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.


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