train of thought

4.27.11 ~ New London
4.27.11 ~ New London, Connecticut

There isn’t a train I wouldn’t take.
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

The past few days have been a whirlwind of planning, juggling and preparation – and we finally boarded a train yesterday to come visit Tim’s brother Dan and his family here in Woodbridge, Virginia. By car the trip should take about seven hours, but in recent years it usually winds up taking us eleven hours because of traffic jams, pauses to pay tolls (even with EZ-Pass), rest stops and driver fatigue. Enough already! Tim calculated the cost of gas, wear and tear on the car (last time we came we lost a hubcap!), tolls, food, etc. and decided that the train would only cost slightly more and would save us tons of aggravation!

We hopped on the train in mist and fog at Union Station in New London at 12:46 p.m and arrived at Union Station in Washington at 6:30 p.m. About six hours! This is surely the best way for us to go! Whenever the train ran along I-95 we were going faster than the cars on the road and found this knowledge so thoroughly satisfying.

Had plenty of time to relax and let our thoughts wander or disappear…

Between Old Saybrook (1:08 p.m.) and New Haven (1:35 p.m.) I enjoyed the Connecticut shoreline scenery. Skunk cabbage was everywhere swampy, and in the marshes I saw an egret with two babies! I also saw an osprey pair sitting on their nest on a platform constructed for their nesting convenience.

Around Bridgeport (2:00 p.m.) the marinas and seascapes disappeared and the warehouses and truck lots started appearing, and lots of graffiti, some ugly, some artistic. At Stamford (2:25) my thoughts turned to daughter Larisa and her boyfriend Dima, because his parents live there. They emigrated from Russia to Connecticut when Dima was seven years old. Then the sun started to come out!

New Rochelle, New York (2:45 p.m.), we started seeing jets coming into the various airports in and around New York City. My cousin got married in New Rochelle in 1974 but I don’t remember the details much – the past is gone. Pennsylvania Station, New York City (3:15 pm.) – perhaps Tim & I will be getting off at this station in the near future, Larisa is planning to move to the Big Apple in July to join Dima, who is already living there and working there, doing research at Mount Sinai Medical Center. This was the longest stop as the train took on a new crew for the rest of the trip. I pulled out my Kindle and started reading Falling into Grace by Adyashanti.

I was thoroughly engrossed in the book and didn’t pay much attention to the scenery in New Jersey. We made one stop there in Newark (3:50 p.m.). Two good things – I was not getting motion sickness reading in the train – maybe I grew out of that problem! – and it was a good thing I had my Kindle because if I had Falling into Grace with paper pages I would be underlining almost every sentence! Wished I could talk with Kathy about believing and not believing our thoughts!

As we approached Philadelphia (4:50 p.m.) a hot flash power surge, as Laurie would call it, decided to come over me. Tim was sleeping soundly beside me and it was all I could do to struggle within the confines of my window seat, getting my hoodie off and my indigo blue Japanese fan out of my bag, without elbowing and poking him awake! But I did succeed! Tim has a stepsister and I have a cousin in Philadelphia – I hope we can visit them in July when Jeff has his photography show there, too! Perhaps we’ll take the train…

Wilmington, Delaware (5:15 p.m.) and then Baltimore (6:00 p.m.). My thoughts turned to Dad and Aunt Lil and how they used to take the train to this station to visit their sister, my Aunt Em. We used to drop them off at Union Station in New London in much the same way as Nate dropped us off there earlier. It’s funny when you think about it, how we often repeat patterns from the lives of older relatives. Dad used to drive to Maryland, as we used to drive to Virginia.

And I have a feeling we won’t be driving to Virginia any more. The train was full, even though it wasn’t a holiday weekend. Many middle-aged and elderly ones with suitcases, not just businessmen. If you live on the east coast you probably know what a nightmare traveling on I-95 has become. I heartily recommend the train to anyone!

Washington, D.C. (6:30 p.m.). Dan and his daughter Erica were there to greet us! They work in D.C. and fetched us after work. Fran and her son David had a yummy taco dinner ready for us! We are now safely arrived here with Dan & Fran, even if we were under a tornado watch this morning. But the sun is out now and the weather looks to be improving so we should have a wonderful time catching up with each other!

4.28.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
our home away from home ~ 4.28.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

10 thoughts on “train of thought”

  1. You see – you have that urge to underline books.

    Meanwhile – first I’ve ever heard of skunk cabbage.

    1. You’re right, Paul, I do. I’m thinking I should carry a notebook, though, or else finish reading the Kindle instructions. It does have a highlighting feature but I haven’t figured out how to use yet. If we’re going to keep traveling light being able to carry multiple books in such a small space is a big advantage!

      We had a lot of skunk cabbage in the swamp in the woods around my home growing up… Perhaps it is unique to North America.

  2. That sounds like a wonderful way to travel. I wish that we had more options for train travel here in the midwest. It seems so sophisticated. And efficient.

    1. Sophisticated? 🙂 That’s a word I’ve never associated with any of my activities! 🙂

      Definitely efficient! I arrived with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. After traveling by car we arrive exhausted, stressed out, and collapse in a heap. We brought only what we could carry and didn’t have to make zillions of trips to the car to bring in all our stuff…

      How far would you have to travel to get to the nearest train station?

  3. We’re both traveling, Barbara! Yours sounds like a lovely way to go. Easier on the planet than a million cars and airplanes jetting across the sky. Enjoy your time!

    1. Thanks, Kathy, and I hope you’re enjoying your visit, too! I think we need a lot more public transportation options, like trains – easier on the planet and on the nerves…

      Did any of those tornadoes come near the place you are staying? The scenes we saw on the news were so horrific. One touched down about 15 miles from here and caused a lot of damage, but not like the obliteration we saw deeper in the south. So hard to comprehend…

      1. No, the tornadoes didn’t do any damage around here. Most of the dangerous touch-downs were west of my in-laws place. What crazy weather!

  4. I also find traveling by train so convenient and much easier than driving. Thank goodness we still have a few train tracks left in this country. Have you ever taken the train from L.A. down to San Diego? It hugs the coast so you have the best view of the ocean.
    Same with the train from Cape Town down to Simonstown (near Cape Point -the southern most tip of Africa) which my spouse and I took last month. Such beautiful scenery.

    1. I’ve never been to California or South Africa! The farthest west I’ve been is Lackawanna, New York! But I do want to go and see the land John Muir loved so much.

      When my parents were about the age I am now, they took the train trip of a lifetime with my aunt and uncle. The four of them went up to Canada and crossed that country from east to west, and then they came down the west coast of the States and then crossed back east through this country. They loved every minute of it and were bubbling over with stories for the longest time. Dad loved the wine country in California. They visited many of the national parks in both countries.

      Next time I see my dad I’ll ask him if he took the train from Los Angeles to San Diego. His short term memory is gone, but he does remember a lot from the past…

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