Day 3: April 10, 2016
Riding with the Kids

Comment via blog

Previous Day
Next Day
Site Home
Trip Home

I'm guessing that this Snead & Company cast iron facade was not originally erected by the transit company but I don't know that. It's less than two blocks from the hotel and the escalators just inside lead to the Metro Center subway station. Forever 21 is a trendy clothing store whose entrance is on the other side of the escalators.

I reached Union Station with plenty of time to spare so I walked around outside just a bit. After taking the straight on photo of the front of the station, I turned around and took one more shot of the capitol.

When I arrived on Friday, I was sitting next to the window on the side of the train car nearest the Jefferson Memorial and failed to get a picture. Today I tried taking a picture from the far side of the car and pretty much failed again.

This photo represents success after failure. Way back in 2010, as I spent a night in Charlottesville, friends from Richmond picked me up and treated me to dinner at the "Best in World" Crozet Pizza. That story is here. In 2014, as I rode the train home from the first successful Rock 'n' Rail, I was surprised to see the restaurant flash by. I remembered that as I rode eastbound on Friday. At the time, the restaurant was still a few hours away but I planned to take a photo when we passed. I checked our location from time to time. When we appeared to be close, I reached for my camera and got ready to go on full time watch. The little town flashed by before I even got my hand out of my pocket.

I naturally considered getting a picture on the westbound leg. I was now on the wrong side of the train and knew, from the Jefferson Memorial attempt, that cross-car shooting was not likely to work out. As we approached the spot, but long before we got there, I headed to the cafe car. Every seat on the north side of the car was filled. I sipped ginger ale in a seat on the car's other side as I waited for a north side seat to open. There wasn't even a hint of a seat opening as we moved nearer and nearer to the town of Crozet. I finished the ginger ale and moved to a between car platform. I'd no more than stepped to the window when the train began slowing. It was soon stopped at a spot I later determined to be about a hundred yards for the target pizza parlor. I soon learned (I had to move so the conductor could reach the handset to make the announcement.) that we were waiting for an eastbound train to pass before continuing on a single track segment. The stop was about ten minutes long and I almost talked myself into just heading to my seat as the time slowly ticked by. But it was definitely one of those "Well, you've come this far..." moments and I stuck it out.

An Amtrak employee familiar with the area alerted me to the approach of the New River's Sandstone Falls so I was able to get a picture that is at least decently framed. I overheard a couple members of the staff talking about how much better working on this riverside route was than staring at an office wall. They sure got that right!

When I boarded the train, I was assigned a seat beside a woman also headed to Cincinnati. She told me that she was an aide/chaperon accompanying high school art students on a trip to the museums of New York City. They were from Lexington, Kentucky, but had traveled to Cincinnati to connect with the train. Like the general train population, about half were asleep at any given instant and about half of those awake were entertaining themselves with their phones.

I think we were somewhere around Charleston, West Virginia, when they were told they would be getting off the train in Ashland, Kentucky, rather than Cincinnati. The change would get them home sooner. About 50 of the approximately 60 passengers in the car were students. They were now all awake and they were soon all on their phones. What happened next was both a little eerie and a little comforting.

Until now, the phones had been used to watch videos, listen to music, or communicate directly with persons both on and off the train. In a fairly short amount of time, it became apparent that every student was following or feeding the same Facebook thread. The thread obviously contained things that were incredibly funny to sleepy high school art students on a train in the middle of the night. It took a little while to spread but within minutes the entire car was filled with synchronized laughter. Ah, the kids these days.

Here are a couple of fuzzy shots of our entry into Cincinnati to wrap things up. In the first one, the curved string of lights on the right is the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

[Prev] [Site Home] [Trip Home] [Contact] [Next]