Note: On Fri, Oct 8 around 4:30 PM, I posted a similar diary at
CCTHF. Afterwards, I attempted to copy paste the same diary at Table
Hockey Heaven, but I had lost my signal from the US-Canadian border
never to regain it. Apparently, that area uses different wireless
technology. Later that night in my hotel, I tried with the hotel's
wired and wireless service, but they did not work either. I was
tired, hungry and really PO'd that nothing was working and I was
losing time toward eating, sleeping, etc.
So, while I wanted to post after each significant portion of each
day, the technology would not cooperate. Very frustrating. Bottom
line, this diary below is slightly different than the one at CCTHF
dated Oct 8. Since this is slightly different I've dubbed it Pt
Journey to Montreal - Ramblings from the Road - Pt 2"A" -
NY PENN STATION
I arrived in NYC's Penn Station, which is underground. Coming up one
level, I find almost a honey comb of tunnels leading to shops and
other local train services, "Long Island" and "New Jersey" train
services. I see a sign indicating that its tunnel leads to Madison
Square Garden. How far the Garden is it does not indicate.
Although it is 6 AM on a Friday morning, I'd say there is a moderate
amount of pedestrian traffic. People come in via the local, regional
and national train services and subway. There are travelers and
commuters. Most all of the shops and eateries are open. There is a
central circular area, a hub, where AMTRAK travelers and the many
shops and eateries are situated.
Like bees, groups of people come out of the tunnels into this open
area. Many with clear direction and purpose. Most are the workers
coming into Manhattan on their way to work. Some travelers are
intent on making their train. It is a wonder they do not all crash
into the other, but they don't.
Over the loud speaker, it is announced that those people traveling
on to Montreal should form a line at a podium in order to see our
identification. An AMTRAK employee wheels out a podium into the
milieu of commuters and workers. Of course, they want to pierce
through this line blocking their path. The line moves fairly
quickly, about 15 minutes, and the podium is removed. There is
little to no time given to ask a question.
Having been in NYC's Penn Station within the last few years, I
recall a good delicatessen within that underground area, "Don Pepi's
Deli." There's also a "Don Pepi's Café" on the other side of the
hub. Don Pepi's Deli is packed with people. Figuring the train's
food will be more expensive than the station area food, both a bit
pricey, I purchase a sandwich to eat later on the train. (Black
Forest Ham, Dijon, lettuce, tomato, with Brie cheese on
I wander on to kill some time. I notice the Shoe Shine store was
packed with people getting their shoes shined, even though it is the
last business day of the week.
Once on the train, it is "sold out" to Montreal. My train from
Washington was empty in Washington, filling up along the way to NYC,
but with plenty of empty seats. Now, however, every seat is taken.
Of course, some are stopping enroute to Montreal.
Leaving the station and as we reach the Hudson River, which is on
our left as we head north, we cruise at a moderate speed. Out my
window, I see the Hudson, a Baltic
blue colored water today, a blue sky, lots of trees on the other
side as the land rises up from the water...not what most would think
of when they think of NYC. What a view! Beautiful.
Earlier in the morning, coming in from the south, north toward NYC
yes, that is not as pretty a view. Lots of industrial-looking areas.
But, it affords a good view of the NYC skyline.
DOGS AND BONEHEADS: HOW NOT TO LOSE YOUR GAL
A young woman, graduate student from NY University sits beside me. A
lithe, beautiful blonde, spectacular green eyes a dark jade green.
She puts her bag uptop, sits down beside me. Then realizes she
forgot something and stretches up to get it and grunts tugging at
whatever it is. I take my focus off of my computer work for my job,
and offer to help and as I do I see her exposed belly. It looks
tighter than a snare drum. I think to myself, a) I don't get out
much and, b) she's the same age as my daughter. Ah, Dad-mode kicks
in. She's a film student at NYU.
I don't have a 300 lb crustacean sitting next to me, spilling into
my seat as I have on some airline flights, so I consider myself to
be quite lucky. However, I think she was thinking exactly the
I notice a bag she is frequently putting on the floor and then onto
her lap and slowly sliding her hand inside, like a little kid who
thinks she's invisible to the adults. A couple hours into the ride,
she grows more and anxious. Her boyfriend appears (not as good
looking as she). She asks him to find a seat for them to sit next to
one another. Instead of saying, "yes" he says that he's, "really
enjoying the conversation with the guy (student) sitting next to
him," adding that, "he grew up in the Philippines, is Muslim and
they're talking world politics." Apparently, they were each
politically left of left.
I was trying to concentrate on work, but hearing this I cringe. I
get drawn in thinking this guy just scored a big negative against
himself. She asks if he, "would get her something to eat or drink?"
He himms and haws. Let's review, he's dating a beautiful girl,
they're getting away from a the city for a few days to a small
cottage town on the lake and he declines to find a seat for them to
share or get her food, so he can continue talking with someone he'll
never see again. If anyone thinks that's okay, I'm thinking you
might want to get a woman's opinion before you ever do that. Yet,
before he leaves they smooch. Man, to be young and dumb.
After he leaves, I can tell she is agitated. She repeatedly picks up
her bag on the floor, puts her hand in it for awhile and puts the
bag back down. She hurrumps. She can't find a good position to
sleep. Now, she's making me feel uncomfortable. I think to myself,
hey, I took a shower. I made sure there was plenty of space between
us. I need to do my work.
Finally, I allow my eyes to look over at what she's doing. Ah, I
figure out what is in the bag and why she keeps putting her hand in
it. Our little dog passed away last year, and we used to take her
everywhere. I tell her this and you could see a sigh of relief, like
the pent up air was let out of a balloon. I told her "its okay,"
that "I had inherited a little dog from daughter, which my wife and
I then took everywhere with us."
It's a little white dog. I tell her not to worry, I won't tell
anyone. She confides that she hadn't checked AMTRAK's rules on pets.
Now she lights up and wants to talk. Apparently, she was worried
what I might think. But, now she is happy to show me her dog. He's a
cute little white dog (Maltese?), very quiet, and well behaved. His
eyes remind me of our little dog. She encourages me to pet him and
he responds as if he's found a new friend. So, now that we have
something in common we chat for quite awhile sharing stories about
our dogs, our travels, that she's from Florida, what she wants to do
when she finishes school, etc.
About an hour or so later, seeing all the chatting from a few rows
back, her boyfriend comes over to check. Now, she's telling him
everything's fine, he should go sit down. Ha! Now, he's a bit more
concerned about helping her. (Like she'd be interested in a guy
twice her age, who hasn't looked like Brad Pitt since
AUTUMN IN THE ADIRONDACKS
The train ride at this time of year is very nice. A little early for
the maple and other trees to have hit their full peak of fall
colors, but there is enough to enjoy.
The train skirts along Lake George and Lake Champlain, many forests,
some farms and small towns, and provides a great view from above the
Adirondack Mountains down to the lakes below from time to time.
Small yellow butterflies are out and skim from one purple flower to
another. Beautiful alpine terrain.
I think some of my photos have made it to CCTHF site on Yahoo!
WHAT ME WORRY?
I've gotten some work done today for my job. I wasted about 30
minutes standing in line in the Cafe car. Wow, that was slow. The
guy was moving a lot, seemed to enjoy putting on a show more than
how to move the line along more efficiently. It was so long the
French and English speaking alike were translating for the other
just how slow it was...grass grows faster, molasses moves faster in
I didn't bring a few souvenirs from Virginia as I did for Quebec VI.
I wanted to and even went out to one store, but couldn't find what I
liked and didn't have time to continue looking. I've been too busy.
Well, I did purchase some Virginia-grown peanuts last weekend from
down near the North Carolina border. They're salted in shell and
roasted. Two bags for everyone to snack on at the tournament in
Awhile back we past through Rouses Point, NY's train station. Now,
its 4:36 PM. I think we are nearing the border. We're in farm land
and the rails seem a bit rough (shaky from side to side, rather than
forward). We move along about 5-10 mph, then a little faster, and
now back to 5-10 mph. The land is flat for miles to see.
We've approached the border. My seat-mate has long since gotten off
the train. We were already one hour behind schedule, when Canada's
Immigration Officers board the train. A guy and gal. We sit for over
an hour as the two officers I see work from the front of my car, the
first car, and back into the second car. They interview
me, "Identification." "Where are you going in Canada? How long is
your stay? Who are you visiting, friends or family?" I tell
them, "I'm going to a table hockey tournament in Montreal." That
gets a quizzical look and they ask me to repeat. I explain. The
female official moves on. The guy stays on, "so what kind of table
hockey?" "Where did you hear about it?" I give him the ccthf.com
website. Later, they return and politely ask the woman seated in
front of me to leave with them.
While at the border, I lose my signal, my notes and my cell phone
doesn't work. Uh, o. I intended on spending the remaining time doing
an online search for hotels and call Carlo. I can hear my wife
now, "you should have booked your hotel ahead of time" and she'd be
right. Seems like I'm in trouble.