Friday, April 20, 2018

Planning Trips, Part 1

It has been a while since a too an excursion. I have done a bit of planning and re-planning. One that has involved is my Florida trips. I worked with three. First takes me to Orlando and Jacksonville. I would go to Tampa, but there is not a lot that is interesting to make it worth it. The second would be to Miami. This would include seeing the new Brightline, between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Brightline will eventually go between Orlando and Miami. I could wait until it is finished, but this trip is for now only. The third trip combines the two trips.

As we plan such trips, we, of course, look at railfan sites. SunRail, commuter rail runs out of Orland, Tampa only has their airport shuttle. I would only seek a pass through which is not what I would be doing on these plans. Jacksonville has a monorail. Both have nice intercity transit, going through point also of interest. I am not into amusement parks so they are not considered for my trip. This trip would be nice as a train trip and can planned to take very little non train ground travel. My projeted iteneraly is

Cary, NC to North Florida
Day 1
Cary, NC to Orlando, FL, 9:23p-10:06a 91 Silver Star (part 1)
Day 2
Cary, NC to Orlando, FL , 9:23p-10:06a 91 Silver Star (part 2)

SunRail, Orlando, FL
Orlando, FL to Jacksonville, FL, 1:35p-4:47p 98 Silver Meteor (map)
Jacksonville, FL, Amtrak to Rosa Parks Transit Station, Jacksonville, FL Bus K2 (map)

JTA Skyway, Monorail
Rosa Parks Transit Station, Jacksonville, FL to Jacksonville, FL, Amtrak, Bus K2
Jacksonville, FL, Amtrak to Cary, NC, 11:03pm - 8:08am 92 Silver Star (part 1)
Day 3
Jacksonville, FL, Amtrak to Cary, NC, 11:03pm - 8:08am 92 Silver Star (part 2)

Our Miami trip has to be more complicated. There is not overnight travel, between Orlando and Miami, for instance. It would require hotel stays, for that reason. The best for Miami Hotels is near the airport. This is normally a less expensive option for hotel. However, the most reasonable is in Fort Lauderdale, which has the duel function of giving a stop on the new Brightline train. And the hotel is close to the train station. Unlike the north Florida, there are a number of Tourist sites, I want to be seen such as the art Deco Architecture in Miami Beach. This is added to the train watching.The following is suggested itinerary.

Cary, NC to Miami, Florida
Day 1
Cary, NC to Miami, Florida, 9:23p-5:58p: 91 Silver Star
Day 2
Cary, NC to Miami, Florida, 9:23p-5:58p: 91 Silver Star

Miama Hotel
Day 3
Miami, Florida, Airport to Art Deco Historic District
Art Deco Historic District to 9947 Omni Station Bus Loop 22 min

Stephen P. Clark Government Center to Airport Station

Miami, Florida, Airport to Fort Lauderdale, TriRail FL, P630, 3:10P-3:59P, P632, 3:50P-4:47P, P634, 4:30P-5:17P, P636, 4:50P-:37P, P638, 5:20P-6:07P
Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, FL, Brightline,

Days Inn Ft Lauderdale Airport
Day 4
West Palm Beach, FL to Cary, 1:27p-8:08a 92 Silver Star
Day 5
West Palm Beach, FL to Cary, 1:27p-8:08a 92 Silver Star

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


For me to call this my Christmas is wrong. It centers with Christmas. Some years ago, when I was a United Methodist Pastor, I was thinking about my Home Church, in Richmond, Virginia. I had visited Richmond, many times. I lived about an hour and half from Richmond for a while and went frequently to research my genealogy. I never went to church, in Richmond because I had to preach at my own church. I thought it would be nice to visit on a Sunday and worship with them. This desire came in the fall. As I looked at the possibility, I concluded that I could not do the trip in the fall due to new groups forming. I could not go through the season of Advent, as we prepared for Christmas. The best time came after Christmas and that year, it was the first Sunday in January.

About this church: it was not my church, as this was a merger of my home church with another church. Technically, it was as a merger becomes a combination of the churches merging, in history as well as former member.

I left on Thursday, stopping at the welcome center in route and there was some interesting artwork.

Virginia is for Lovers
Even the benches were Virginia oriented.

I had the intention to go to Willaimsburg, to tour. I worked there a little more than thirty years ago and since have come to the feeling that I had truly left Williamsburg. However, I thought that I could tour the restored area. Friday was rainy so I change my mine and I hung out in Richmond. I did try some train watching. I got to the spot that I like to watch from. I took out my Amtrak notes, and there was not a train schedule for a couple of hours. I did take out my phone to see if there were delays that might mean a train soon. I did hear the whistle but did not get into position in time. It was the Carolinian, northbound, two hours late. I read awhile waiting for a freight but got bored and decided to leave. I got a short distance when I saw the gate come down at another crossing and a pig train came by, and me out of position.

I toured the city and on Saturday, I got the whim to take video of my drive. I have a phone holder attached to the windshield so I can use it for directions. I put the phone on the holder and used that to take video. I drove to Northside and through the a favorite park: Bryan Park.

I remember hearing that the site of the park was an old quarry. There was more to it than that, however. I also heard that it was build at the end of the trolley line to encourage trolley usage on weekends. However there is more, of course. Look it up.

It seems, my photography and video has always been on rainy days.

Friday, January 5, 2018


Christmas travel is centered around friends and history. I spend the first Sunday in January at my home church. Either a day before or a day after, I head out for an excursion. In the past, Washington DC and Baltimore MD has been the center of this day trip. This year, it will be Williamsburg, VA. I haven't been on a tour there in a long long time. I worked there until 1982 and have move a bit since. I visit friends on day trips, when I lived in Richmond, but never the old tourist sites. This year will be a tourist trip, after more than 35 years.

As I said, this trip is the to be at my home church, on the first Sunday in January. This has become a tradition, in the last dozen years or so. Before I retired as pastor, December was too busy and all the way back to October is the same. There are fall retreats, Christmas and Advent stuff to be there for, So the first Sunday in January is the most convenient. Looking ahead, the temperatures predicted for the week would be the lowest so I decided to delay this trip a full week, when the temperatures would be at least 20 degrees higher.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Baltimore to Home

I have watched the Acela Express, up and down the NEC. My first encounter was in Boston, MA and many just north of Washington DC. I made this the opportunity to ride, from Baltimore to Washington. It as great, fast, smooth and clean. The only problem is that unlike Amfleet, there are no electrical outlets at you seat.

I only had an hour plus before the connection with the Silver Star and home. It seems, only one of the five trains ran late and it was about an hour. Starting with the home-bound, I begin to think about the trip and reflecting on it quality. This trip was determined by unknowns, such as what Landmark Center was. I begin looking more at the next trips. I do have several or more drawn up in part or whole.

This was a unique trip, it was railfan inclusive rather than railfan exclusive. The primary purpose of this excursion was not to watch trains, so I called it a railfan inclusive excursion. I did take the train and watched some rail. If its primary purpose was train watching, that it is railfan exclusive.

I am a tourist and a sight seer, that is I love to tour and see the sights. I am not so much a site doer. I would not go to a amusement park, to ride the rides. I would prefer to go to the mountain top and watch the rides. The only doing that I prefer is riding trains or light rail or monorails.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Baltimore, MD, Part 2

I walked back to Centre Street and took to light rail to Mount Royal Station. Mount Royal was a former B & O Railroad Station. "Following its closure as a railroad station in 1961, it became part of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)." [Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,]

Behind Mount Royal Station is the Howard Street Tunnel. not a easy thing to photograph. I asked a CSX worker, where I might take a better picture, he mentioned that CSX still uses the tunnel. I asked how often, and he said about every 30 minutes

I snapped a couple of pictures, through a chain link fence. Before I could turn around, a CSX freight came along.

Of course, I do love to collect pictures of public are in public spaces.

From Mount Royal, I walked back to Penn Station. One thing I notice while waiting for the Acela Express, I took the second picture, It might be seen as a welcome sign from the train, but it is in a bad location. However it is good for those leaving on the train.

Before heading back to Penn Station, take video of the Light Rail at Mount Royal.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Baltimore, MD, Part 1

I spent the afternoon and evening in Prudential Center, Copley Place, and Back Bay Station. Finally, my train arrived. Overnight to Baltimore, MD. I first started thinking about Baltimore transfer when I thought about coming into Washington, and taking a short trip back to Baltimore. That quickly became a stop off and an excursion on the Acela Express. Of course, I can't stop anywhere without some local touring. I planned to stop by Mt. Holly Station, a monument in downtown and Camden Yard. A coup;e of other sites were chosen but more out of the way. I changed the order and went first to Camden Yard, via light rail. Only pictures of this part of town was the Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

I took the light rail to Centre Street and walked to Washington Monument and Mount Vernon Place

Close by is the Marquis de Lafayette Statue

The street leading to these is call Monument Street and these are some others

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Landmark Center

As I planned this excursion, I came across the Landmark Center. It appeared to be a warehouse that was converted to a Shopping Mall. I wanted to visit just to see. Besides it was a nice ride on the green line, to a part of the area that I had never been.

Landmark Center is not a mall but an office tower with a few retail spaces on the ground floor. I might have some mallish space in the future. I spent a little time there and than rode the green line out and back to Copley. I took a brief stop by the Boston Public Library, a remodel of the Boston Public Library, I came into 35 years ago. I attended a seminar at the Library. I was a more comfortable. I took a brief nap there, before moving on.

I walked through the Prudential center mall and over to Copley. After dark, I went to the Prudential Observatory. I took pictures of the lights of Boston, with a bit of fog settling in.

End of day and time to wait for the train.