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Journey to Montreal - Ramblings from the Road - Pt 2"A" - "Adirondacks"

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  • sabre_in_virginia
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 9, 2006
      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
      2 "A".

      Journey to Montreal - Ramblings from the Road - Pt 2"A" -

      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.

      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
      opposite. Ha!

      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…well….ever.

      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!

      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.
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