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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Amtrak Autotrain to Florida part 1 - Poonsylvania

While I miss my dog Chippy every day, she wouldn't have been allowed on the Autotrain. And she wouldn't have been able to keep up, either. But, the consolation prize is her absence makes the winter migration to the Greacey Palms Senior Putt Putt Trailer Park so much easier.

Shutting down a house for six months and vacating the country for the southern climate and its steady diet of sunshine, cold beer, and cornhole matches is complicated. It's even more complicated when you have both thumbs evenly placed on anal-retentive obsessive compulsive side of the scale.

The only way to get through this successfully is a checklist. A detailed checklist. Very detailed. My checklist has 122 items on it.

I've set up 22 Wyze cameras around the house and perimeter of the yard in Flusherville. Six of those cameras are purely to watch the status of the other 16 cameras. It's like a casino pit, with surveillance everywhere.

One of the fun parts about getting away is when you stop buying any groceries about 10 days out. You have to eat what's on hand. The last two days you end up with meals like half a red pepper, half a can of dried up chili, and six hard boiled eggs.

The trip south takes just about 24 hours of driving. Shockingly, the return trip takes the same amount of driving.

Last year, we stopped for three nights on the way down. It made for a very long trip, time-wise, but with reasonable days.

On the way back we did it with two overnight stops - but that meant three days of eight or nine hours behind the wheel. I do 95% of the driving, so it can get quite tiring. And parts of the interstate are downright hairy, thanks to the traffic and general motoring idiocy out there.

This year would be different. We'd spend one night in Scranton, and the next day board the Autotrain in Lorton, Virginia, just outside Washington.

I booked passage for us in a roomette, and our car which gets loaded onto special train cars. How cool is that?

We left the day after Hallowe'en.

Last year I signed up for a SunPass transpoonder - it's AWESOME. It works in many or most of the eastern states for automatically paying tolls, and to my surprise, it even worked for the Frazzled Nerves Bridge that passes over 381 of the exactly 1,000 islands.

The first leg of the trip was so much easier this time! The border had been closed for eons due to the pandemic last year and we waited for over an hour to get through. This time it was 10 minutes. I had to answer about five questions and we were through.

The Frazzled Nerves Bridge.

The Sunpass Transpoonder

The Frazzled Nerves Bridge is marginally famous for the time I ferried not one, but two (unbeknownst to me) acrophobic peeps across in high winds, whist shoving the wheel back and forth and screaming "OUT OF CONTROL!!! NO BRAKES!!!".

After crossing the bridge, the next 7 miles were completely silent until they regained consciousness.

I behaved this time, and before we knew it we were in New York, flying along the interstate in the good ole USA.

The weather was pretty crummy, but after all, it was November. We pressed on, and before too long (and a stretch of interstate that features chiropractic spine adjustments every 50 feet like clockwork - BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG) we were pursuing our happiness in one of my favorite states - Poonsylvania.

We stopped for some Quarter Pounderz mit Cheese and a tank of gas in some unknown little town that has cornered the market on stoplights.


We rolled into Scranton at a very reasonable hour. It was so much a nicer day than last year. We used the app to get a virtual key and brought our stuff up.

The room was GREAT and the hotel was great too. Well kept, nice and clean... what a change from the nightmare hotel we had this spring on the way home, the one that had installed surplus kindergarten toilets that were all of 9" off the floor. My knees still hurt from the morning visit from the Major. You know the Major, don't you, Major Dumperooski?

I took a breather, then went foraging at a nearby Walmart, for punishment room supplies.

The Mrs. was into some Wild Caught Night Tuna, while I was digging some Mesquite Smoked Turkey (not pictured) with neutral Swiss Cheese (not pictured). The Mt. Olive kosher dills were acceptable, but I'm still wondering why they haven't changed the brand name to Mt. Dill. Because those politician dick replicas pickles are definitely not olives.

Italian loaf ($1.47) makes a fine bread for sammiches, so we got busy slicing up tomatoes and red peppers and squirtin' some punishment condiments, and lathering on the various meats, cheeses, and fishes, and ate up.

We both got a good sleep and got up early, ready to take on leg 2 towards the Autotrain (also known as Thunderbird 6).


C'mon back for Part 2!

    1 comment:

    1. Catching up, since I don't get notifications anymore. But to share some trivia:: Mt. Olive is a small town in eastern North Carolina, where the Pickle Plant has been the largest employer for decades. I worked there as a teen - slogan "ANYBODY can get a job during green season!"


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