09 June 2011

Motor City Madness

This post's opinions and views reflect that of the Author and not of "This is Cosmos Country" or of the New York Cosmos. Is intended as both entertainment and informative type in the hope of following US Soccer and seeing and traveling in cities that are as American as MLS and the Cosmos. With the hope of informing the reader as a future fan of the Cosmos on what to expect when visiting other MLS cities to follow your 'mos and showing the passion and joy that is being an Ameican Outlaw and traveling to support your team club or country across this great sovereign nation of the United States. This is Part One of the Author's adventure to the great city of Detroit which chronicles how he got there.

I work up the morning of June the 5th better than I thought. I thought I would be waking to feel myself severely hung over after the copious amounts of alcohol I consumed at the game the day before. Now it makes sense why that was the case; the US lost to Spain by a scoreline of 4-0 but more importantly it was a loss that was cherry-topped by that lovable Fernando Torres scoring a goal and boosting his confidence for club and country. Smooth, real smooth America but I'll forgive you, after all I'm America till I die right; DTOT is what the kids say now? No seriously it amazes me how I can go out the night before I travel and get more diluted than the Ganges and yet still be able to sober up the next morning and be ready for a long 15 hour train ride to a city that is considered one of the "Dangerous in America" all in the love of supporting a team that was demolished the day before. Now how I know those traveling Washington General fans feel.

But in the whole of life a little pain is a lot of learning experience ascertained and that is what makes this worthwhile; some pain, some boos, and a trip to a new place. Now the hard part is packing as you only have 6 hours to go before you leave. Another larger dynamic at play here is the fact I am last minute everything so it is no surprise that I decided to wait till the last possible milli-second to pack and get the backpack ready to go. Its okay though; I was able to pack it just in time before my 12:42 train from Port Jeff that would get me in an hour and a half before my 3:45 train to Chicago. So as I am a college student and homebody that lives at home; I had the best ride available to the station, my mom and one of the best things about Mom's is that they love to help out their sons in the context of telling them what can go wrong. It has become a usual word of dance of "Don't do this" followed up by a dosi-do of "This can happen". But after that is over the reward is a strangulating death grab of don't leave or let go that even the "Hillside Strangler" can be proud off followed by that wet kiss that made all your high school friends go "Dude; really?".

Got onto the LIRR and well not stories here; not surprisingly. The LIRR is the most typical commuter railroad ever with the conversations most people have about it directed in the "always late category" on their blogs. It's sort of like someone's Aunt Helen who has a due date but is always late delivering the baby and everyone expects it as its happened every time. But when it is on time people give you the "I knew it" face even they really don't mean that. This time going into the city my train was ahead of schedule and that allowed me to actually make it up to street level and have some pretzels at a vendor. I was thinking of shooting over to Jack Dempsey's to make an appearance and sip a few back but made a mental promise with myself that due to the fact I was supposed to arrive in Toledo, Ohio (the city I was to make a bus connection in) at 5:00 in the morning; I decided that any alcohol in the system might be a bad idea and cause me to miss the stop; or even worse have a hangover as I roamed the streets of Detroit trying to locate my hotel. (At this point my pre-conceived images of Detroit are more vivid than ever.)

So after waiting around in Penn Station another animal entirely; I was ready to get on my train in the Amtrak waiting area. Of course this was after I witnessed an older gentleman fall down the escalators, but to his credit he was wearing a helmet so he was a good "Boy Scout" and was "Always prepared". But the emergency buttons on the escalators are complicated and that led to some bad decisions and tense moments as it unfolded. He was okay and the police escorted him away which led to a better day for us all and put a silver lining in an incident that normally has dark clouds surrounding it.

As I entered my Amtrak train I was treated to seeing my coach class seat and all its glory. Traditionally Amtrak has two sets of Amfleet coaches both of which have different seat pitches. The regional travel or the ones you get while you travel the Northeast Corridor are about 34" apart which is greater than most airlines' coach class seating. The longer distance ones; the ones you usually get for overnights or trips lasting longer than 5 hours have about 42" which is the general diameters you get while you travel most first classes with the airlines. It is so large that it nearly reclines to a bed; perfect for the overnight sleep you so want. The bigger issue is answering how packed do you want this train to be? Mine was just that; packed and I was not happy as I know I would be sharing a seat with someone. The issue isn't so much the length of the seat as the width; it is as wide as an airline seat and also just a little more comfortable to sleep in. My seat mate at first seemed odd in that he had just a bag and a pair of old sneakers but as with the time on the train that was about to change.

The food itself was top notch and couldn't be beat and the company was great so with that the first part of the trip concluded and now on to Detroit and the city itself tomorrow.