Amtrak Adventure, DAY ONE, November 8, 2014

6am. Richmond, Va. About an hour and a half from my stepping off point in D.C. Just time to try and remember yesterday.

So, after all the good times at CruiseWorld, etc, I managed a couple hours sleep, and popped out of bed again at the crack of dawn to get ready for Amtrak. Put Gretchen in one Uber and I took another to the Amtrak station in Fort Lauderdale. The train showed up promptly and we were off.

Spent most of the morning organizing my nest. I had two seats, so there was plenty of room for my electronics, and the electrical plugs are right where they should be, so I can run and charge the phone, the tablet (which is my hotspot) and the laptop, and still slip in and out of my seat with ease. For those of you who haven't ridden long distance Amtrak trains, the seats are quite comfortable, with fifty something inch pitch (about what a 1st class airline seat has), and they sort people into cars by how far they are traveling, so the farther you are going the better chance they won't sit someone next to you.

After getting organized and grabbing some coffee, I spent the next couple hours working on the Great American Novel, with breaks to update this here blog, since I was 3 days behind. Managed to get caught up AND turn out 2 chapters of the book.

Headed to the Dining Car at noon and grabbed a hamburger for lunch. Food is still good, and mostly prepared right on the train, as opposed to being brought on frozen and microwaved. The onboard staff have all been excellent, quick to answer questions and just make small talk. After lunch it was back to my seat to pound the keyboard a little more.

I have to say I prefer the bi-level Superliners to these single level Viewliners they use here in the East. For one thing, the Lounge car is just a bunch of restaurant style booths, unlike the Observation cars, which have swivel chairs and couches. Those are much more conducive to hanging out and striking up a conversation with random strangers. So I spent most of the afternoon at my seat.

Dinner time came along, and I had myself a nice roasted half chicken with some rice and veggies. All tasty.

After dinner I decided to move myself down to the lounge car. Set myself up and started writing a little more, made some small talk with a few people, then noticed Ashleigh staring at me and whispering to her friend. As I suspected, it was another Jack Nicholson moment. She finally said something, and we started talking, and then she had to get some pictures with me, etc. So, she moved over to my table and talked for a while, so I could get her back story. She's a dancer in Orlando, heading to South Carolina to visit/help a friend who is recovering from breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Apparently Ashleigh's possession of a couple of store bought Double D's makes her an expert advisor on the reconstructive surgery her friend is undergoing soon. I don't know.

But after that we were joined by a stock analyst on his way to New York. We had been seated together over dinner, and talked a little business. Being based in Miami, he has some insight in to the cruise industry from a finance perspective. So now he decided to regale me and Ashleigh with pithy and insightful (and I suppose he thought interesting) tales of the companies he tracks. And I'm just like...dude, seriously? She's a dancer. From Florida. With augmented body parts she's not at all shy about sharing. At the moment I'd much rather hear about how they do augmentations, complete with live demonstrations, than anything a financial analyst has to say. Call me crazy, but I think I can read about all that in the WSJ any day of the week.   But a fun, slightly intoxicated strippers with daddy issues hitting on you because you look like Jack Nicholson? That doesn't happen anywhere near often enough. Sadly, the lovely Miss Ashleigh had to leave me in South Carolina around 10:30.

  I could see no reason to be awake without her, so I headed back to my nest to read and get some sleep. Took me a while to get comfy, but around 1 or so I think I finally found the sweet spot, and it was lights out til the train stopped in Richmond, VA around 6am to refuel. Which is where I am now, just a little short of D.C. and ready to continue the adventure.

Which I am sure I will share with all of you tomorrow.

Y'all have a GREAT DAY! I am going to.

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