Off-grid pantry planner

Last month we traveled (drove) Route 30 from Canton, Ohio to the far north western corner of Indiana to visit family – then took a train into Chicago to visit the Museum of Science and Industry.

This was the first time our boys’ have been to Chicago- Joel and I have been there before. But this would also be the first time we all took the train into the city.  Before picking up the train we did our homework online- checking the train schedule, calling where necessary (via phone), and asking relatives for their help. I mention this because the NICTD website was not as informative as it should have been. There was no “live” help at the Dune Park train station and only a couple ticket machines- and the instructions on it were less than ideal.

So we bought our tickets there, not realizing we could have bought on the train and not realizing the boys’ were free since it was a non-rush hour time of day and maybe because there were 2  of us (adults)- making each kid free? One paying adult = one free kid I guess? Anyways. I’m just saying I’m really disappointed with the NICTD website for being so unclear. We have to mail in the kids’ tickets to get our money back for them. The conductor informed us about the kid’s being free and mentioned that those ticket machines take away his ability to make commission on selling the tickets himself.

We traveled to Chicago on a Sunday morning from Dune Park (IN) to 57th Street (Chicago)- the closest stop to the Museum of Science and Industry. We only had to walk maybe a couple blocks or so to the museum. Not bad. We spent the day there and headed back by train. The ride to and from was about one hour, maybe a little more. On the way into the city we had plenty of room on the train and our choice of seats. Not so on the way back (about 5pm). Joel and I were separated by a row and we each had a child on our laps. Some people didn’t even have seats- they stood.

On our return ride leaving Chicago we had a different conductor who actually over charged us. He didn’t ask where we got on and assumed we owed a higher fare. It wasn’t until my husband and I talked via cell phone (remember- he’s a couple rows behind me and we both have tired kids on our laps) that I realized this. I questioned the conductor about it and he realized his mistake. I don’t believe he was trying to rip us off and he mentioned it again as we were getting off at our stop.

So we paid for tickets we didn’t need, and then we were overcharged on the way home. These would not be the only times we were losing money on our vacation. Thankfully, though always after-the-fact, we realized these mistakes and most of the time were able to get the situation fixed. Granted, its not a lot of money, but if you keep losing money, it all ups the total amount lost!

So you might want to call the NICTD office if you have questions AND print out the train schedule that you need. You can do this easily from their website. I would ride the NICTD train again, but I obviously glamorized how the experience would be. I must have thought I’d be riding an Amtrack or something 😉  I’ll share about our trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in my next post.

…to be continued.

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