Part I – Conditioning

From The Business Travel Log

Part I – Conditioning

The large, gray, four-legged creature darted out of the shadows into the wash of the street light. Fortunately I was obeying the 15 mile per hour speed limit at my apartment complex. Deer love to walk through my complex at all hours of the night.

I take it easy on the main road. More deer may be roaming. At 4:30AM I can count on one hand the number of cars traveling down Mill Plain Road. The highways will be different.

Interstate 84 runs right through Danbury. It’s congested. It connects travelers to Highway 684. Highway 684 runs between Brewster, New York and White Plains, New York. It’s congested. The Hutchinson Parkway, often referred to as ‘The Hutch’, runs through Westchester County . It’s congested and it’s barely 5:00AM.

“It must be a lot of fun traveling like you do.”

“I wish I had a travel job like yours.”

I think about comments like these when I am competing with cars and trucks while speeding down the highway in dark predawn hours. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling but I am conditioned to the hardship of road travel. Fatigue and weariness sets in at week two of continuous business travel. You wake up and your mind says I’m tired of this yet because you are conditioned, you find yourself getting dressed (after bathing of course) grabbing your luggage and heading to the airport.

Blinking lights of white and blue mounted upon the high cables of the Whitestone Bridge signal our exit from the Bronx into Flushing Queens. Off in the distance more lights outline the shape of the Throgs Neck Bridge. My weariness changes to exhilaration. My exhaustion turns into adrenaline. Conditioning and experience kick in.

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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 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!

October 1997, Moscow, Russia

October 1997, Moscow, Russia

Two days before this photo was taken, I was on vacation in Atlanta, Georgia where it was a nice 70 degrees . I returned to Moscow —where I lived and worked. On the flight back, as the plane made its final approach, l looked at all the snow on the ground covering the entire city. That is when I remembered, I left my overcoat in the trunk of the rental car at Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta.