Get up early, at 05:30, and am down in reception by just past 6am. My ride is booked for 06:30, and the hotel staff offer coffee first, but I prefer to get down to the station, so they take me down there.
Arrive to find the train is delayed by an hour, and won’t be in until 08:30, but no matter – I am there on time, and my luggage is checked in. There are vending machines for snacks and drinks, so I settle down to wait.
The train arrives, and we are loaded on. In some ways, the train is more like air travel than UK trains, even with an optional baggage check, which I use for my case. A guard/steward supervises the boarding, insisting on taking families and couples first, so they can be seated together, and ensuring that seats are filled up in a logical way. He later tells us that it is Amtrak policy, particularly in the case of mothers with children, and although single travellers may gripe, and try and jump to the front of the queue, it is one that is enforced, even if it means moving people to accomodate families boarding later. Today, it is fairly orderly, and I am lucky enough top get a window seat by and emergency exit, which gives me legroom. I am joined by someone even taller than myself, who also appreciates the space.
The train finally moves off at aboout 08:40, and I am on my way. According to my GPS, we are doing about 80mph between stations, and 20-40mph on approaches to stops.
At Syracuse, they announce a smoke stop, a stop of about 10 minutes at the station, for people to have a cigarette on the platform, or just stretch their legs. The train itself is no-smoking – there is a rush for the door, some folk getting ready to light up while still wallking down the aisle.
The journey continues, without anything of particular note. I call ahead to Robin’s friend, Victor, to let people know the train left an hour late and appears due to arrive late as well. Unfortunately, what I dont realise (and the guard doesn’t tell us) is the train continues to be delayed, and is eventually two hours late on arrival.
On arrival I am met by Robin and Victor. Robin’s boyfriend, Jonathon, was also expected, but is missing – we later discover that he didn’t get the message about the original delay, and was there at the station two hours earlier. We walk back with my bags to Victor’s apartment, where I meet his SO, Lara, and the four of us go to dinner at a place that does barbecue. It is a bit loud for talking (there is a quieter basement, but it is closed today), but the food is great.
After dinner, we go back to Victor and Lara’s for a while, then Robin and I hit the road for Nasua, which is about 40 minutes drive to the north. We arrive at Robin’s house, and, as Robin want to prepare some food for the following day, chat while she works. In fact, we end up chatting until 3am.