Photos: The interior of the lovely Tampa train station, our train pulling away, and the exterior of our train station.
Ginger and I woke up this morning in Jacksonville, went to the station, and realized that for the FIRST time, someone was getting serious about checking IDs and boarding the train in an orderly fashion. Truly, until that point, train boarding and de-training was a truly relaxed affair. But today they checked IDs and even assigned seats. Ginger and I were told the train was so full we wouldn’t be able to sit together, but as we boarded, we found a seat with a large stain (and I’d swear it was a pee stain. All I could think about was Poppy on Seinfeld.)
Anyway–the conductor magically whisked the stained seat cushion away and replaced it, so Ginger and I were at least able to sit together on the last leg of our journey. Once we had moved past the drowsy stage (I think sleeping on a train is VERY easy to do–something about the sound and rhythm), we went to the breakfast car to eat French toast. We sat with a lovely woman and her granddaughter, who were getting off in Orlando and then going on a cruise (I suspect they were going to do Disney World first). We shared train stories and laughed–the lady said she hadn’t been on a train in thirty years, and at that time they had special “lounge cars” which held the bathrooms and “lounges” for the ladies. Wish I’d seen one of those!
After breakfast, Ginger and I settled back into our seats and I thought about all the things I’d brought with me and hadn’t used–I brought a video camera and never used it. I brought my Kindle and never opened it. I brought books to read and never cracked them–though I did read Nancy Rue’s wonderful manuscript. 🙂 I brought a keyboard in case I wanted to do some serious writing–never even took it out of my bag.
But I did use my iPad a LOT–checked email on it, used the map feature to figure out where we were going and how to get there, used “Trip Advisor” to figure out what to see and “Yelp” to figure out where to eat. The iPad was wonderful to have handy, and the only drawback was that I didn’t always have a wi-fi signal. When I didn’t have a signal, I played a few games of Crush the Castle and Solitaire. 🙂
After we went through Kissimmee (That’s Ki-SIM-me, not Kiss-a-me), we realized that we were going to roll right past Ginger’s house–she’s not on the tracks, but she had completely forgotten that her town has an Amtrak depot! So she had to go all the way to Tampa with me, and be picked up there.
And we rolled into Tampa’s historic train depot right on time. I gave the hubby a big hug, hugged Ginger goodbye, and we drove home. I’ve been unpacking ever since, and tomorrow–I diet.
Monday, I write. 🙂
P.S. The hubby didn’t read the blog entries, so I think I may have to sit him down and make him watch all 414 photos in a slideshow. That’d be fitting, don’t you think?