. I would receive an e-mail from Southwest that said my flight #2676 from LAX to Chicago-Midway Airport would be moved to a different gate. After getting a few photos of Southwest planes for this travelogue, I walked over to the proper gate and boarded my flight. Southwest flies a few models of Boeing 737's. Flight #2676 was essentially uneventful until about 1 hour before landing when we hit some bad weather and severe turbulence but thankfully, the pilots in this plane knew how to fly through this very well and we landed safely, and about 20 minutes early into Chicago Midway Airport.
  I had some more unhealthy food from McDonald's while waiting for my connecting flight #1418 to Buffalo. That flight was delayed (and strangely enough, originated at LAX, so had I booked it, I wouldn't have had to get off the plane at all, but I guess 8 months ago when I booked this, I must have misread the flight schedules, no idea now) due to the bad weather. I was told that there was some lightning in the area and some flights earlier that day were diverted to other airports. During my entire layover in Chicago, it was raining heavily but no lighting was seen so with some delay, flights were still running. Flight #1418 arrived at Midway and unloaded a portion of its passengers before we were allowed to board. That flight left a good 45 minutes late and our pilots wanted to get us out of that bad weather as quickly as possible. It wouldn't be long that I could see we were flying over Lake Erie and out of the bad weather. The weather in Buffalo was actually tranquil compared to Chicago. We landed about 40 minutes late at Buffalo Niagara International Airport around 12:10am. All of the employees on Southwest Airlines did an excellent job on both flights. I picked up my luggage and took the shuttle van back to my car which was waiting for me since I parked it there 2 weeks prior. It only cost $93.00 to park it for that length of time thanks to a coupon the Airport had on their web site! And with that, an incredible cross-country trip comes to a close.
  It seems that sometimes it's hard for me to come up with some closing thoughts after having completed such a huge trip! Maybe it's because I did so much in a short amount of time that it takes time for me to realize just how much I accomplished? I'm not sure I'll ever have a straight answer to that. All I know is this: I experienced a 2 week trip by rail across our beautiful country! I met lots of great people along the way and visited places all-too-familiar to me as well as new places I've never visited before. No two trips like this are ever the same. Every year, Cedar Point has something that keeps making me want to come back! I visited the park twice before this trip in 2012 during what was my 21st straight year visiting this beyond world class park! With a new roller coaster going in for 2013, I can't wait to get back there again! What can I say about Silver Rails Country? Well, if you read through the travelogue, you saw that I had a lot to say, and I couldn't be happier with everything I experienced while there. All of the Amtrak trains I rode were excellent as always! I got to ride in 3 sleeping cars on 3 different trains which is a record for a single trip for me. Railfanning is part of the heart and soul of these trips and I'm glad I got to railfan and experience the destinations I visited in southern California on this trip. I hope you enjoyed reading through this travelogue as much as I did experiencing all that I experienced on a truly great cross-country journey. Until next time, when I'll get to ride in a Dome Car on Amtrak (you won't want to miss that story!), Happy Railfanning!!!