Hol­i­day travel ex­pected to be heav­i­est since 2007

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES - By Tammy Web­ber

El­iz­a­beth Thomp­son can’t wait to leave the big city be­hind and de­com­press over the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day at her grand­mother’s house in ru­ral south-cen­tral In­di­ana. But first she has to get there.

On Wed­nes­day, Thomp­son, 23, missed her Am­trak train from Chicago to Gales­burg, Illi­nois, where she’d planned to catch a ride with a fam­ily mem­ber the rest of the way to Ed­in­burgh, In­di­ana.

“It’s just where we go to un­plug and es­cape,” said Thomp­son, who had to de­cide whether to wait sev­eral hours for the next train or hop on a bus and get go­ing.

Amer­i­cans took to the roads, air and rail­ways Wed­nes­day for what is ex­pected to be the busiest Thanks­giv­ing travel pe­riod in almost a decade. Almost 49 mil­lion peo­ple are ex­pected to travel 50 miles or more be­tween Wed­nes­day and Sun­day, the most since 2007, be­cause of lower gas prices and an im­prov­ing econ­omy, ac­cord­ing to AAA.

And while they look for­ward to eat­ing tur­key and watch­ing foot­ball, many are ready to aban­don an­other, more re­cent, Amer­i­can pas­time: re­hash­ing the ran­corous elec­tion be­tween Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump and Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton.

“My mother specif­i­cally said, ‘We’re not go­ing to talk about it,’” for her grand­mother’s sake, Thomp­son said. Although no­body in her fam­ily sup­ported Trump, “my grand­mother is sick of hear­ing about it.”

Kevin Bau­mann, a 47-year-old boil­er­maker from Spokane, Wash­ing­ton, is able to join his fam­ily for Thanks­giv­ing for the first time in two years, so pol­i­tics was the last thing he wanted to dis­cuss.

“We’ll avoid it,” said Bau­mann, who stopped in cen­tral Mon­tana Tues­day on his way home, af­ter work­ing on a coal plant in Iowa. “We’ve got big­ger things to talk about dur­ing the hol­i­days.”

James Arnold, 18, a fresh­man at Eastern Univer­sity near Philadel­phia, ex­pects that the elec­tion will be a big topic of conversation dur­ing Thanks­giv­ing din­ner at his fam­ily’s home in Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land.

“My fam­ily loves to talk about things to­gether and the elec­tion is some­thing huge,” he said Tues­day while wait­ing for a train.

“Ev­ery hol­i­day they sit down and talk about things like that,” he added. “It’s go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing.”

The weather ap­peared to be co­op­er­at­ing for the most part, with no sig­nif­i­cant is­sues, Na­tional Weather Ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Amy See­ley said. There was light rain in Chicago, a ma­jor air­line hub, but de­lays were only av­er­ag­ing 15 min­utes, ac­cord­ing to the Chicago De­part­ment of Avi­a­tion.

“It looks pretty quiet across the coun­try today; I’ll take it,” See­ley said.

For those who didn’t want to drive, Am­trak was adding some ex­tra trains Wed­nes­day and Sun­day be­tween Chicago and Milwaukee, its big­gest Mid­west cor­ri­dor, spokesman Marc Magliari said. Some Mid­west trains have been sold out for sev­eral days, he said.

Am­trak CEO Wick Moor­man said the rail­road was pre­pared to han­dle ex­tra rid­ers.


Pas­sen­gers check in their lug­gage at the counter at Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Mi­ami on Wed­nes­day.

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