July 2, 2015: Taking Amtrak East

The alarm went off at four in the morning giving me roughly four and a half hours of sleep last night.  These short nights are starting to catch up with me. I am feeling very tired today.

I had packed everything last night so getting out of the house really was not too bad.  I zipped upstairs and got ready for the day and showered.  I was out of the shower before Art arrived to pick me up.  Dad had gotten up to say goodbye as well.

It was four thirty when Art and I got in the car and headed to Pavilion to get gas and then up to Interstate 490 and on to Rochester.  This was actually Art’s first time ever going to the Rochester Amtrak station and he did not know where it was and accidentally got off on Interstate 390 North going up by where I used to work in the Emerson and Lexington areas up there circa 1995.

We got over the train station at just past five thirty.  The train is scheduled for five forty six and should arrive in Utica at four till eight in the morning.  I was looking forward to having down time on the train.  A few hours without interruptions so that I could just relax and recenter.

When I got into the train station the train was running just five minutes late.  But after a few minutes it got later and later and ended up not arriving to pick us up until a quarter after six.  Not a horrible delay, but more than I had been expected.

The early morning train was surprisingly busy.  The station was practically full.  Everyone had seats and there was plenty of room, but it was as full as you could be without getting the sense of being cramped.

I was pretty thirsty not having thought to get a drink before I left dad’s house so I spent two dollars on a bottle of green tea from a vending machine.  I am very hopeful that when Rochester builds its new train station and bus station complex which I could see being worked on across the street from where I sat, that they will include things like a cafe to get coffee and pastries.  It does not take much and would do a lot to enhance the station.  It is especially important to do this given that the train is routinely late and being stuck in the station for an extra half an hour is very common and a few extra hours is not unheard of.  An ATM would not be a bad idea either.

I spent some time talking to one older gentlemen, probably in his late eighties, who was on his way to Connecticut to visit family for the holiday weekend.  He had served in the USMC and had been in combat in Lebanon at some point.

I helped a Bulgarian who lived in Buffalo figure out how to get to the Buffalo bus station from the Amtrak station.  He was in the Rochester station before I got there at five thirty and his train was not even scheduled to get there until nine hours later and would almost certainly end up being late because they always are in that direction.

Once on the train everything was smooth.  I got two seats to myself.  I put my carry on items up above and listened to my book, “Made in America” by Bill Bryson for a while.  I fell asleep once or twice once I was past the Syracuse station.  I needed every minute that I could get.

It was about eight thirty when I got to Utica’s Union Station.  Dominica was waiting for me and we were to the house pretty quickly. Once we arrived we decided that since the kids were still asleep that we would run to Dave’s Diner for some breakfast.  We both got their version of garbage plates.  Sadly we are too far from Rochester and they have no idea what a garbage plate is out in the Utica area.  It’s all messed up and doesn’t resemble a real one in any way.

Liesl and Luciana were awake and waiting for us at the door when we arrived back at the house.

It was pretty much time for me to get right to work.  So I set my little office back up in the upstairs bedroom where our stuff is and hunkered down for a day of being alone upstairs again.

I worked until eight this evening.  Then around nine I took Dominica’s dad, Madeline and Emily to Utica to get ice cream for dessert.

Dominica had a really busy day doing laundry and packing for the entire day.  There is much to do as we are leaving to go to Waverly in the morning for two days.  Thankfully this is a short work week and I am off of work tomorrow so we have the ability to travel down whenever makes sense and I get to spend time with the family once there rather than having to work the entire time.  We are going to stay there overnight at the Hampton in Sayre on the Pennsylvania side of the line.  Then on Saturday evening Liesl and I are going to head for Kentucky while Dominica stays with the rest of the family for another night there and then going back up to Frankfort and down again to follow us two days later on the drive down to Texas.

We were unable to get to bed when we wanted, which was around ten, because there was so much packing to do.  We were up until midnight getting everything packed up.  Luciana got in a lot of trouble this evening and was in bed at ten thirty but was still awake quite late.  Liesl, on the other hand, was not in trouble and was allowed to stay up but was asleep shortly after eleven.