Saturday, 23 February 2013

Train Trip 2013 - New Orleans to Lake City

One of the many effects of Hurricane Katrina was some of the train tracks between New Orleans and Jacksonville being wiped out. Although freight traffic has been restored, Amtrak's passenger service has been "suspended" and, after eight years, there's still no return in sight. Reasons cited by people we spoke to revolved mostly around politics and money.

Therefore, we became Greyhound customers. Not wanting to overnight on the bus, we broke things up into shorter segments; first day to Fort Walton Beach and the second day to Lake City. We imagined getting great views of the ocean and countryside along the way, and leisurely walking along a sunny beach in Fort Walton.

Reality was much different. Rain, rain, more rain, and fog, fog, and more fog. Getting soaked through on a mad dash to get groceries for our upcoming kayak trip and sitting in soggy clothes though supper. Luckily there was a decent restaurant between the grocery store and hotel!

People on the bus made it an "interesting" experience. One that again reminds me of how darn lucky we are. The guy who hadn't bathed for days; the bus driver who pointed out that "if y'all know you're goin' ta be traveling with a bunch of other people on da bus, then y'all should take care of your personal hygiene. Cause if I git any complaints I'm gonna hafta ask y'all ta leave da bus."

Or the young woman who went on a "short trip" about a year ago and left her kid with its daddy and now its daddy won't give it back even though her judge said she should have custody and and the baby's daddy was lyin' so his judge didn't listen to her judge and now she can't see her kid and we listened to about two hours of this being repeated to various people she talked to on her cell phone and not once did I hear her refer to "the kid" or "my kid" or "it" by the child's first name.

Or the woman who arrived at the bus station just as we were about to pull out five minutes late and was absolutely frantic and almost hyperventilating that she HAD to get on this bus and please please please give her time to buy a ticket so she could get on the bus because if she didn't it would be absolutely positively the end of the world!

Or the two Greyhound employees who were outside the station but yelling at each other so loudly it was difficult to tell what they were arguing about.

On the other hand, in Fort Walton the Greyhound employee gave us a ride to the hotel in the pouring rain so we didn't have to wait for a taxi. Nice!

And likely due to riding the bus and carrying backpacks (or our incredibly young good looks) there was the sweet old man who asked if Andrew and I were on spring break! :-)

The next few days we'll be kayaking on the Suwannee River. The weather forecast isn't ideal so hopefully we don't have too much of a struggle staying dry!

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