28 August 2014

Travel Day 2 (Phew!)

So, we are still moving to New York.  I say this a day after we departed because we aren't there quite yet.

Understandable, you might think, if we were driving from Chicago.  But, no, we took the train.

And the train was late.

This morning, we woke up in our awesome sleeper room on the Amtrak 30 train - the Capitol Express.  I think we were still somewhere in Ohio.

The girls and I bumbled about and got dressed, to bring breakfast back from the dining car, as the baby was too fussy to realistically sit quietly through breakfast.  Only it turned out that we needed to ask our attendant, so Walter called him for us.  We ordered and a little while later, Justin (our attendant) brought our breakfast to us.

We felt deliciously lazy, eating breakfast in our bedroom on a train.

After breakfast, we rested for a while.  It was beautiful to watch the scenery.  We stopped in Pittsburgh.

At this point, we were about 4 hours behind schedule.  So we rested some more.

We stopped in Connellsville.

We finally bestirred ourselves to get up, so we walked to the observation car, which was several cars behind us, immediately after the dining car.  We were in Pennsylvania now, and on one side of the car, there was a beautiful river, and on the other, a cliff going up.


It was wonderful to see the layers of ancient stone, here and there folded and tilted by the slow and powerful earth.  And to think of the reason the track was laid this way - along the old river routes - and of the people who decided this, and built the tracks, and chose to keep the same routes even today.  I was very thankful to be able to see all of the natural beauty - it was the best "tv" before the big city.

Also, we got to go through several tunnels.  I took a picture of that, but it was pretty dark.

The kitchen served a late lunch then, around 1:45, since they weren't really planning to do so originally (we were supposed to be in DC by 1:10).  However, we were running 4-5 hours late by then, thanks to freight traffic, so they decided that we should be fed.

After lunch, we went back to our rooms and napped.

By this time, Nathan and I decided that it probably wouldn't be the best choice to subject either ourselves or our train companions to another long train ride that day, so we opted to stay over in DC, and finish the last leg of our journey the next day.

We first thought to contact friends in the area, to see if we could stay with them.  We heard back, but after looking at the route from the train station to their house (two trains and then a taxi), with all of our luggage in tow, we decided it would be best to grab an inexpensive hotel near the train station.  We thanked our friends for their last-minute hospitality - it would have been wonderful to see them, but we can always go visit from NYC!

When we arrived in DC at 6:30 PM, we gathered our luggage and changed our connecting tickets to the next day - because the train was already late, there was no charge to do so.  We were to catch the 11:02 Regional.

We reserved our hotel through Hotwire on my cellphone, and found one for $89 (with taxes and fees, it came out to $103).  It was nearby, but not walking distance, so we hailed a cab and drove there.  We passed by the Capitol Building, which was undergoing some construction, with scaffolding all around the outside of the rotunda.  We also passed through the mall, so we could see the Washington Monument.  The weather was sunny and cool.  It was really lovely.

Out hotel was the Holiday Inn Capitol.  It had been recently renovated and was very lovely.  We checked in and learned that children ate for free in the hotel restaurant, so we decided to go up to our rooms, change, and come down for dinner.

Dinner was delicious - I ordered french onion soup with no bread and a goat cheese salad with pecans and other tasty things.  The baby didn't last long, however, so I snuck the remainders up to the room and finished it there, where Eleanor could crawl/walk around at her leisure.  Nathan stayed in the restaurant with the bigger girls until they finished.

We all bathed and went to bed.  It was nice to sleep on a regular mattress, especially because we knew we wouldn't be doing so again for a long time.

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