Charlotte to New York – Part VI

Charlotte to New York – Part VI

travel log for a travel blog

Philly again.

I wrote a poem titled “Train” once while seated on a train in Philly. It was accepted for publication a week later. Therefore, I have an affinity with Philly. On that day I was only traveling from New York to Washington DC. I listened to Miles that day. Today is different. A longer ride, Charlotte to New York. Today I started with Stanley’s “Lopsy Lu” at sunrise, continuously looped with “Get Down” by Eric during the day. Now that the sun has gone down I’m staying with Eric and “Slipping into Darkness”.

I’m still in the dining car. I peep at a young man ordering a soda and chips. He’s wearing 3 different watches on his right arm.

The dining car manager asks, “which of these is a designer watch?”

“The middle one”, replies the young man, “the one with the red face and gold hands; to match my kicks”. He stood at about five feet donned in a sleek, satin black gym suit wearing red high top sneakers with gold colored shoelaces. Indeed the middle watch was red and gold matching his kicks. The other two watches he wore were of a mere silver bracelet and leather band respectively.

“Young man, you look like you got a lot of time on your hand”, said the conductor to the young man as she walked through the dining car, “Hi Mary”, she greeted the dining car manager.

Hack, choke and wheeze went the guy who was trying to drink his beer but just happened to be within earshot of the conductor when she made her comment about the watches.

“You alright?” asked the dining car manager.

“Yeah, she caught me off guard” said the man readjusting his baseball cap. Laughter from everyone, including the young man ensued.

“That was a good one”, I added, “glad I wasn’t mid-sip when you said that.”

The friendly laughter continued as our train pulled into 30th Street Station.

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Charlotte to New York – Part V

Charlotte to New York – Part V

Quantico Creek looks so silent and so serious. Just like the bureau grads right around the corner, it seems to stand still in the sunlight wearing sunglasses and a conservative gray wool suit.

I hit the repeat button on my music playlist, Eric Burden again, oh yeah, yeah. Washington D.C. isn’t very far away now. I’m in the dining car. “Sorry about making you work on a Sunday, Frank” said the lady with the gold rimmed glasses. She was seated right next to the service counter yapping away. “I think the disaster recovery test was a disaster Frank. We need to pull everybody into a meeting tomorrow and do a post mortem on this.” She stopped to inhale. “I don’t care if it is Thanksgiving week. All hands on deck, Frank.”

Poor Frank, I think to myself. I move my eyes to the service counter of the dining car. The dining car manager is taking the credit card of a patron. “That will be ten dollars and fifty cents sir”, she said as she removed the cheeseburger from the microwave and plopped it in the cardboard carry tray. After she slid the can of beer into the beverage slot, she turned to the register, swiped the man’s credit card, turned back, laid the receipt on the counter and gave the man a pen. “Sign please”, she said, smiling.

My attention turns to a young lady holding her baby in her arms in front of her as she bounces up and down in a little dance. She sings, “When ya happy and ya know it, clap your hands, when ya happy and ya know it clap your hands”. The little baby moves his hand a little, lets out a little giggle and smiles. Eric Burden and the band sings, “Ohhh Yeah Yeah. Ohhh Yeah Yeah”. Oh Yeah.

travel log for a travel blog

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Charlotte to New York – Part IV

Charlotte to New York – Part IV

travel log for a travel blog

“On to Richmond…” was the slogan printed by an impatient Horace Greeley in the early days of the civil war. Well right now we are approaching Richmond and we are not in the least impatient. We are enjoying the ride.

Listening to Eric Burden sing “Get Down” as we roll into the station. Entire families board. It is Thanksgiving week in the U.S. Mother’s dragging reluctant sons, daughters and husbands down the aisle trying to find spots where they can sit together. Kids on school break carrying luggage, lunch and laundry. “Make a friend day on the train. Move those bags off the seats and make room for oncoming passengers”, exclaims the conductor. “Ohhh Yeah, Yeah” sings Eric and the band.

“All aboard”, sings the conductor and onward to our next stop we go.

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Charlotte to New York – Part III

Charlotte to New York – Part III

travel log for a travel blog

The voice of the conductor booms over our train’s intercom. “Attention passengers! This is a sold out train. Please remove all bags, coats, hats and luggage from the empty seat next to you so that passengers coming onboard can have a seat. I repeat this is a sold out train, this is a sold out train!”

We are in Selma, North Carolina, population less than seven thousand, which hosts the “Selma Railroad Day” festival annually. The festival celebrates the railroad heritage of Selma, NC, including parades, music, vendors and food. Though as a young man I had negative experiences with the Klan in towns near to Selma I focus on the positive about this place. The red caboose that sits outside of the train station adds a little artistry to the place.

By the way, the seat next to me is totally empty. My luggage is stowed in the overhead. A little elderly lady approaches.

“Is that seat free?”, she asks.

I reply, “Yes, it is. Can I help you with your bags?”

“Thank you, would you?”

“My pleasure.”

All bags stowed, both of us seated, she asks: “Where are you traveling to?”

“New York; and you?”

“Baltimore”, she replies…and a warm conversation begins.

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Charlotte to New York Part II

Charlotte to New York – Part II

travel log for a travel blog

I must be careful. This egg, sausage and cheese muffin is fresh out of the microwave hot! My train, The Carolinian, has a dining car. The Carolinian runs from New York Penn Station to Charlotte, North Carolina and it returns. It is a day train, therefore you get to see many sights along the way.

We just stopped in High Point, North Carolina. High Point is known for making furniture. Sometimes it is referred to as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World”. (Wikipedia)

My headphones are still on. Bono is singing “A Beautiful Day” and it is a beautiful day. The sun is spreading light across a cloudless sky. There is a haziness filtering the sunshine but that is of no consequence, the sun is in charge this day. My train moves down the track, Bono croons away, my sandwich is cooled off, Bon Appétit to me!

Charlotte to New York

Charlotte to New York

travel log for a travel blog

The sun, just risen, hovers just above the horizon. It beams. It’s glow is a stunning gold which commands the darkness to leave us be as we start our day. Black, sleek headphones cover my ears. Stanley is playing bass, “Lopsy Lu”—the recorded version. I pat my feet as I type on my phone with my thumbs.

I’m on a train traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina to New York City. We left the station five minutes ago and now we sit still as we wait for the freight train to pass us by. Down south freight trains have the right of way.

Once we start moving again, we will have 14 hours of riding ahead of us. I plan to to share a few moments of this ride with you on this blog. So, stay tuned and hopefully, enjoy.