I vaguely remember an announcement about Rocky Mount somewhere close to midnight and completely slept through North and South Carolina. I might have slept longer but for my phone. It was my dentist’s office, about the appointment that I was missing. Oops – I explained that I was still in the US due to Lufthansa having messed up my flights. Apologized profusely saying that I thought my husband or daughter had called on Monday to explain. No problems – she could cancel the next two days as well and I should rebook when I was back in country. Since I was awake, it seemed like a good time to try out my private shower and get coffee.
Recommendation – unless you are desperate, I wouldn’t bother to try to shower in this tiny space but being clean and a change of clothes helped almost as much as those first two cups of coffee. Feeling rather proud of my self for having figured out that I would need to reorganize prior to checking in my suitcases since I hadn’t packed a carryon to cover a night on the train. Since my ticket included all meals, it seemed sensible to eat breakfast. The fritatta on the menu turns out to be a breakfast burrito on this run so I settled for fruit, oatmeal, yogurt and even more coffee. I sat across from a upstate NY CSX engineer on his way to Orlando to help is his daughter relocate to Tucson for graduate school. He gets to drive the U-Haul. His wife, wheelchair bound with MS isn’t along for the trip. He is taking the train back to Albany after the drive. Without wifi on the train I finally figured out that the only way to check email or look for a hotel tonight would be to get off at a long stop and use Amtrak Connect at participating stations. Of which there are none in Florida or at least not in Jacksonville or Orlando.
The train pretty much empties out in Orlando, Land of the Mouse leaving only a few of us traveling on to Miami. Each stop after that seems to have a few more getting off than on with the most departing at Winter Haven (aka Legoland). All boarding ceased once we hit West Palm Beach as there is no point in having passenger competition between Amtrak and TriRail. In truth there is no competition which made for some extremely short stops. But since they were frequent stops the speed of the train drastically slowed down as it took us almost two hours to cover the last 60 miles of track And add to my travel tally of the year 1389 miles on Amtrak. I check – not possible to go from Miami to Phoenix on the train without taking 4 days, backtracking to Washington DC and then changing trains in Chicago. If I’d been anything other than walking sound asleep I could have checked out the changeability of my Friday flight while at JFK and potentially skipped Miami completely.
It is only a couple of blocks to TriRail and a short wait for a southbound train followed by bus to the airport. Then my “luck” strikes again. The ticket George purchased is through US Airways but operated by American Airlines for Friday. USAirways has gone home. AA can’t look up the reservation. The Military Hospitality Suite is closed about an hour early due work on an alarm system. I give up. I have no clue about my outbound flight and no hotel booked. The Hilton shuttle is the first one on my list of possibles that shows up. The brilliant Stephanie at the desk has a room, in fact I can stay for three days if I need to. I have a voucher for a beverage & breakfast in the morning and a code for the Internet. The room is lovely and I am contemplating a soak in the tub. So I am in Miami with a dead charger for my laptop but a functioning iPad, iPhone (on wifi). Life is looking better!