July 23, 2006: Amtrakin’ It Back to New Jersey

The “boys” slept better last night and I woke up with Dexter sharing my pillow and Oreo snuggled against my leg. This is the upside to having multiple dogs. They do get along very well.

At 11:45 we went over to the Omega Grill and met dad, aunt Sharon, uncle Leo, Aunt Betty and cousin Paula Jean for lunch. Paula Jean and Aunt Betty are returning to Ohio this afternoon.

Dominica and I had to cut lunch a little short so that we could drive up to East Rochester and drop off the Mazda PR5 at Vincent Mazda so that they can fix the back hatch this week. Then we headed on to the Rochester Amtrak station so that I could catch the train to New York.

On our way out of the house we ended up talking to a real estate agent who was having open houses in two of the other units in our complex. She said that she was getting a lot of interest in our place because we have the only ranch and everyone is looking for a ranch which is very encouraging to hear from someone on the buying and not on the selling end of things. We are very hopeful to be able to move the house over the next month. It would just be a huge relief to have that out of the way. Now if we could just get the Mazda PR5 sold we would be in really great shape.

The 1:52 afternoon train to New York didn’t come through the station until 3:50 or so. That wasn’t a good sign. My train was supposed to be the 4:17 and if the 1:52 was running that late there was very little chance of my train being on time.

Dominica waited at the station with me until around 4:45 then she headed back to Geneseo. My train didn’t arrive until 5:20. We have been worried about the train being late every since I got the ticket last week because it is scheduled to arrive at Penn Station in Manhattan at 11:45 tonight and the last New Jersey Transit train out on the North East Corridor leaves around 1:30 meaning that if the train comes in two hours late that I will be stuck in the station until the morning trains start running. So we hope that either I make it early enough to catch the NJ Transit or that the train is so late that I get to spend the night on the Amtrak line and can take the morning train just as I arrive.

I got dinner on the train on the leg from Rochester to Syracuse. I got a cheese pizza, some chips and a scotch. The pizza was just microwave fare but was quite tasty. The convenience of getting to eat on the train is awesome. This is my first time taking advantage of that options but I think that I will do it more often. It is quite the time saver.

As we arrived in Rome the conductor informed us that Rome is the home of the world’s first commercial cheese factory, home of the cheese museum and is known as the “Copper City”. I had no idea. He also reminded us that Utica has one of the most beautiful train stations in New York.

I was all prepared for this train trip. I brought seven episodes of the second season of Magnum P.I. and The Perfect Score to watch during the trip. The time just flies by. And to make the trip even better I remembered to get my GPS set up and running right from the get go. The best part is that I now have the Motorola Q on the train so I have access to email while traveling – a very nice upgrade.

Today, while studying the Amtrak and Via train routes available, Dominica and I discovered that it is possible to take the train out of New York up the north east coast of New England, hop the ferry in Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, take the Via line up to the north tip of Nova Scotia to North Syndey where we could catch another ferry over to the main island of Newfoundland where another train would take us all of the way across the island to St. John’s the main city there. We have been wanting to go there for a long time and taking a train seems like it would be a really cool way to do the trip.

I had the good fortune to manage to have my seat to myself for the whole trip down to Manhattan. That was awesome. You get space to spread out. Lots of people lay down and sleep. I just like having the extra space. Then I can sit my bag beside me and be able to easily get to all of my stuff while traveling.

Amtrak managed to make up some serious time on the trip down. I don’t know how they did it but it is awesome to know that I don’t have to sleep in Penn Station tonight. That was going to be awful.

Towards the end of the trip I stopped back at the snack car to grab an omelette and cheese bagle and a beer. It is great to be able to get food whenever you want while traveling. Even driving you don’t get this type of convenience.

I watched The Perfect Score which is a little known but recent movie about a half dozen high school students in a cast lead by the awesome Scarlotte Johansen and Chris Evans who attempt to steal the answers to the SAT test. There is definitely a reason that the movie is barely known. It was very lackluster. Whatchable but far from being anything special. And they were really foolish not to push it as being a Johansen film. I didn’t know that she was in it until after we had bought it. The actors were fine for the movie but the script was pretty rough. I wouldn’t make a point of trying to see it.

I got back to New Brunswick and grabbed a taxi to the apartment. It was about 2:00 am when I got home. I was not ready to fall asleep so I stayed up for about an hour before going to bed. While I was at the computer I had a run in with a centipede that was living beneath the computer desk. I hate leaving the apartment because this always happens when I get back. This time the centipede made a run for it before I could react and made it up the curtains and managed to hide for the rest of the night. So, for the first time since we moved in here, we have a centipede that we didn’t manage to kill “the first time” but I will be on the lookout for it for sure.

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