TRIP 2017

Update #21 - October 09th
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Year Total : 5,124.05 miles (8,198.48 km)

After spending two months in Rockford, Illinois (mostly at the Alpine Inn), I felt that I was strong enough to make the move to another part of the country. I wanted to get back to the South and find a place where I could spend the next five or six months out of the cold.

Around 9 AM CST (Central Standard Time) Monday October 02, I checked out of the Alpine Inn and a friend picked me up and drove me to the Metra Commuter Rail station in Elgin, Illinois. It was about a 41 mile (66 km) car ride. I was carrying most of my clothes in a small backpack which ways about 35 pounds (17 kg). I had shipped most of my other camping gear and other stuff to Hattiesburg, Mississippi several weeks earlier. Once we got to the commuter rail station, I had about a 40 minute wait for the train to the Union Railroad station in Chicago, Illinois. The commuter train ride was about 35 miles (58 km) long and it took a little over 90 minutes.

The commuter train arrived at the Union Station in Chicago around noon. I had somebody help me put the backpack on. The first thing that I did when I got into the railroad station was go to the food court on the mezzanine. The cheapest place to eat was MacDonalds. After lunch, I made my way to the waiting area for the Amtrak. I had about a 5 hour wait. I was able to plug in my laptop for a bit so I could watch a couple movies on it. I did have somebody watch my backpack so I could get to a restroom and also go back to the MacDonalds so I could buy a meal to eat on the train. Because of the cane, I was able to get a little preferential treatment and was able to board the train (The Capitol) before everybody else got on board. The train cars were double decker. I had purchased a lower seat in one of the coach cars. The only problem with the seats were that they were facing backwards. There were only 5 rows of double seats. I was able to get a window seat so I was able to plug in my laptop. The train left the station around 6:40 PM CST.

The ride to Washington, DC was about 800 mile (1,280 km) long, Along the way, the train made stops in Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio ; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cumberland, Maryland; and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC, I was in real familiar territory because I had ridden Alice along the GAP (Great Allegheny Passage) Bike Trail between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Maryland and the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath between Cumberland and Washington, DC a couple of times. On the train, I got glimpses of bicyclists riding the towpath trail.

The train had arrived at the Union Station in Washington, DC around 12:50 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time) Tuesday afternoon October 03 but I didn't know it. I was listening to some music with ear buds on and had my eyes closed. A lady conductor came by around 15 minutes after the train had arrived to tell me that we had arrived. I got lunch at the MacDonalds in the station.

After lunch, I was hoping to find some kind of locker where I could store my backpack for a couple of hours but these were all taken out after 9/11. I decided to venture outside a bit. I made my way over to the Nations Capitol a little over 4 blocks away. I walked around the Capitol building on the North side where the chambers of the House of Representatives met. I walked my way to almost the halfway part of the back part of the Capitol which actually faces the National Mall and is where the president is sworn in. Thefront of the Capitol faces the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. I did walk to the NorthEast corner of the Reflection Pool between the Capitol Grounds and the National Mall where all of the museums are. On the way back to the railroad station, I walked passed the Roosevelt Memorial Carillon, the Canadian Embassy, and the new memorial to Japanese Americans. I probably walked seventeen blocks and was out for about an hour. This was the farthest that I've ever walked after the accident.

I had about a five hour wait before I boarded the Amtrak train to New Orleans (The Crescent). I was assigned a aisle seat three rows from the rear of the car. All of the seats were front facing. At least, the restrooms were behind me and the lounge car was the next car behind me.,There were seats were 56 people in the car. About 1.4 hours into the 1,266 mile (2,026 km) trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the two seats across the aisle became empty and I was moved over. For the rest of the ride, I had those seats to myself. By midnight, we were at the train station in Greensboro, North Carolina. The train from Greensboro made stops in Greenville, South Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Meridian and Laurel, Mississippi before reaching Hattiesburg. The train was pretty well on time up to Atlanta, Georgia but once we crossed into Alabama we had delay after delay. We made several stops between stations to wait for several freight trains to go passed and another Amtrak train to go passed going Northwards to Washington, DC. By the time we had arrived in Hattiesburg the train was 1.5 hours late.

My friend Johnny picked me up around 6:30 pm CST (early Wednesday night, Oct o4th) and took me out in the country to his construction workshop. I am still in transition in finding the right spot where I could spend the rest of the year and through the Winter. With the L-RD's help, I'm hoping to be well enough so I can get back on the road either the end of March or early April of next Year.

The next update will be posted between October 16th and October 23rd.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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