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On the Road - err, Rails - Again

Monday, 6 June 2022, Hudson ME

I chose a relaxed start to this long tour - my longest trip in four years. Acadia begins this itinerary, and Amtrak allowed me save hundreds of dollars. (Do have any idea how much flights to Bangor would cast?) Of course, I paid for that discount by taking eleven hours to reach Maine.

6:00 a.m. There never seems enough time in the morning to get ready to get out the door. Shower. Snarf down breakfast. Brush my teeth and hair. Pack my toiletries. Power down and pack the laptop. At least I've developed a checklist, and I can mark everything off to make sure I miss nothing.

7:25. Sue gets me to the SEPTA light rail station in time to catch an earlier train. It's nearly empty - not nearly as many commuters into Philly as when I did a practice run last week.

8:25. Thanks to my practice, I had no problem exiting SEPTA and walking down the hall to the grand Amtrak station. I had 45 minutes to people-watch: Police with drug-sniffing dogs warily eyeing the crowds. An Amish family, with straw hats and long dresses, moving through the terminal. Men and women in business attire concentrating on their cell phones. I spent a few minutes attaching my cooler to my backpack, so that I only had three pieces to move about.

~10:00. I boarded a packed train, and had to take whatever seat was available. With an abundance of caution, I wore a Covid mask. After four stops, enough people had gotten off at their destinations that I could move to a seat where I wouldn't have a neighbor. Mask off.

11:30. After the scheduled half-hour layover in the bowels of Penn Station, we emerged into the daylight east of NYC. We shortly passed over the East River and Pelham Bay (Google maps identified them for me), and I looked back on the skyscrapers of the city. I'm sure Sue could have identified the towers if she'd been along - hopefully she's enjoying our two new foster kittens.

12:25. Train stopped suddenly, nearly knocking those of us in line in the café car off our feet. Sat for ten minutes or so. When we started moving again, they apologized: "A flock of wild seagulls caused a pipe to fall on the tracks."

12:40. Another stop, this time with no explanation. I'll venture a guess - this time, a pack of rogue Canada geese acted up, throwing hockey sticks on the tracks.

2;30, at New London Ct, on the Thames River. Scenery through CT is composed of small towns (and a few bigger ones), greenery, coastal inlets,

cemeteries, boats, and bridges.

I split my time between watching the world roll by, finishing my book, and doing crosswords and sudoku.

3:19. The itinerary has us pulling into Boston now, with nearly an hour to burn before the Bangor Bus rolls out. But due to those rogue seagulls (and geese?), the station sign coming into view read Providence RI. I asked the conductor, who said, "You should get into Boston by 3:50 or 3:55. Sorry for the delay." Which leaves about twenty minutes to connect... so much from my stress-free day.

4:05, rolling into Boston's South Station. Only ten minutes left to find the bus terminal and board. I joined a dozen or more people making a mad dash for Concord Coach Lines, past track 1, down the hallway, through the doors, down the ramp, into the elevator. As it rises to the bus level, someone scoffed, "A flock of wild seagulls! What a bunch of malarkey!" Several people nod their heads in agreement. I refrain from mentioning a rumor about rogue Canada geese.

We reach the bus at 4:12. The driver had a list of the Amtrakers' names, which he proceeded to check off, so I assume they'd planned to wait for us (since the tickets were booked through Amtrak). The driver got us boarded quickly, and the bus rolled out at 4:21. Into Boston's rush hour traffic. Can we say hurry up and wait?

6:30. More than half the bus debarked at Portland, at which time I could again nab a pair of empty seats. After putting Boston's rush hour traffic in our rear view mirror, we rolled through a landscape of 90% trees on each side, with occasional houses and waterways.

I kept hoping for a remarkable sunset, but it pretty much fizzled.

9:40. After 14 traveling hours, I finally reached my airBNB for the night. Patricia greeted me warmly, showing me around, handing me an Acadia hiking map so I could plot out my park attack.

Let's get this adventure underway!

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