30-Days Riding the Rail: (050118>050216)

Dear one and all:

Instead of buying an airline ticket for a Midwest flight, I purchased a 30-day Rail for $515:

  1. Purchased almost fifty tickets (the last agent said he had never seen so many excursions on one purchase)
  2. Traveled over 11,000 miles (the cost per mile was about 4.4 cents per mile)
  3. Normally, left on Monday and returned on Friday with legs to Florida, Upper Midwest, New England/Canada and Texas (where the women's rallying cry is "Remember the alimony.")
  4. The only thing that would have made it better was if Cathy had been along. There is a lot to be said for an extended break because you realize that some simple daily joys had slipped into the "take for granted" twilight zone.
  5. The trip was a combination of work and social visits
    1. With old friends, I reviewed timism using my LCD projector and a 2-hour summary overview. The reviews were positive with the common response, "Launch it!"
    2. Working on the train, I was repeatedly approached with the question "Why are you working so hard?" One person gave me his business card with his cell and home phone with the comment, "When you run for office, call me. I want to volunteer for you." (I ended up working at my seat to avoid people with too much time and too many questions ... but that is what is great about a train ride.)
  6. Trains are great if you don't have to be there and if you can work and sleep on them.
  7. The next time I have to fly somewhere, I'm going to get a 30-day pass instead of an airline ticket. The polar bears of northern Canada beckon. The Pacific waves beckon. Grand Canyon beckons.

Visited Amy and Gregg--encouraged them to do a 30-day pass on their honeymoon ... Tampa library would not let me in citing policy of not letting homeless in with paraphenelia: Guess I don't travel well but I don't think my computer are homeless paraphenelia (also happened in Hartford).
Cathy and I visited Uncle Frank and Aunt Susan. Getting off the train at Union Station, we took three hours to walk down the Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial in a snowy, snowier mid-day jaunt.
Jan 27
Closed down the work/living space in MPLS. Will launch Timism.com from both MPLS and Richmond.
Jan 31
Hartford, CT Visit Chris and Barbara for an evening of economics and politics except for their no talk zone of "24 hours" ... earlier learned that Hartford Library is like Tampa: As I walked in the security guard said that homeless are not allowed in with personal effects.
Feb 1
Boston, MA Visited graduate school housemate, Raymond, and his charming wife. Before I left, Heidi told me that before I visit again that I should trim my moustache so she could hear me better. Can you answer the riddle?
Feb 2
Buffalo, NY

"Rolling Hotel"

Originally, intended to get a taxi and hotel at 10pm. Instead of spending time and money looking for taxi and hotel, just bought another ticket to go further west to Cleveland. At 3 am I exited the westbound Lake Shore Limited to get on the easbound Lake Shore Limited. At 8am, I got off the train in Buffalo having slept on the train instead of hotel--saved $60 to $80!
Feb 2 Niagara Falls Amazing morning looking at this natural wonder. Got a haircut in Niagara, Canada, mixed with a lengthy review of America by the 70 yr old barber. (Maybe no more homeless looks?) Went next door to the 140 yr old "Simon Diner"--a place that should be visited for it exudes books, literacy and discussion. Despite my summary conclusion, my introductory comment to the three bohemians ("When do we start talking politics?") was met by a stoney, "We don't talk politics or religion." Oops.
Feb 3
Toronto Spent afternoon and evening visiting some sites from grade school memory. (Did the overnight express to Montreal--another rolling hotel).
Feb 4
Montreal A real cosmopolitian city with its dual lingua where the train station newsstands had newspapers from all over the world but not a copy USA Today from across the nearby American border. Definitely a worldly city, not a lowbrow reading stand.
Feb 4-5 Hopscotching
Train from Canada arrived at 8pm in NY City but the Richmond train scheduled to leave at 2am ... ugh! Did not want sit in Penn Station for 6 hours! So, I bought a NY>Philly>DC ticket. In DC, I bought a DC>Philly ticket. At 4 am in Philly, I ascended the Track 5 escalator, U-turned down the Track 4 steps to be the last boarder on my original NY>Richmond train. Slept like a baby!
Feb 7
Chicago Short visit
Ft.Worth, TX Arrived for a 4-day stay to visit Rick& Carolyn and Harold & Karen. Great talks with in-laws and out-laws. 36-hour Flu stopped me in my tracks. Fortunately, stayed with sister-in-law (who's Prof of Nursing) so I had lots of care including a double nickle birthday cake that was a work of art.
Feb 13
Ft. Worth TX
Arrived at station an hour before departure time only to find a freight train had derailed in front of the Amtrak train. While physically well enough to travel, I really wasn't well enough to work so it was one of the rare boring periods in life.
Feb 15 Pittsburgh, PA
See Winnie, Unforgettable persons
11525 Richmond Home Because of the illness I was not able to visit an old Navy buddy with a 3-day trip to Cincinnati which would have added 1420 miles for a total of about 13,000 miles ... more than half-way around the world!

Summary and lessons:

  1. In looking at how much work I completed on the train, I feel I completed as much or more than if I would have had stayed at home for a simple reason: I didn't spend the three or so hours a day that Cathy and I overlap with meals, news, talk and honey-do's. Glad to be back into the routine with a re-newed sense of purpose and re-upped level of motivation.
  2. Friends reviewing timism convinced me that I should launch sooner rather than later. If nothing goes wrong, Spring 2005, will be the launch date which is kind of historic for it was a century ago that pivotal point of timism was elaborated: E=MC2.
  3. Train food and drink is overpriced so the final two-legs involved Campbell soup and pop. Saved $40>$50 per leg direction. A little "roughing it" is ok now and then, a roughing it that is nothing like the roughing it of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  4. While Paul Simon sung "50 ways" to leave a lover, I learned 50 ways to rotate in a rail seat to always find a comfortable sleeping position. However, like the cold in Minnesota, I don't mind rail-sleeping but I don't miss it--all hail the joy of home sweet home in your own bed.