And so it was time to leave Atlanta. I had a great time here and really would love to come back some day, perhaps when the Beltline is complete and I’ve more time to explore.
My train wasn’t leaving till the evening so I had time during the day for one last ride through the park, a bit of shopping downtown, one last lunch at the student food services (and, I’m sorry to say I did grab a couple of hard boiled eggs for the road figuring I’d have eaten in the cafeteria as well).
I took a cab to the Atlanta Amtrak station, not quite knowing what to expect. I’d been to both Pennsylvania Station in New York and Union Station in DC before (and would be again soon) so I thought I knew what to expect. Nuh-uh. Atlanta’s Amtrak station is a bit more like what you’d expect in Mayberry.
I had to spend about an hour waiting for my train while the room slowly filled to capacity. It seems a lot of folks use the train down here as the place was packed by boarding time.
And here’s where my journey took an unexpected turn for the better. A friend of mine and her son were traveling on the same train to DC. They’d be continuing on from DC and I would be staying for a bit, but it was great to have company. Admittedly most of the ride would be overnight and we’d be sleeping, or at least trying to do so, but I was glad to have her and her son, a very nice young man, along.
Even better, she’s had a lot more ‘train time’ than I’ve managed. Because of this she was able to act as my ‘train mentor,’ letting me know what was what. Off through the night we went.
The trip lasted from about 8 PM till 10 AM the next morning. The train made stops along the way, mostly short. I did end up with a new seatmate several hours into the trip and I lost a bit of comfort, she seemed to have a lot of stuff, but it was fine. She left a couple hours before we got to DC so at the end I had some extra room and managed a couple of hours sleep.
Good thing too. It’s pretty natural that when you get to a hotel in the morning you aren’t going to be able to check in; it’s an afternoon thing. So yes, I had to wait, but these guys were great and let me build my bike in the lobby – so I was off. The hotel, btw, is The Americana and it’s more of a motel amidst its larger and newer brethren, but it’s a small and inexpensive lodging in Arlington. It’s just fine. The staff is great, very friendly, very helpful, competent, and fun to talk to when you’ve got a minute. Who chats with hotel staff these days? At this place it seems natural. Good folks.
So instead of checking right in, I took off on my bike and explored the area in several directions. I almost felt I knew my way around after a few miles. Apparently I rode so much I ended up at the Library of Congress…
When I got back to the hotel I was able to check in. I took a shower and headed out because I had a busy day and evening ahead of me. It was almost time for my second MLB game on this trip; The Washington Nationals.
More on that in my next post…