How we got to Florida

So here we are at Redington Beach, FL, just west of St. Petersburg, on the Gulf Coast. Well, almost on the coast. We are one short block from the beach.

We got to FL by auto train. Do you know about this? It is a service of Amtrack , a ride goes from Lorton VA, just south of Washington, D.C., to Sanford, FL, just east of Orlando; and of course it goes from south to north as well.

They drive your car onto a special double-decker, closed-in auto carrier. Then you board the train for the 17 hour ride, from 4:00 PM to about 9:00 AM the next day.

Here are a few of the passenger cars.

We, as most passengers, were assigned to the upper level.

And here is an auto carrier car – and a motor car being driven out of a carrier, by railroad staff, of course, not by the vehicle owner.

You can pay extra for a sleeping room, but we opted for sleeping – or napping, at least – in our seats.

The ride was marvelous. We slept about as well as we do on a plane flight, BUT with far more leg room, and no need for seat belts, and you can walk around whenever you want, or go sit in the lounge car with tables and complimentary hot drinks and cookies and fruit and a complimentary movie (this time it was Breakfast at Tiffany’s.) And dinner is served in the dining car, four to a table – you sit with whomever the host assigns to you – with portions double the size of airline fare, and a continental breakfast in the dining car again. The noise of the tracks is far less than the noise of jet engines. And we saved 900 miles of wear and tear on our car. What a way to travel!

An aside about Breakfast at Tiffany’s:
I know it’s a classic, and Audrey Hepburn is elegant, charming, innocent, disarming, hurting and shrewd in her character Holly Golightly, but are you puzzled and offended as I am by the excessive cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking and drunkenness in this piece? Was all that really necessary to tell the story?

Back to our FL trip, we will drive home in the usual way because of two stops we want to make on the return trip.

We are now at our condo, the Royal Orleans.

Actually, this is a renovated motel, and our room is called a studio room.

Not as spacious as last year’s condo, – we were here for speaking appointments last year, too. That condo had a living room-dining room-kitchen combo and a bedroom and sat right on the Gulf beach and our dining room gave a ceiling-to-floor glass wall view of the Gulf. Not sure why we chose this one this year. Hmm. Well, it is a few miles closer to Camp Freedom, where I am to speak, but how important are those few miles? But this condo does have a spacious and almost elegant courtyard with a heated pool.

So I went for a swim this afternoon. I am not tempted to go swimming in the Gulf, I assure you.

So long for now.

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