Thursday, December 17, 2009

Off Topic: Train Travel.

I'd only traveled by train one time before, a short jaunt from San Jose to Portland. The train was over ten hours late pulling into Portland due to a tragedy on the rails, so it really could not be considered an accurate experience of Amtrak travel. Having just completed my first cross-country trip by rail, I think I can better claim this experience as a typical one.

My first leg was the entire length of a long-distance train. We started out ahead of schedule so, naturally, we had to fall behind--by three hours in this instance. The trip was quite enjoyable; my seat-mate was a friendly guy, recently moved to inactive reserves after having served eight years in the Marines. He had played World of Warcraft a bit while on base, so we talked about how easily the game can suck you in. There was a trio heading to New York, the grandmother and granddaughter traveling to the funeral of the great-great-grandmother, and the Canadian with a very chatty personality. By the end of the 51-hour trip, my shower had certainly worn off and I was beginning to feel grimy--while you can sponge-bathe, washing your hair on a train is nigh-on-impossible.

I missed my connecting train, which left over an hour before we even arrived. I tried to get transeferred to the train that had stayed late to take on its connecting passengers; it would have been a different route but would still have connected me to my final train. I was informed, however, that while my fare for the original second leg would be accepted for this one, I would possibly have to buy a ticket to cover the extra portion of my final leg. Forget that, I'd already paid plenty for these tickets. As the train I was originally slated for only ran three days a week, Amtrak opted to send us by charter bus to meet the train at the next big city.

Now, if I had wanted to ride on a bus, I would have gone by Greyhound and paid less money. I didn't say anything, however. The driver was nice enough, though he cranked the heat up way too high for the two old ladies and caused the rest of us to melt. I don't do well in confined spaces, nor with other individuals driving over about 45 m.p.h.; combining the two is why I do not travel by bus. I was quite ill by the time we arrived at the location to meet our train. Amtrak's saving grace: there was a White Castle right up the street, and by having been sent by bus I was able to partake of it (for those not familiar with White Castle, their claim-to-fame are little four-bite square cheeseburgers smothered in onions for $0.74 each; we call them 'grease-burgers' and were the best part about trips to see family in Missouri.)

The second leg was uneventful; being filthy and tired, I slept through most of it, keeping curled up in my blanket so my seat-mate wouldn't have to deal with any body odor I hadn't been able to mask with deoderant and wet-wipes. A five-hour layover between the second and third legs of my journey allowed me to get further on my crochet and cross-stitching, at least, and I spent the three hours of my last leg playing Sudoku on my iPhone.

The scenary was breathtaking, the folks were great, the space and freedom was top-notch, and the food was halfway decent. Next time, however, I will get a sleeper if for no other reason than to be able to bathe.

First thing I did when we arrived at my mother's place is get a shower. I'm now waiting for my little brother to wake up so I can get the WEP key for their wireless and stop leeching from their neighbors' single bar connection.

On-topic: It seems that low-level greens are selling for significantly more gold these days; either higher-level characters are flowing in money or they're power-gamers who want to always have the best gear; maybe a little of both? My new method will be to auction items once unless the materials are worth more; if the item doesn't sell, it gets disenchanted.

It does, however, seem that folks are smarter on Nesingwary, and aren't willing to purchase limited-stock recipes for significantly higher amounts. I'll keep trying.

My husband has started playing with the trial key that I provided him from my Battle Chest set. He seems to be enjoying his Gnome Warrior; we'll see if he decides to continue playing after his two weeks are up.

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