Matt took off today for a trip on the train to see his Grandmother in Nebraska. Hopefully he will squeeze in a few blog posts about his adventure on the train along the way. But here is my perspective waving goodbye from the platform.
Matt decided to catch the train in Staunton, Va (Matt’s old stomping grounds) partly because it was familiar to us. He booked his reservation and packed his computer and suitcase and off we went. Zoe and I drove him up to the station. She doesn’t care much for driving on the interstate and high-speed (70 MPH is fast to a dog), beside tractor trailers and under bridges.
After a quick lunch and stretch through the park we were off to the cramped parking lot at the Staunton Amtrak Station. It is one of the unmanned stations that has a small waiting lounge that was full of people trying to stay warm on such a cold day. We opted to wait it out on the platform. Zoe stayed in the sunshine in the car and offered her support through bark fits anytime anyone got near the car.
The first train showed up headed east bound on its way to Washington DC. That was train number 50 – wrong train. That cleared out most of the passengers. Few got off if any but about 30 or so got on.
Then about 10 minutes later Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal #51 rounded the bend and pulled into the station. Several attendants helped about 20 people off the train. And Matt lined up with the rest for boarding. No strip search, no security line, just a quick once over look by the attendant and up you go. So much more civilized if you ask me.
Matt grumbled a little at the bag of food my Mom and I put together for his trip. But looking at the people in line they almost all had their reusable grocery bags with various chips and whatnot peeking out. The guy in front of Matt even had a hard-sided cooler. The stories of train food along with our own personal experiences encouraged us to send him on his way a little better prepared. By the time he makes it to Chicago I would guess that his load is much lighter.
So as the train loaded up and pulled out. I could see Matt through the window settling into his seat. I hope he has a good trip and his Grandma is in good spirits and feeling well.