Thursday, February 14, 2013

Off to NJ - via train!

I'm heading to see my mom who is in the hospital again, but will hopefully be transitioning to rehab soon. Fingers crossed! Because of the short notice and undefined length of stay, I'm giving traveling by a train a go. It's a decent rate (about the same as an airline ticket at a very good sale price) and by traveling out of the Charlotte station, most of the travel will be during the night and arrives around 1pm in NJ.

So we all drove up to Charlotte and treated the girl to a nice BBQ dinner together:

Unfortunately, I had a bit of downtime in the train station after being dropped off around 8:30pm:

And the train wasn't scheduled to leave until close to 2am

And didn't actually arrive until after 3am:

I'm not sure if Amtrak does this for all late night boarding, but as we boarded, a conductor gave each of us a specific seat number so we didn't have to go searching for a seat.  And once on the train, it was rather comfy. I loved the leg room and the seats reclined nicely and even had a leg support.  Only a blanket would have made it cozier.  Plus each pair of seats had an outlet by the window.  My seat partner settled in to watch "Madea Goes to Jail" on her portable DVD player while I passed out.

I woke up around 7am in Virginia:

And Manassas:

It was kind of neat passing Washington DC:

Well, I guess it was kind of a back door view of Washington DC:

I was a bit thrilled when the conductor said we weren't expecting many more passengers and we could spread out. I got a pair of seats to myself and had BOTH plugs to myself:

The only downside of the trip was going to the restroom and the lady comes out, pauses, looks me straight in the eye, and says, "It is nasty in there." 

Which is funny, because at first, "I'm like, whoa.  What did you do in there, lady?!"  But I realize she was trying to say it was gross to begin with and the current state is not entirely her fault.  Which I have to say in Amtrak's defense, is what I kind of expected.  I have been on enough road trips to have witnessed very, very gross bathrooms and this wasn't close.  But it's similar to going to an airplane bathroom that has hit a lot of turbulence and you're like, "Ugh, I hope this is water I'm stepping on...and I wish I didn't have a sense of smell right now."

Overall, given that I slept during half this trip and there was electricity to keep me wired (and I only had to use the bathroom once), I wouldn't be opposed to traveling like this again (well, besides my return ride).  My only wish (besides not needing to use the restroom) would be a cart of coffee and snacks that would roll down the aisle like they do on airplanes (or on that train that takes Harry Potter to Hogwarts).  Yes, they have a cafe car somewhere on this train but if we're talking about wishing I didn't need to use the restroom, I might as well wish for the cart too, right?

And here's the sign that we're pulling into the old home station, the famous "Trenton Makes The World Takes" bridge:

Home sweet home.


Tom said...
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Pound said...

what happened to your mom now? if there was a train that sold chocolate frogs and every flavor beans i'd take it. and at least it wasn't near whAT I hear the carnival passengers are experiencing with that cruise ship that lost power- raw sewage spilling everywhere, no food. gross.

Pat said...

GREAT POST!! Love reading your travel stories!

Tom said...
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Joanne said...

How is your mom now?