Friday, July 23, 2010

Day NINE of the Great Ten-Day Train Trip

Photos: a mannequin in the old jail, one of the loveliest streets in America, Magnolia Avenue, the must-visit Lu Li's Cupcakes, a key lime cupcake (yum!), Florida kitsch--gator heads, the ubiquitous trolley cars.

Whew! The journey is drawing to a close, and it's been fun. But today was a long day again!

We got up early this morning and were in a taxi by six a.m. We boarded the train as the sun was coming up, and pulled into Jacksonville around nine-thirty. But we had an adventure on the train--after getting to our reserved coach seats, we decided that if we were ever going to eat in a dining car, we might as well get up and do it. So we walked forward on the train, passed through a cafe car, and found the dining car. We had to wait a few minutes, then we were seated at a table with a young man we didn't know. He turned out to be a stand-up comedian from Pittsburgh, and he was on his way to a show in Daytona Beach. He told us his name, but unfortunately, it flew straight threw my head.

We found out, however, that he'd been on the train for about 24 hours and he had a sleeper car, which he promised to show us (for research purposes, of course.) So when we were done with our breakfast, we followed him forward past the "roomettes" and to the sleeper cars. They're interesting--each with their own bathroom that IS a shower, so it's possible to sit on the toilet, brush your teeth, and take a shower, all at the same time.

Shortly after our grand tour, we arrived in Jacksonville and went to our hotel. After putting our suitcases in the room, we hired a car to drive to St. Augustine (not cheap, but probably less expensive than renting a car for the day).

In St. Augustine, we bought tickets for a trolley and saw all the sights--in the blistering heat. We saw typical Florida kitsch such as gator heads and refrigerator magnets, we toured the nation's oldest house, and walked through the old jail. We saw the beautiful Cathedral of St. Augustine, and walked through the distinctive stores in the St. George area. Flagler College was stunning, and the story of Henry Flagler and the Gilded Age was interesting.

Tomorrow morning, we board the train early again and ride for several hours until we're HOME! It's been a lot of fun, the trip has given me what I need to know for the WIP, and I've enjoyed getting to know my cousin better. :-) All in all, a fun adventure!

Thanks for coming along for the ride!



Debbie said...

Because of this blog, I want to visit all of this again and again! Glad you had fun...can hardly wait to read the book. Let me know if you are ever in Charleston again...I'll find you at Starbucks! Debbie in Goose Creek

Anonymous said...

Well, of COURSE you had the Key Lime Cupcake! Was it as good as Key Lime Pie? I'm with Debbie of Goose Creek, I am thinking about taking a long train ride again after reading your adventures these past several days. Loved the bit about the sleeper and the teeny bathroom! When I crossed the country by train as a poor young person, I slept curled up in the day cars. I think it was fun ... ? Clyde

Mocha with Linda said...

What fun this trip has been. Thanks for letting us tag along!

Can't wait to read your WIP!

Kay Day said...

When I was on the train with my kids we must have had a "roomette." It certainly didn't have it's own bathroom. It had room for one person to stand and that was about it.
The bathroom was down the hall and it only had room for one person. I could only go once on the trip while the kids were sleeping because they were 2 and 5 and I couldn't fit them in there with me.
Did you see places from Nancy's book?

Angela said...

Oh, yes! I kept telling Ginger, "This is where Allison got arrested for feeding the poor" and "This is where Allison sat with Chief . . ." After reading Nancy's book set in St. Augustine (THE RELUCTANT PROPHET), the city had a new meaning for me!

KNelson said...

When you mentioned Flagler it sounded familiar....Then I remembered I visited the museum in West Palm Beach a # of yrs ago.

Thanks for sharing more of your trip-I can't wait to read about the train experiences in your next novel!

Kathy Cassel said...

What a journey!