Let’s just go to the Twitter feed, shall we? Chronological from earliest to latest:

  • Car-free to Newport beach; made the 2:25 metrolink to santa w/ minutes to spare.
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  • Er that’s Santa ana, not Santa … Happy holidaze
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  • First stop: cal state los angeles! a’board!
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  • When I exit the met’link train I’ll be staring down an 18-mile bike ride with a 20-pound pack. Never b4 so far with so heavy!
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  • Next stop el monte station!
  • Dang, just realized the one thing I forgot: the camera cable. Gah!
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  • Next stop: baldwin park
  • Next stop: covina
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  • Guess who’s on the wrong fucking train?!!!
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  • It’s either gonna be a long ride to the sea or a quick train trip home
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  • Making crap-ade out of crap: gonna double back to el monte and pick up the Santa ana river bikeway from there; many more miles to ride
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  • The waiting is the hardest… Tempted just to ride out of this nowhere that is the Pomona north mlink station, but I’ll hang
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  • Nag, I’m skrood, it’s back to union station for me and another try for Santa ana or just home and drive down; coin toss imminent
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  • I have never so epically failed at public transpo. I am pretty much inconfuckingsolable
  • Providing I get back to union station in time to catch the 4:30 to OC, I’ll be good, but that will mean night riding the St Ana river.
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  • Fack, this train doesn’t get back downtown until 20 minutes after the 4:30 OC train leaves. Gonna be a looooong dazed journey into night
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  • Is there no end to this hell? We’ve been stopped for 10 mins plus waiting on an eastbound train to pass and nothing’s coming.
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  • In retrospect, on the + side, I discovered my train error on my own, instead of the embarrassment of having the conductor point it out
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  • Ps, I’m cold. And hungry. Better find a way to man the hell up
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  • I will take sustenance in the small victories. I will thrive in the space between minor triumphs and trivial wins.
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  • Next stop union station
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  • After 3 hours spent going out on the wrong train and coming back to union station, I am on the right track, literally!
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  • And it’s standing room only
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  • May opt to stay off the St. Ana river and work my way to Newport via surface streets
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  • I do not quit
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  • Gawd bless the iPhone: route plotted; grand to edinger to redhill to macarthur to jamboree to hyatt, about 13 miles
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  • Now let’s just hope the street route is not too bike-unfriendly
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The route did prove to be relatively bike friendly¬† and I arrived at the hotel about 75 minutes later, although I was suprised to find a nice set of inclines the last couple miles along Jamboree. And in a bonus I passed a Staples among all the corpo-industrial vastness and was able to procure a camera cable, so here’s my bike in happier times, secured on the Metrolink train I first boarded.

As to how that happened because typically I’m not such a total loser? Well, if you’re a seasoned m’linker you know what’s going where. But for a newbie idiot such as me there’s easy opportunity for confusion. The ticket purchased doesn’t indicate the train line or number, just the points of boarding and exit. Another thing: I was taking the Orange County Line train, but all signage in the station’s tunnel doesn’t ID it as such. Instead all trains are displayed based on their final destination. So the OC line was the Oceanside train. The Inland Empire train was San Bernardino. On top of that the Inland Empire line (identified as San Bernardino) was leaving on Track 7 opposite the OC/Oceansider on Track 8 at pretty much the same freaking time. So there I was on the platform looking at the “Oceanside” train on the left and the “San Bernardino” on the right, but nothing about OC or Inland Empire.¬† Stumped, I figured on Santa Ana being closer to San Bernardino side than the ocean side.

Still, I went back down off the platform to the crowded and noisy tunnel and asked a guy in a uniform standing near a Metrolink info kiosk, which train I needed and I coulda sworn he said “track right” which was the San Berdoo.

Only when stewing and seething in the middle of nowhere — otherwise known as the Pomona station —¬† did I play back the tape and realize the guy might have said Track 8.

So there ya go.