Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Metphistopheles Previous Previous Next Next
Brains, Trains and Automobiles - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Brains, Trains and Automobiles
Two successful, if unusual, achievements unlocked today.  The first was planning the details for the Billy Joel roadie, just eleven days away.

I took a few things into account after yesterday's addition of a second NYC road trip in March:

* I really don't like driving down there- either "to there" or "around there"- less so now, because about the only remaining pain I routinely experience from the Knee Thing is when my left leg is stuck, partly bent, in one place for more than an hour or so at a time;

* Despite rumors to the contrary, this part of the country does have something of an intercity passenger rail system. It pales in comparison to Europe and Japan, and I have specific experience with, and concerns about, the upstate-to-NYC run (more later on those), but it is an option;

* And of the two trips, it makes the most sense for the earlier one, since those trains from upstate now arrive in Penn Station, which happens to be the basement of Madison Square Garden.

(It wasn't always so. Early in our marriage, we once Amtrak'd into Manhattan, back when the trains from upstate came into Grand Central, 8 streets north and many wide blocks east of Penn, where the LIRR trains would take us to my sister's.  We cabbed in between, immortally remembering our driver who impatiently wove between stalled cars, asking us, I heet him? You wan' I heet him?  I think we disappointed him when we declined.)

Emily was good with the idea for our journey, and I got us a round trip leaving from Syracuse the morning of the concert, and returning to the 'Cuse the following afternoon/evening.  (Syracuse makes more sense because their apartment is almost halfway to Syracuse on that side of Rochester, and there's more and safer parking at the Amtrak there).  They also offered a deal on a hotel, which is minutes from the station and arena, so we should have time to check in before heading out to dinner and then to the show.

The concerns, ah, yes.  Weather's always one this time of year, but that's true for air and ground, as well; after these recent brutal weeks, odds are it's gonna break a little SOMETIME this month.  Even in the best of weather, though, there's a long Amtrak history of causing the worst of delays.  Especially on the east-west portion of the railway between these parts and Albany, passenger rail has to share the same tracks as the huge freight trains, and freight gets the right of way.  Ever get stuck behind a freight train at a grade crossing? Try getting stuck on the same track as one that itself is stuck, or moving at 5 mph.  In the early 90s, I took Amtrak to some court appearances, and spent hours on a couple of them staring at cows in the middle of Herkimer County with (at the time) no mobile phones to call ahead and warn the judges.  (My bacon was saved on one of those trips solely because I'd brought a cute witness with me, and no, I'm not telling you what his name was;)

The best way to beat that problem is to plan Way Ahead of it.  Our east-southbound train originates in Niagara Falls NY, and that's key; others on the route cross the Canadian border, with a 4-hour scheduled duration from Toronto to the first US stop and Immigration delays often longer than that. One a day (scheduled too ass-early for our purposes) comes all the way from Chicago and often arrives hours behind trains scheduled much later in the day.  So ours is scheduled to take three hours to make it to Syracuse, five-plus to get from there to Penn, and still leaves us almost four hours to check bags, eat and get to our seats.

The return trip? Will leave on time since it originates at that station, and really, it don't matter when we get back, since I'm getting home stupid late that night no matter what.


That was my unusual morning errand. The afternoon one was seeking out the stray remnants of my brain.

Eleanor wondered where the most recent New Yorker was. It sometimes comes late, and on occasion not at all, so I offered to pull up a copy on my tablet, if only to see what the cover looked like.  Hard to do when you can't find the #$%^& tablet.

It's been a fairly constant companion outside the house lately- going to court with me to read Terry Pratchett, joining me on the elliptical for the Series 1 finale of Peaky Blinders- but as of early this afternoon, it was not in house, car, briefcase or gym bag.  This was bad- the only likely offsite place was the gym, if I'd managed to leave it in a cubby after finishing the episode.

Fortunately, my bacon was saved- someone had found it, turned it in to the front desk, and they, in turn, stowed it in their office until Dumbass finally got there a bit past 4:30.  Once home, I pulled up the digital version of the missing issue, and it turned out we'd had it all along.

Given my history, though, I think I'll leave the tablet at home for this upcoming trip; I'd hate to think what Amtrak route it might wind up on.
Leave a comment