Friday, June 24, 2005


I haven't been doing much writing. "Bookworm" is taking up my time. I see letters and words in my sleep. My Dartmouth email buddy became addicted some long time ago, but I have just got into the game because of my kids. Craig has been playing it a lot, with a ridiculously high score, Carrie plays, and her kids are trying.

I went with Bob and the little girls to check out a lake front development yesterday - modular homes. It is very pleasant, and affordable. Supposedly they don't blow away in a hurricane. I could be tempted, but I need to check a few other places to make sure that is what I want to do. Of course, no one says I would have to stay there forever. I can imagine sitting on the screened porch overlooking the lake and watching the wonderful water birds. There are a lot of mockingbirds there, also.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Florida has been great. The weather is bearable, and the scenery is wonderful, when we go out sightseeing. Craig is trying to buy a condo, so we have been to Clearwater twice, the location of the condo. It is very nice in that area, and the beach area is interesting. We checked out the beach Saturday.

Sunday, we went to Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Lido Key and Sarasota. That area is a tropical paradise. When we were on the beach on Anna Maria Island, I felt as though I was back in Jamaica, where I had been in the early 80's. The sea grapes are trees on the beach that provide shade, and a place to locate picnic tables. There was a cafe there, and I enjoyed sitting at the table with the Gulf breezes blowing, keeping things fairly cool in the shade.

There was one negative thing, but it is not a problem very often. There was a red tide, and the moment we got out of the van at the beach, my throat started hurting, causing me to cough for the whole time that we were there. Of course, there were dead fish, but I never realized before that red tide can cause a respiratory problem akin to asthma.

Eventually we left that area and drove to Longboat Key, just to check things out. Wow! The houses are really something. We stopped at a restaurant for brunch, and getting from the van to the restaurant caused another bout of choking and coughing. It was quite unpleasant. While in the restaurant (there were people eating outside overlooking the beach, but I think they were nuts or had strong constitutions), I noticed that many people were coughing.

We enjoyed our meal, then continued on to Lido Key and St. Armand's Circle. It is a very upscale shopping area, and signs in the stores remind you that it is comparable to shopping in the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard and other high class places. I have been in the Hamptons several times, and I must agree that it does have a touch of the same atmosphere.

After walking around the Circle window shopping and stopping for ice cream, we headed back to Riverview. We did see lots of dead fish in the bay areas, especially when we crossed bridges. These were in full view of the multi-million dollar houses.

I would really like to live in that general area, but it won't happen. Maybe Clearwater is a possibility, but if not there, then I might find something here in or around Riverview.

It has been pleasant keeping track of the birdlife around the very large pond outside Carrie's sliding glass doors. There are four white ducks waddling around quack quacking all day long, and they are really cute. They come up to the patio, but have been trained to stay off it. They walk along the edges begging for food.

Sometimes a Sand Hill Crane shows up, and a cormorant is in the pond a lot of the time. There has been a Roseate Spoonbill in the past, and I think I saw him out of the corner of my eye the other day skimming along above the pond. Ibis and egrets hang out along the pond edges, and the mockingbirds have shown up in large numbers. This is a new development, and it is great when more birds start hanging out here.

Soon I'll be leaving, but I am trying to soak it all up as much as I can.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Day 6 Sat. A.M.

Well, I've survived so far. I am tired, but having some breakfast has perked me up a bit. I must say, I certainly don't like these "low class" trains. The Superliners are so much better. All facilities on these trains are kind of abysmal, especially the bathroom facilities; cafe and lounge is horribly crowded and not laid out right - people have to line up for food where traffic has to go through. The dining car is inadequate, with very few tables. Maybe they figure no one will pay the money to eat there, but I couldn't have dinner in there last night after getting on in DC - no more reservations - dining car steward was sold out - so I had a sandwich and orange juice in the lounge.

Strange thing - never happened before, but the dining car steward noticed my Medic Alert bracelet and said she HAD to offer me food even though she had no seats and she would pack me a meal to take back to my seat. I said no thanks. I wanted to be able to sit and relax to have the food, and figured a sandwich would be enough otherwise.

We just left Savannah. The station seemed to be out in the boonies. I had hoped to see town. No such luck.

Much later --- I am now on the Amtrak bus leaving the Orlando station. There is a nice cool breeze, even though it's June. Spanish moss - I guess I am here. One and a half hour late, not too bad. We'll see how late I am when I get to Tampa. I sure could use some water - had no time for that - couldn't find a fountain to fill my bottle or even get a drink. It got very hot in the train car at the tail end of the ride - something happened and it smelled like something was burning, then got very hot.

I have been napping. I am in Lakeland now. The train station is across the street from a pretty lake. I just saw a turtle HURRYING along in the grass near the water. When I was here in December 2003, it was evening, and the lights all around the lake created a beautiful sight. Everything was decorated for Christmas.

There is an alligator sculpture made of scrap metal on the station lawn. I wasn't allowed to find a water fountain - the bus driver and station personnel had time to chat and smoke, though. When I got off the bus and asked "Could I find a water fountain?" the driver gave me an impatient (or worse) look.

He said "No, we gotta go!" as the station agent shook his head no. I think East Coast people are not as friendly as West Coast people and I'm STILL thirsty. I've been on the bus one and one half hours.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink, even on the floor in here by my seat. It's a veritable cloud burst, and has been raining all day today - rain then sun, back and forth.

Well, I'm finally in Tampa, at the lovely restored train station, where there is a water fountain. My Carrie, Craig, four granddaughters and son-in-law Bob are all at the station to pick me up. Yes, they have a very large van, with enough seats for everyone.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Washington DC

Too bad - I had over five hours to kill and all tours from Union Station were sold out; the kind where you are driven around to view the historic sights (sites). One seemed particularly interesting, DC Ducks, in an amphibian duck on land and sea (river). A guy told me it was great, as he was disembarking. I'd like to take that one.

Sitting in the train station right now. I have been wandering in here for over two hours, and I am tired. This place is humongous - larger than Chicago (Union Station). Pretty amazing. The Main Hall, where I am sitting, has a fabulous vaulted barrel ceiling with a stepped hexagon design, off white with gold centers, and other gold trim.

There are huge arched windows with crossed lattice between panes, over the entrances from the street and to other parts of the terminal. Large statues of Roman soldiers stand on the pediments high above the pillars, gazing out over the Concourse below.

I have to check out the East Hall, near where I am sitting - seems very ornate from here.

The floor has large white travertine marble squares with deep blood-red small marble squares set on the diagonal between them here in the Main Hall. There is a "Center Cafe" in the middle of the floor, a circular restaurant on posts, up a curving flight of stairs. The bar is under the cafe, and there is also seating on the floor all around it. The cafe is an open affair, with a railing all around. The metal spindles of the railing have a ball near the top of them, creating a very interesting design.

The other huge section of this station is of the same architecture - same barrel vaulted ceiling, with wonderful curving stairs to various levels. The stairs to these levels have the same ball design railings, creating a tremendously pleasing effect.

There are interesting stores throughout; a very classy place, and the atmosphere is a mix of the bustle of people trying to catch trains, tourists deciding what to do, and a couple of hours ago there was a concert right where I am sitting. I heard part of it.

There are restaurants everywhere; on balconies, on the lower level (food court), all price ranges - some classy - some not. A movie theatre on the lower level near the food court is there for those who really want to kick back and do nothing. You don't have to leave the station to be entertained.

The newer section at the gates is an extension of the design of the old section. The triangular pattern of cross bars of the windows in the barrel ceiling and arched windows is repeated in the new section, where tubular steel supports in a triangular pattern hold up the roof, including the vaulted glass roof section. The glass roof contributes to an open, airy feeling.

I finally checked out the East Hall at one point. It is decorated with an Egyptian theme, very ornate and interesting. There are shops in that area, also.

It is time to board my train. Even though I have found plenty of things to keep me occupied, including eating, I still have been disturbed by the fact that I did not go see the National Gallery of Art, or some other place, or ride around. Just not enough time for most things, however, especially the Art Gallery. Another time---

Day 5

No intelligent conversation on this train - smokers are too busy complaining about Amtrak trains being non-smoking trains and there are not frequent enough smoke stops. Women who got on in Pittsburgh this morning are making the most noise about it, and about the fact that this train is two hours late so far. The coach attendant has been explaining to them that the tracks are owned by the freight lines and they have the right of way - we got behind slow freights, so we have to wait for them to move on.

Smokers certainly do make a lot of noise (literally) about the non-smoking issue and get caught in the bathroom area lighting up - not hard to tell when the whole car fills up with cigarette smoke. There have been problems on both trains with smokers opening the upper half of the coach door, sticking their heads out and smoking.

I have listened to two different groups of very indignant women complaining about the treatment they receive when caught doing this. It is all they can talk about and the smokers are threatening suing Amtrak.

One attendant made an announcement that if you stick your head out the window, you are in danger of losing it when another train comes by - pleasant thought.

West Virginia - rhododendrons, mountain laurel, ferns - I'd like to stick my head out the window and breathe in the scent of all the honeysuckle. I awoke this morning to the sight of early morning mist in the hills of the Cumberland Narrows. It was wonderful following the river in this wild area - so pretty!

Martinsburg - great old buildings, brick streets, Craig - interesting town. A few minutes later : not so scenic here - junk yards and yards with junk. Then, Harpers Ferry is pretty.

It is starting to look like the DC area - nice houses and yards in woodsy spots. The previous stop was Rockville, Maryland. The last stop on this train will be Washington DC, two hours late, then I'll leave at 7:30 for Florida.

I have to decide how to kill five hours in the train station. I was there on the bus once, and I don't remember being near anything to "sightsee".

Office buildings now - will soon arrive - can see Washington Monument - that must mean something.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Art Institute of Chicago

I love this place!

Notes on specific things I saw :

c.1750 huge blue/white tin glazed earthenware from Puebla, Mexico, Allie (Allie spent a summer semester studying at a university in Puebla) - several pieces

The Trading Room from the Chicago Stock Exchange, designed by Adler and Sullivan in 1893 - restored in the late 70's. It is a fabulous room - nice woodwork - huge octagonal pillars of faux multi-color marble with ornate gold filigree at the tops - wonderful design all around the top of the room, and also on the middle section of the vaulted and beamed ceiling, in shades of green and melon - to me it is a mix of Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts with a Moorish flavor. This was painted on canvas and mounted on the walls and ceiling. Part of the ceiling is stained glass - in green and melon hexagons. I just had to go visit this room after meeting the fellow on the train who told me he did the refinishing of the woodwork and set the place on fire.

Charles Rohlfs 1853 - 1936 - Hall chair c.1900, Buffalo, NY, great, interesting design - oak with original black stain

Tiffany silver pitcher c.1878 silver, gold, copper, iris, dragonflies, fish. A wonderful piece - true art in silver.

Tiffany 1880/90 tiny coffeepot silver/pearls/chalcedony/ivory - beautiful, intricate flower design (Turkish cofee).

Sanford Robinson Gifford 1823-1880 - "Morning in the Hudson", Haverstraw Bay 1866 , and "Hunter Mountain, Twilight" 1866

Thomas Cole - his dark paintings reminiscent of mine.

Everytime I go to the Art Institute, I realize I need to go again. It makes you crazy. I pick out things I want to see, in certain areas, and on the way to that area, I get sidetracked looking at other things I like.

This time I concentrated on American Art - 1800's to early 1900's, including paintings, silver, furniture, glass, pottery. I wanted to see what they have from the Hudson River School. I am still trying to decide who the artists might have been of three paintings I own. I love the Hudson River School and I have for over thirty years. My paintings have the right "feel", and I have researched for a long time, but I am not an expert.

Orrefors "Celestial Sphere" 1929 Designer Edward Hald (1883 - 1980) - glass with wheel engraved decoration, pewter and brass, celestial figures, constellations in the glass, zodiac signs on base.

I just picked up a piece of Orrefors Sunday from the people selling beside me. It is a very heavy opalescent glass shallow bowl - pale green cast - signed and with the design number. The bottom is scratched from being moved around on a table top over many years, but it can be polished. It's the first piece I have ever had.

Thorne Miniature Rooms - a real treat, for those of all ages. Totally amazing!

The last time I was at the Institute, I concentrated on the Impressionists, the European Galleries, Architecture (very large Frank Lloyd Wright window collection), the Super famous Chagall Windows. On the way from here to there during both visits, I saw many other items of note, ancient art, Asian antiquities, armor, glass, jewelry. What an incredible place!

I enjoyed a peaceful lunch in the garden. There are tables around a large fountain area with four sculptures of mythological sea beings carrying fish and shells. It is a beautiful setting, very pleasant under the trees- a great European feel in a courtyard with huge arched windows of the galleries all around. The second floor has a balcony type area with sculptured posts, on all sides.

I took the free trolley to get to the Institute and also to get back to Union Station. The trolley stops right outside the station, so it is definitely convenient. I had checked my luggage first in the Metropolitan Lounge. I could do that because I was a sleeper passenger, and I saved myself the big expense of a locker. It really adds up over a period of several hours.

I sure wish we hadn't been at a hotel so far out of the city, because I would have been out sightseeing first thing this morning. I lost a lot of hours, although I got very tired walking around in the Museum. I guess I am really getting old. I would have loved to spend more time sitting in the garden court during lunch, just enjoying and soaking it all up, but I needed to see as much art as possible.

Traveling along beside Lake Michigan now - was pretty until we reached the steel plants and refineries. Now the stench is horrific and the black cloud hanging over the water isn't very scenic.

You would like this, Craig - grain elevators.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Day 4 - Chicago

We sat on the bus for well over an hour last night, waiting until it filled up, then the traffic was horrendous on the way to the hotel, due to construction. This was at 11:00 P.M., and we were finally in line to check in at midnight. Talk about a long ordeal.

My room was on the top (5th floor), with the atrium and pool, garden court outside my door and over the railing. The air was like a sauna, as the ceiling in the hall was low enough for me to touch. It may have been scenic overlooking the pool five floors below, but it certainly wasn't comfortable. It was pretty, but I definitely got vertigo when I looked over the railing.

The room was hot, and even after turning the air conditioning all the way up, it hardly cooled off all night. I felt rather sick to my stomach in the morning when I got up, but I managed to eat the breakfast that was provided to Amtrak customers for $3.00

It was rather interesting staying in a hotel with so many people that I had become acquainted with on the train. You begin to feel as though you have known them for quite a while. The woman whose mother is in the nursing home on the corner from my home was one of the people who had to stay, along with her granddaughter. In fact, I watched her granddaughter for her in the train station while she went to find food. The little girl had become rather chummy with me over the period of a couple of days.

The bus arrived at 10:30 A.M., we loaded up and headed for the city. I think there was a second bus also, which would arrive at the hotel shortly after ours.

We arrived in the city, I checked my baggage in the VIP lounge, and prepared to spend a few hours sightseeing. I am getting to the point where I know my way around town fairly well, and I had already decided last September that this trip would be spent at the Art Institute again, trying to see more of what is offered. I was there a couple of years ago, and there is so much to see that I'll probably never see all of it.

Still Day 3

Now we're just sitting - conductor just made an announcement - by Federal law conductors can only work 12 hours - he got on at 5:00 A.M. in Omaha - it is now 5:30 p.m. We have to wait half an hour for another conductor to come to the train to take us into Chicago. I am definitely ging to miss the connection to DC, which is due to leave Chicago NOW! Fun!

Much later...

Sitting on a bus in Chicago waiting to be transported to a hotel. We were very late and trains to DC and other places had already left. Amtrak loses lots of money on this one. Some people were put on various buses to their destinations and the rest of us are going to Homewood Hotel in Homewood, IL. We were given a hotel voucher and $23 cash for food. They do take care of us.

We'll be picked up at the hotel at 11:00 A.M. and my train to DC leaves at 5:35 P.M. Supposedly my checked baggage will be on it. Maybe I'll get in a bit of sightseeing. My wish to stay in a Chicago hotel is being fulfilled sooner than I would have imagined.

There is a guy in front of me, on the bus, who says he is a retired railroad worker. He heard that the train that left Emeryville yesterday, the train I had originally planned to be on, is already twelve hours late due to a landslide somewhere - I presume in the mountains.

We are waiting for people from another train. The women in the offices were very upset that so many of us had "messed up" travel plans and were so good at trying to help all of us.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Day 3

Oh, how dreary. Nebraska and Iowa, dark, gloomy, rain, rain, rain. Woke up in Omaha, got my shower and dressed for breakfast.

Not as many people in the dining car this A.M. I joined the young man from Africa at his table. His parents were sitting across the aisle. He sat with me until my order came, as he had finished when I was seated. We had a chance to catch up from our conversation we started on the platform in Denver.

He does not live in South Africa with his parents, but lives in neighboring Botswana. His brother in Milwaukee works in the pharmaceutical industry, and may possibly transfer to New Zealand. In 1994, this very interesting and pleasant young man was in the U.S. traveling around with friends, therefore he has had a chance to see more of the great sights. He mentioned the Grand Canyon, stating he doesn't like heights and could not hike down there.

After he left the table, I ate my breakfast, and was then joined when having coffee by a woman from Palo Alto I had met the first day. She works in the aerospace industry in Mountainview - has done so for twenty-some years. We discussed California real estate prices. She and her husband purchased their three bedroom ranch type house in 1974 for $43,000 and it is now worth around one million dollars.

The attendant from the coach I was in before acquiring my room in the crew car is a young African American girl with pretty long braids. She is a sweetheart. Her room in the crew car is basically across from mine and we run into each other on a semi-regular basis. She is so cheerful and always seems happy to see me.

"You're really enjoying your sleeper, aren't you," she just now remarked.

"Yes, and I am doing the housekeeping in your bathroom so you won't have to worry about it."

All day yesterday, various of the dining car attendants made a big deal about the fact that I was in "their car."

"Yeah, she's in our car!" one would state to another.

It feels like I am getting special treatment when in reality I am probably not. The attendant for this car just stopped by my room and asked how I am doing. We discussed this dismal weather. There are storms and severe weather predicted, which will affect our schedule. I could miss my connection to D.C.

"Can I get you anything to drink - juice, bottled water?"

"No, I'm fine."

Super care around here. Late last night, at midnight, the dining car steward came through to her room and I mentioned the toilet wouldn't flush - asked her to tell some of the men if she saw anyone. In this particular car, the toilets don't work at high elevations and the conductor or whoever is downstairs in the crew lounge, has to flip some switches inside a panel down there to activate the vacuum system. The conductor explained to me yesterday that it is a design malfunction from the specific time period in which this car was produced.

She returned to my room and told me that I could try to flush - it should be OK.

Just crossed the Mississippi, at Burlington, Iowa. Nasty storms - we are trying to stay behind the really big winds, making us late for Chicago. Train personnel are in constant contact with the Fort Worth radar tracking system.

Johann, the young man from Bostwana, spent a long time before lunch talking to me about his job in Africa. He is a guide for photographic safaris in Botswana, Namibia & Zambia.

He and his parents are traveling in this car, a couple of rooms from mine. I had asked him what he does for a living and he said, "Here, I'll show you," taking a large portfolio out of his bag.

We sat in an empty room, to enable us to stretch out and use the light from the windows as we talked. Johann went into great detail about the various choices of safaris, and told me quite a bit about each region, especially the Okavango Delta area.

He explained many of the photos in the brochure, including the various peoples, their languages and cultures. When we weren't discussing the safaris and life in Africa, we became very involved in a lengthy discussion of languages and accents. He and his parents speak several languages - Dutch, Flemish, German, and African tribal languages - Zulu, etc.

My love of languages and interest in trying to decide exactly where a person is from, by accent, prompted probably the most involved discussion I have ever had on the subject. I had detected Dutch, along with a touch of German, in his father's accent last night, and I was correct.

Johann said that his family history goes back to the 1700's and is a mix of Dutch, Flemish, and Indonesian, although they are very much Caucasian in appearance, and they learned British English in their early years in school.

We talked about many accents in the States, but we discussed European and African languages more. I loved it when he demonstrated the African language with the click click sound. I have always found that fascinating. He is such an intelligent person, and so willing to entertain an "old lady" - acted as though he was very interested in telling me about his life.

In fact, he gave me the brochure, and his card. It is the only copy he has on the train, but insisted he has four copies in Milwaukee - one for each of his two brothers and two for his cousins. He also wanted to show them what he does. He has been working for Penduka Safaris for a while; it is a family owned operation which has been in existence since 1963.

One interesting incident Johann was relating to me was a campfire evening near a hippo pond. Two lions, about six miles from each other, were calling out, when one of the German women in the group fell to the ground in fear, as a lion decided to take a shortcut right through the campsite, about 15 feet from them. He said that was rather exciting. The lion didn't bother them because of the fire and lanterns, and the smell of fuel, but was just going from here to there.

What a conversation we had. I could have listened for hours, but we had to break for lunch, as Susan, the dining car steward, stopped by to tell us about lunch, and told me, specifically, that they were out of dessert so lunch would be short.

Tornado warning ahead - train is delayed because of weather - checking tracks - want to keep us safe.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Day 2

Awoke at 7:00 Mountain Time after very restful sleep, to fabulous view of snowed covered peaks in Utah. Gorgeous morning!

Took a shower, dressed and made breakfast reservation, then sat in the lounge car waiting to be called.

I happened to sit with a very interesting 75 year old woman, who worked for the National Park Service for 27 years. Yosemite was her assignment for a lengthy period of time, but she also worked at several other parks in the West. Kate still goes hiking and skiing, traveling all over the country to do so. We did not run out of things to talk about, especially since I am quite familiar with most areas of the country we were discussing. Everything from elevations, to wildflowers, birds (she's a bird watcher - especially raptors), past experiences in all kinds of weather. Fascinating woman! We continued our conversation for a lengthy period after lunch, also.

"Do you know what those yellow flowers are?" she asked. She admitted she is not a real expert in wildflowers.

"No, but my son could tell us. I always liked hiking with him. He would tell me the scientific name of everything."

At breakfast, I sat with an African American woman and her granddaughter from Mississippi. She had just visited her mother, a stroke patient at the nursing home on the corner from where I live. Before she moved to Mississippi 2 years ago, she lived in Sacramento for 20 years, and before that in Richmond, where her other family members still live.

In Mississippi, she was fortunate enough to buy a restored house that is on the National Register, for just a fraction of the cost in the worst areas in Richmond.

She is a lovely, sensitive person, and was telling me how distressed she is about her whole family situation. Her family is much more dysfunctional than my family.

The Colorado is high this year, a result of the heavy snow pack. Up until now, the area has suffered through several years of drought. The white water areas are quite spectacular, giving rafters a real run for their money. It is quite wonderful, sitting in the lounge car with a "picture window" on the river and its wildlife, and the towering cliffs which dwarf the train in the constricted canyon areas. Everything is green and there are many wild flowers sprinkled around. I should try this trip in the winter for a complete change of atmosphere.

Lunch was shared with a Lakota Sioux young woman, (and another couple). She is studying for her Master's in Regional and Urban Planning in Honolulu. I had seen her in the lounge with her mother yesterday, waiting for lunch. Her mother is not well, and didn't make it to lunch today. She is recovering from pleurisy at the moment.

They are going to a sister's home and then traveling to Montana and South Dakota to a Pow Wow. They left the train in Denver and I spoke with them on the platform before they were whisked away by shuttle cart to the station.

After saying goodbye to them, I turned to be close to the crew car for boarding, and a gentleman and I started speaking. He is from South Africa and is traveling with his wife and son. They came to the States to visit a son and grandchildren in Milwaukee - are doing a bit of traveling around the country. He was describing the area where he lives in South Africa, near Johannesburg, how much he loves it. He also told me they speak Afrikaans and I would not be able to understand them. (I love all the interesting people.)

There are quite a few people on the train from England, but then there usually are.

I ate dinner with a family of three from Chicago. They are older people and of course, all of us old folks have tales to tell. The guy said he had moved to California at one point but decided to move back to Chicago, he loves it so much.

I was telling him about my sight-seeing ventures between trains whenever I am westbound and there are several hours to kill. I mentioned the Art Institute and he said he started a fire there. He was refinishing woodwork in an exhibit from the old Chicago Stock Exchange and left his supplies sitting over night. They caught on fire. The damage was $20,000, which was not a real big deal. The big deal could have been that there was a big Rembrandt exhibit right outside the door and if the fire wasn't extinguished when it was, it would have been a total disaster.

Day 1 June 6

As it turned out, I had plenty of time for the blood test to check my Coumadin level, because the train didn't leave the station until an hour later than scheduled.

An Amtrak commuter train, which runs between Sacramento and San Jose, was broken down on the track outside the Emeryville station. The passengers were eventually transferred to another train, then our train was able to come in on the alternate track, but not on the track it would normally use. This caused quite a delay in departure time.

On top of all that, I was awake a lot of the night with a nice, new cold. I have felt like crap all day, and I hate getting close to people. I have been popping acetaminophen, which I am not supposed to do. When I first got on the train this morning, I fell asleep almost immediately, at the Moth Ball Fleet in Suisun Bay.

I have been lucky enough to obtain a room in a sleeper. I am actually in the crew (dorm) car. I had a room in the crew car on one of my trips last year. It is always so nice and comfy and peaceful. I think I need that right now.

I have been going crazy so I can get things done so I can go on this trip now. There is alway so much to do. Selling at Alameda yesterday meant getting up at 2:30 A.M., and that is very hard to do.

After a couple of naps, I felt almost ready to conquer the world again, so I ventured out to get a dinner reservation, and in the process I met several pleasant people in the lounge car. I shared the dinner table with an engaging couple from England. We had jolly great fun discussing a myriad of topics. It is always good hanging out with travelers from other parts of the world - gives one perspective. You kind of get a handle on life elsewhere that way.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

More Posting Maybe

I haven't been writing as much lately, but I have been really busy. I am leaving for Florida, then New York State in a couple of days. Maybe I'll write during the long days riding Amtrak. I should be able to find something to write about then.