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The Flights Home & Some Closing Thoughts
  The trip home begins: I drove the rental car back to Enterprise, closed the rental contract and was driven by them back to the Fullerton Amtrak Station so as to pick up a Metrolink Commuter train back to Los Angeles. The cost for that ticket was $6.50. I rode Metrolink Train #687 back to Los Angeles. The train would make stops at Buena Park and Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs stations before going over the fly-over and passing the Redondo Roundhouse along with Amtrak's 8th Street Yard facilities before eventually arriving at Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. I then walked over to the FlyAway Bus stop located on the far end of the station property. The cost was $7.00 to take this bus back to LAX Airport. The bus let me off at Terminal 7 for United Airlines. I then checked in and printed my boarding passes for my 2 flights. I also checked my 2 suitcases (cost $60.00 to do this, OUCH!!!!!), and proceeded to security. After passing through security, I grabbed some lunch from McDonald's. My plane would leave from Gate 77. My first flight today would be on a United Airlines Boeing 757, and I would be on Flight #843. The flight was scheduled to leave LAX at 2:01pm, but that would end up not happening. Due to a massive storm that swept through the Midwest and Northeast including Chicago (which is where my first flight was going), there was lingering residual flight delays at O'Hare Airport. The airline ended up delaying takeoff of my plane to 3:00pm. I asked about this as my connecting flight out of O'Hare to Buffalo was to leave at 9:27pm and by this flight leaving an hour late, it was cutting things very close! I honestly was more worried about my luggage not making it home more than I was! As time passed, the airline changed the departure time to 2:20pm, then 2:50pm. 2:50pm was the magic number as we started boarding at 2:20pm and would leave LAX at 2:50pm.
  The flight was uneventful and the pilot made an announcement that in anticipation of our late departure, he added some "go fast gas" to the plane!  He obviously added some fuel, sped up the plane and made up some time obviously taking advantave of the nice tailwind we had, nice work!  I had a Turkey Sandwich on the plane which cost $9.00. United is a cashless airline and thus if you wanted to buy anything to eat, you had to pay with a credit/debit card.  United is the first airline I've flown on that did the following 2 things: Served you pop in the can with a cup of ice instead of just giving you the pop in the cup already, and they also no longer serve pretzels or peanuts for free!  Flying is something I really can’t stand, but out of necessity, I need to do so on these trips!  Because of the good tailwind we ended up arriving in Chicago at 8:30pm local time so that gave me 57 minutes to meet my connecting flight!  This flight arrived at Gage C26 and my connecting flight was at Gate C10, so after some quick food at McDonal'’s, they made the boarding call for my flight back to Buffalo, United Flight #502.  This flight was on an Airbus A320.  On both flights, I had nobody sitting next to me so being a big guy, I was "minimally" comfortable on both flights!  I decided to listen to Air Traffic Control on the headset as this channel was included in the plane’s onboard entertainment system!  And I thought listening to railroad radio was confusing!!!  We left Chicago on time and upon reaching cruising altitude, they served us free pop/beverages and showed a rerun of "The Big Bang Theory" but I was too busy listening to the aircraft radio.  I could tell we must have flown a large part of this flight over Canada as I could see the Lake Erie shoreline once we got near it.  The flight however only lasted a little over an hour before we landed in Buffalo, close to on time.  I picked up my baggage and took the free shuttle back to the Long Term "B" Lot to pick up my car.  It cost $100.00 to park the car for the time I had it there, OUCH!  And so ends an incredible cross-country journey!!!
 Some Closing Thoughts On This Trip:
 Well, what can I say, this trip was truly nothing short of amazing in every way! Cedar Point was incredible as always. After 19 straight years of going there, the place just never gets old! There's always something new to explore every time I visit! Next year will be my 20th straight season visiting this incredible park, I can't wait!!! Chicago was great as always, Roosevelt Avenue always presents excellent railfanning opportunities every time I visit! Seattle, what can I say, what an absolutely beautiful city!!! That view from the Space Needle is worth a million bucks!!! Southern California, well, experiencing weather like what they have there is reason enough to visit, but the overall experience was great! Railfanning there is always a lot of fun for for this New Yorker!
  All 5 Amtrak trains that I rode were excellent. The only mechanical delay occurred on my last train just a few miles from my endpoint destination. All onboard service was excellent and the sleeping car attendants on the Empire Builder were by far, among the best I have ever rode with! I would highly recommend that if you plan to ride cross-country, spend the extra money and get a sleeping car!!! I last rode the Builder and Starlight in 2006 and upgraded to a sleeper while on the Starlight at Klamath Falls, OR having rode coach the whole way there before that. There are definitely big advantages to riding in a sleeper!
  I hope that when you read this or any of my travelogues, you get a good idea of just how much fun I had in taking this trip, and hopefully want to take a trip yourself! If you really want passenger rail and Amtrak to succeed in this country, then the best possible thing you could ever do, more than writing your congressman or anything else, is to buy a ticket and take a trip! Special thanks goes out to as several members there helped me with my research on some of my photos! Until next time, when I'll be making my annual Christmas Shopping trip, Happy Railfanning!!!