Here is a fun travel story for ya. 😀
A few years ago (close to a decade ago now), I went to visit one of my best friends and her husband for a few days. I had been in Baltimore previously visiting an old high school friend for a couple days. Then I drove down to Virginia to stay with my friends at a Navy base. My friend’s husband had joined the Navy about a year after we met and they moved on base in VA. I hadn’t seen them in a long time so we were very excited to get back together again.
I don’t really remember the circumstances but my friend and I had driven a couple towns over to see this little shopping village. We didn’t buy anything. Honestly, we really only stopped in to a tattoo parlor and then window shopped. We walked by this old train station and decided to check it out.
It had once been a real train station but at that point, it was just a loading and unloading platform. There were routes posted inside the platform with stop times for the trains. We saw a train was stopping there and heading on to Washington DC in a few minutes. Out of sheer spontaneity, we decided to go check out Washington DC for the afternoon. There were no ticket stalls there but a sign said we could get the tickets on the train from the conductor. Cool. The train arrived and we got on.
About 15 minutes after we got on the train, the ticket inspector came by asking for our tickets. We told him we needed to buy them from him. He went from friendly to angry in a matter of seconds. Very coldly, he informed us that they didn’t do that anymore and that boarding a train without a ticket was a very serious crime for which we were going to be arrested when we reached the next station.
No joke, my friend and I about crapped ourselves.
We pleaded with him. We showed him we had cash for the tickets. Other passengers tried to intervene on our behalf. Nope. He was determined to make an example of us dirty, no good criminals. Yikes. We were both scared and upset. My friend just knew her husband was going to throttle us both. I didn’t have enough money to bail either one of us out of jail either. This was bad. Very bad.
As we got closer to DC, something magical happened. Another ticket inspector came through, I assume because he had heard what was going on. He sat down with us and asked for our story. He was friendly and we told him the same thing we told the other guy. We randomly decided to go to DC after poking around in the platform and there was a sign there that said we could get tickets on board. We never intended to try to sneak on the train or any other nefarious thing. He pulled a ticket booklet out of his jacket pocket, wrote two tickets from our station to DC, and told us how much it would be. We just stared at him open-mouthed for a bit while the other ticket inspector threw a hissy fit behind him about how they don’t do that anymore.
Needless to say, we bought the damn tickets. Happily so. I think we might have cried.
We arrived at DC with no further trouble. Being the smart girls we were, we decided to get our return tickets from the DC station before we headed out to check out the city.
Um… the last returning train back to our particular stop was leaving in 30 minutes. Dangit.
- We could check out the front of the train station and then return home. Lame.
- Or, we could just plan on calling my friend’s husband after he got off duty to come get us.Oooh!
Then we remembered that:
- Her husband had a 12 hour work day that day,
- He wasn’t getting off duty until midnight,
- He had to go to work early the next morning at 6am,
- DC at night is probably not safe for us girls to wander around alone, and
- DC was almost a 2-hour drive away from the base.
Dangit again. We bought our return tickets, hung out with the statues in front of the DC station for a couple minutes of photos, and then returned back to the little village to retrieve the car.
While I can technically say I’ve been to DC now, I don’t. I can also say I’ve been on a train finally but I’d rather not remember the first half of the train ride. And can’t remember it incredibly clearly after all this time. Something about utter terror will cause blank spots in the memory.
Alright so that is my I almost got arrested in DC story.