Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Walkabout Wednesday: Going Home

We got ready to leave on Tuesday evening, October 8.  We packed our bags and loaded everything except the essentials into the car before going to bed.  We knew we would have to leave around 6:30 a.m. at the latest; I was a little worried about getting caught behind school buses, hang-ups with getting to the airport in Burlington and turning the car in, finding a cab, etc.  Gwen (remember The Amazing Gwen of Lakeside Haven B&B?  Yeah, that Gwen!), spent quite some time mixing up a huge batch of raisin bran muffins and apple strudel muffins so that Mom and I would each have a little to-go bag of muffins for the trip.  By 6:30 the next morning we were out the door with our muffins, and in the car with everything.  It was a little chilly.  Having left my big sweater at the hotel in Wilmington, I was feeling almost down-right cold!  Being in a hurry to have the heat on, I turned on the car and switched on the headlights.  It was the most peculiar thing; I couldn't see out the front window.  It took me a moment to realize that the whole window was completely iced over.  By the time we got the ice to melt the thermostat had stabilized and we saw that it was 25 degrees.  Fahrenheit.  

We got underway and made it without incident to the airport in Burlington.  We got the car turned in with no problems and found a taxi with little effort.  This was our third taxi on the trip and the first time we had someone take advantage of us.  Bless his heart.  He thought since we were tourists that we wouldn't know he was taking the long way to the train station.  He wasted about 15 minutes and ran the meter up an extra $5 or so.  He was also the most unpleasant person we met on the trip.  Again, bless his heart!

We had a lovely day on the rails back to Wilmington.  James was working in the lounge car that day.  We had by this time met a number of different Amtrak employees and all of them were terrific.  James was the best of them all.  He was a lot of fun to talk with, told us what it is like working for Amtrak (he enjoys it), and took time to listen to us (when he wasn't busy, of course).  Best of all, James was very kind to and respectful of my Mom. When Mom and I discovered that he is another book lover we asked if he had read Dick Francis' book The Edge.  He hadn't, but wrote down the title and author and assured us that he would look for it.

We got to Wilmington safely and checked back into the Doubletree where they had my sweater waiting for me (thanks, Sarah!).  Sarah had also made sure that the shuttle was waiting on us at the train station and the driver took very good care of us and then disappeared before we could properly thank him.

It was up quite early again the next morning and off to the station.  Mom's train was scheduled to leave for a non-stop trip to Kingstree, South Carolina where Dad would meet her that evening.  I have to admit that after all the fun we had together on the trains and on our adventure, I was a little teary at saying good-bye!  I suppose that even the best of times must come to an end this side of heaven.

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