Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Decision: Boston, Out and Back, Add Transfer and Layovers

It seems that instead of going to Chicago, this trip, I will go out and back to Boston. The first out and back that I took was to Boston, I was living near Hamlet, NC. Only one train went north, The Silver Star. The Amtrak website will schedule it, with a 7 1/2 hour layover, in Washington, DC. Currently I am living near Raleigh, NC. In addition to the Silver Star, I now have the Carolinian. Their stops are different, north of here, even though they have the same route and destination. Neither train, go direct to Boston. In route I need to transfer. The Carolinian has a 5 hour layover. I could spend a lot this time, touring sites and watching trains. However, I have spent a lot of time in DC, so train watching is a bit old and the last trip (back in the summer) was a monument tour. The train, I would connect, begins in Newport News VA, both north and south. It comes through Richmond, via Main Street Station,

From the Silver Star, I would transfer in Richmond and Alexandria in addition to Washington. The Carolinian would add Fredericksburg, to the list. I looked at all three possible layover, looking at what I might do. Both trains continue north and transfer could be there. On the northbound, the transfer would be middle of the night, a bit late. On the southbound, it would be too early.

Even though there is nothing withing walking distance of Fredericksburg station, and no public transit, there is the river bridge which would be good to get video. Besides, the Virginia Railway Express commuter trains come trough. So! This becomes the northbound transfer. It is not so good for the southbound, however.

I considered Richmond, VA. The NE Regional continues to Newport News, Va, passing the old Main Street Station. I lived in Williamsburg, VA about 35 plus years ago, and would take the Colonial through Richmond on to Washington. At that time, Main Street Station was out of use and deteriorating. For a while, it was converted into a novelty mall and finally reopened as an active station. I have been by and in the reopened station, once at Christmas. It is a beautiful station, even decorated at Christmas. I could leave the train and take city buses back to Staples Mill Station to board the Star, home.

I decide to do something even more exciting. I decide to get of the NE Regional in Baltimore and take the Acela to Washington and take the star from Richmond. Ticket are had and I am awaiting for the date. It may be a cold trip but a good one.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thoughts on Transfer in Boston

As I mentioned before, I began thinking about a trip to Chicago. The natural transfer would be Washington, but it would require an overnight because there was to little time between connections without the overnight. I thought about Boston as transfer, after an overnight to Boston. I would have four hours before the train to Chicago would leave. I thought about a little train watching. I had looked at a good location to watch trains coming out of South Station. I had stood at the end of the platform, in previous trips. I looked on the map and found a park in perfect location. I expanded on that to include the Tea Party Ship and Museum. I had overlooked that in my various trips into Boston. That would cover a portion of the layover. I began to think about just an overnight to Boston, with layover on the way.

I expanded my visit to Boston. Unlike the other plan, less emphasis was placed on train watching and more on other places of interest. Of course, I could not go to Boston without some looking at the commons and walking through it. I than noticed that this track would come close to the Chinatown gate. This expanded the track. When I live in Boston, 35 years ago, I worked near Copley and Prudential. My vacation to Boston, 7 years ago, included the Prudential Observation. It seems, in the time I live in Boston and the several trips to Boston, I never spent any time In Brookline. I did take the green line to Forrest Hills and to Boston College, although O have very little memory of what I saw. So I thought about touring or seeing some of Brookline with time spent at the Landmark Center, in particular.

I should take the rest of the trip in less scheduled format and end up in Prudential tower for a night time view of Boston. Still to be decide is the return, from South station or Back Bay. The criteria to such decision would include time. There is only 6 minutes difference so I would not board a great deal earlier at South Station. The next would be comfort of the stations and the surroundings, still, no difference. As I recall, I am near Copley and Prudential at Back Bay. Not much at South Station, a little like Union in DC. It would be to dark too do much train watching. Besides, I would be too tired at that time, after a full day of touring.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Next Trip, Continuing

It has been a bit since I took my last trip and posted anything. It was a hot summer with the heat lasting into the fall. I am, only now thinking about trips. I spent the hot days doing another hobby, genealogy. I did get to my favorite watching spot a few times and post them on YouTube. I have three plans for Florida excursions. One the north Florida, the other to south Florida and one to that includes both. I have a Philadelphia excursion as well. This includes historical sites as well as trains. The one that I am thinking more about is my metro north trip. It is a trip to NYC and walking to sites in Manhattan. I include a park called High Line. It is an abandoned elevated freight line, turned into a park. I would like to take a trip to Metro North to see electrics. I think that Sanford would be ideal.

I got fixated a bit on a Chicago trip, with a side trip to Memphis (to see the hanging monorail). I looked at the various routes, 6 to be exact. One was discarded due to the amount and kind of layover (Washington to New Orleans to Memphis). From the transfer  in Washington, there are two ways to go. Another was via Philadelphia through Pittsburgh with a transfer in Pittsburgh and a run through Horseshoe Curve. Finally, Boston was a good option. The out, via Boston, was the only route that required an overnight stay. There was a problem with the return, however.

I got obsesses with the Boston layover. It was not to become too much a train watcher's stopover. I finally broke down and revised the Boston out and back, with less train watching as in the first draft. I still have some things to think about. Washington is a long and late layover. when I did the Boston out and back a few years ago, I did the layover in Alexandria so the layover was not so late. I took the subway around Washington, to see all sorts of things, associated with railroading. Most, I have done in the past and might not want to do that again. I could do that again, there are four locations to transfer but with drawbacks to all. Richmond is in a early connection but nothing nearby and little to do near the station, except for train watching. The same is said for Fredericksburg and there is not a waiting room.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Next Trip

I like to think ahead to the next trip, even before leaving on this one. It intensifies after returning home, however. Certain trips are more than overnight day trips and require hotel stay for one or two nights. I looked into My NYC, Philadelphia, and Miami, as to accommodations, for instance.  There are several web sites that claim they will check on many sites for the best deal. I found that simply Google Maps will compare, as well. I generally begin there. If I find one that is less than 100, or even less, I will check it out. If it is convenient with my travel, I might go with it. Instead of NYC, for instance, I will check out Jersey City or Newark, NJ or a north of NYC. They have to be on public transit, of course. So on with the exploration.

The most probable will be one of Three Florida trips, but those need to be after it cools off. I a interested in Memphis via Chicago, which is overnights on the train with only one night in a hotel. Hotel could be in a DC suburb. I am attracted to Boston and might do a variation of that trip.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fourth of July Excursions, Final Notes

I boarded the train back the Richmond, spent the night and drove home the next morning. Nothing exceptional about the trip home. But looking back, this trip was good. There were many places that I could visit on a future trip. The heat was exhausting, however, but I found ways around it. July 5 was not a real good day to visit Washington since they had not got back to normal after the 4th fireworks. It might have been better to visit the museums and sites of interest, not on the National Mall. The trip home was normal. I thought about this past trip and begin thinking  about the next. I have many prospectus of trips, including a replay of the Boston Trip.


Back a few years ago, I had talked about souvenirs of vacations and daytrips. Any number of perimeters can be used in selecting souvenirs. One is just random, something that catches the fancy. Another form of souvenir is one that is representative of the location, something out of seashells, from the beach trip, mountain craft item  while in the mountains, etc. The best way is to buy a type of item. It might be snow globes, figurines, or the like. When I was 10 or 11, I collected postcards as souvenirs. I chose two from each destination plus one of the motels we stayed in. They were very available, even in drug stores and malls and in lobbies of motels or even in the rooms. When I was in past high school, I lost interest and my brother took it over. I had added cards from friends and family, as well. A few years ago, I found the collection in my parents basement. I took them and organized them, scanned them into the computer. My hope is to get a digital frame and display them in a slide show.

After High School, I was not much of a souvenir collector. I worked in the tourist industry and lost interest, for a while. I next started collecting patches. However, patches are not found everywhere. I now collect mugs and patches. Patches are for parks and memorials and mugs for everywhere else. I will not collect duplicate destinations or from places that I just pass though.

Souvenirs may not be easy to buy on a trip, because you do not stop by a gift shop. I have been known to mail order souvenirs after getting home. I could have them shipped, to make my luggage lighter or to remove the responsibility for breakage. On a tour to the Holy Lands, there was a couple that packed a collapsible suitcase to fill up with souvenirs, until it was needed it was packed in a suitcase.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Washington, DC, the Memorials, Part 5, And Beyond

Finally, there are a number of lesser monuments, statues, and memorials. Leaving the Lincoln Memorial, I was looking for the bus stop and missed it. I did, however, come upon this memorial to John Ericsson, an immigrant who designed the USS Monitor.

Or on Lafayette Square this statue of  General KoĹ›ciuszko Statue. OK Follow the link to know who he is [link].

If you decide to visit Washington, DC, it is a bad idea to visit July 5. The 4th of July is wonderful, in DC. The fireworks on the National Mall is fantastic, so I hear. However, there are a lot of barriers and fences, to maintain the crowds. On July 5, those barriers are still up. They close off Lafayette Square meaning you cannot get as close the White House as at other times There is only a small space which is OK for pictures:

I had bypassed the Capitol, at the beginning of my "tour" with the hope that I might have time at the end of my "tour." In addition to the barriers, leftover from the fireworks, there were tents that were used the night before. So, as I approached the Capitol bus stop, I decided to avoid the capitol. I did have a couple of pictures taken from the Lincoln Memorial, with the Washington Monument in the foreground (intended taken for that reason). At Union Station, I took another picture of the Capitol, in the distance. The only way to improve on them would be to use a telephoto lens.

I mentioned that I finally arrived back to Union Station. I started with a picture of the Capitol but continued with a picture or two of the Fountain.

As a railfan, I do need at least several pictures of Union Station

I had enough time for supper before the train ride back the Richmond.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Washington, DC, the Memorials, Part 4, Lincoln Memorial

From the Martin Luther King memorial, I walked back to the bus and went one stop. The bus stop is behind the Lincoln Memorial, but in view of Memorial Bridge, leading to Arlington Cemetery. I went to Arlington Cemetery, back around New Years Day. I wanted pictures of the golden statue that guard the bridge. But first, a picture of The Lee House, in Arlington Cemetery. Remember that Arlington was Robert E. Lee's home, before the Civil War. During the war, the Federal Government confiscated the estate and turned it, immediately, into a cemetery. The house is preserved and open to the public.

And, now the statues:

I walked to the from of the Lincoln and climbed the step.

At this point, I want to say is that I stood at that point where Martin Luther King, Jr. stood, August 28 1963 overlooking the reflecting pool, and told America: "I have a dream....", I was touched!

As a pastor, in seminary, we read The Preacher King, Richard Lischer. He describes that King was not schedule to speak that day, but called on at the last minute. He took one of his sermon devices and changed into that memorable "I have a dream..."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Washington, DC, the Memorials, Part 3, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

After visiting the Jefferson Memorial, I walked to the bus stop and too a side trip to the George Mason Memorial. I had not seen this before, even in pictures.

I boarded the bus and we traveled through West Potomac Park, along the river, past the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. I did not stop and visit but the following pic is from the web.

The bus stopped at the Martin Luther King Memorial. It is interesting that earlier this year, on my day trip to Atlanta I visited his Birthplace Memorial and his grave.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Washington, DC, the Memorials, Part 2, the Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument was closed, for renovation. According to the Park Service literature, the elevator was being updated to current standards. Estimates would be sometime 2019, before it would be opened again. So, I did not go up to it but took my pictures, around it. My prospectus told me to take the bus to the Jefferson Memorial. I forgot to look at the prospectus and walked, instead. It was a nice walk with many good views around the Tidal Basin.

Once at the memorial we climb the steps and look inside:

Again, another view of the Washington Monument. outward through the columns of The Jefferson Memorial:

(to be continued)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Washington, DC, the Memorials, Part 1, the Washington Monument

According to my prospectus, I would be taking the Circular Bus. First, I would head to the east side of  the Capitol via the Union Station - Navy Yards route. I would go through the capitol and pick up the National Mall route. First, I had a Metro Card from a previous stay in DC and needed to check and add fare to it. Coming out of Union Station I looked for the bus stop. I finally asked a policeman, who pointed me to the stop for the National Mall route. I got to that stop and there were two drivers waiting to get on the bus to start their shift. They pointed me to the stop, on the other end of Union Station. At this time, I looked at my prospectus and realized with all that happened, I was an hour behind. Many times the prospectus has a lot of filler so I could see the capitol at the end of my "tour."

So to the National Mall Circular Bus. I got off close to the Washington Monument. I had left my camera in the bag, thinking that for still pictures, the phone would do. After arriving at the Washington Monument, I switched over to my SLR, which allowed for a wider angle, wider than the phone. Plus, the phone had a unsettling delay between pressing the shutter release and the actual shutter release, of a second or two, so it was easy to miss getting what you wanted, particular on a bus.

At the center of this "tour" seemed to be the Washington Monument, from the Mall, from the Jefferson Memorial, or the Lincoln Memorial.

From the Mall

From the Mall

Through the Columns of the Jefferson Memorial

From the Bottom Steps of the Jefferson Memorial
From Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Beyond
From Lincoln Memorial
From Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Beyond
Now, on to the Jefferson Memorial (to be continued):