Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Day 7: Along the Water Level Route

We got to sleep later than we intended last night, but I still woke up just before 6 AM and decided to go ahead and hit the shower early while there was nobody waiting. We made the early breakfast seating and everything was pretty routine. We watched the world go by along the Water Level Route, but there is not much I can say about it. It's a nice enough view, but we were both sleepy and kept dozing off along the way.

Timekeeping had been excellent throughout this leg of our journey, including an early arrival at Rochester that gave us time to take a stretch walk down the length of the train outside on the platform, and to see where they break the train at Albany into Boston and New York sections. Syracuse did cause Lisa a fright, however, when she heard the announcement of "Syracuse" in the Lounge car and thought it was "Schenectady" and she came dashing back to the car all a-lather. I reassured her that we still had a ways to go. And we ended up having even longer than I expected.

First there was another heat-related slow order. Then one of the main tracks was blocked in multiple places for maintenance crews. Then we had to wait for a CSX freight to pass the other way in order to get around the closed track section. We fell steadily behind, eventually arriving at Schenectady more than 90 minutes late. I would have been even more annoyed had we not had our radio telling us some of the reasons why we were being delayed. The on-board crew certainly did not know why, and we heard no announcements in our sleeping car.

Our car attendant brought our luggage down from the baggage car for us. It did help that the baggage car for our section of the train was immediately behind out sleeping car. The downside to this was that the rear door of our car was jammed partially open, and the guard-rail on the baggage car door kept coming loose and banging away, forming a constant *bang* *bang* *clang* *bang* that we could hear in our compartment about halfway up the car.

I took the big bag down to the vestibule while Lisa unpacked our little compartment. We'll check the big bag at SDY to CHI on our return trip, although we'd still rather have it with us in transit from CHI to LAX if possible.

In light of the delays, I called Kurt Siegel, who had volunteered to collect us at the station, when we were about twenty miles out. The Amtrak people at the station had no idea of the extra delays out on the line and had been giving excessively optimistic delay data to the folks waiting for the train. Kurt waited for us and actually met us on the platform and drove us the short distance (about 1 km) to the Holiday Inn. We made dinner plans with him and he headed off to return later with his wife, my fellow SFSFC director Nancy L. Cobb.

As it happens, it hardly mattered that we were 90 minutes late. Had we been on time, we simply would have had to wait around the hotel for a room. It was after check-in time, but there weren't enough cleaned rooms. After about fifteen minutes' wait, they found us a room and we gratefully moved in to our home for tonight.

Both Lisa and I were feeling hot and sticky and washed up, which revived our spirits. As I came out of the shower, I sighed gratefully, "Ah, a place where they've never heard of shower-head flow restrictors!" Then we decided we'd better get some of the laundry done. The hotel has a single coin-op washer and dryer, and they'll sell detergent at $1/box from the front desk. We ended up doing three washes and two dry loads. We would have done a third dry but we were running out of time, and Nancy and Kurt were coming to pick us up to take us to dinner, so we took the last load of wet laundry and hung it up around our hotel room.

Kurt and Nancy took us to Cornell's Restaurant, a nice Italian place, where we all had meals that suited us. Portions were generous, and the calamari pasta I had left me waddling. We had a very pleasant meal with Kurt and Nancy -- who can't get up to Worldcon, alas, for work-related reasons -- and I'm very grateful to them for their hospitality to us. We even managed to mostly avoid talking about fandom, Worldcons, or anything related to SFSFC for the evening.

Having had so much pasta, especially after having been cooped up in the train all day, I needed a walk, so Lisa and I walked from the hotel to the train station unencumbered by the luggage we'll be hauling tomorrow morning. We found that the directions we were given were better for cars than for walkers, and discovered our own more efficient path that will make us less worried tomorrow, and confirmed that it takes about fifteen minutes or so to walk it without luggage. It's mostly downhill from our hotel to the station.

Returning to the hotel, I had a most gratifying <100 blood sugar reading. Yay for walking!

We took our remaining wet clothes back down to the laundry room. Uh, oh, someone else was doing laundry. We waited several hours, but as of Midnight, there appeared to still be loads ahead of us. This is not so good. We've hung up our wet clothes back up to dry the best that they can. Our train is not until 11:30 tomorrow, so we may be able to run a load through the dryer first thing tomorrow morning, if nobody else has jumped ahead of us and they haven't dried on their own. At least we managed to get everything washed this afternoon and won't have to waste valuable Worldcon time doing this chore.

I got the queued-up LJ entries posted, but we have a bunch of photos and video -- including our dastardly Terrorist Threat Video -- still awaiting processing. It's late and we're tired. It does help that the hotel upgraded us to the concierge floor -- the Platinum status working -- so we can take advantage of the complimentary continental breakfast in the morning.

I've read most of the backed-up e-mail, but LJ and blogs are bankrupt.
Tags: amtrak, food, lisa, train, travel, worldcon
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