Lost in the big city

I traveled to Chicago this past weekend for the CrossFit Coaches Prep course.  Atlas CrossFit is downtown, so I opted to stay downtown and avoid renting a car.  I was NOT prepared for traveling around the big city using public transportation.

Yes I’m ‘from Cleveland’ but I’m really from the suburbs and I think other than heading to a Cleveland Browns game I used the AmTrack once.

Challenge #1:  Get to Ashland off the Orange Line
When I arrived in Chicago it was my task to get to the Orange Line and get off at Ashland.  Elizabeth Aikenwale would be there to pick me up and head to the gym.  I was confident I could do it.  I followed signs to ‘public transport’ and I got the bus/train station.  I then had a NOW WHAT moment.  There were people putting money into two different machines that spit out tickets.
What machine am I using?
How much do I put in?

I wasn’t really sure what to do, so I found a woman wearing a CTA vest, and she was less than thrilled to help me. She made it clear I had stopped her on her way to a break. Here’s how our conversation went down:
Me: How do I get onto the Orange Line to Ashland
CTA: You taking a train or a bus?
Me: (confused look) Ummmm…..I’m not sure. The Orange Line
CTA: You taking a bus after the train? (in a sassy annoyed tone)
Me: (same confused look) Ummm…I don’t know, she said to take the Orange Line to Ashland
(we ping pong this conversation 3 or 4 times before I finally got an answer)
CTA: $2.25 in the blue machine

I inserted my money and took my ticket. I followed everyone elses lead and went through the turn style….and now what??? I found a cute little blonde girl that looked like she’d take mercy on me, and I was right she did. I wasn’t sure what train I was getting on, going what direction and she walked me through it.

Challenge #2: Get from downtown to the airport
After a great lunch with Jonny Vu of CrossFit Chicago he dropped me off at the train station, little did I realize there was more than the Orange line, there was the Green line. It wasn’t until I sat down, door closed, and the train set off that I realized I was on the wrong damn train. Son of a…..

Needless to say, I realized that I an NOT a big city girl.