Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A trainful of progressives means the Gardenburgers will run out first.

So, here I am, back "home" in New Haven, Connecticut, typing this from the bowels of Yale University. It's Tuesday, but in typical "gotta catch up" fashion, we'll go all the way back to last Thursday, September 22:

I got up too-fucking-early in Champaign, Illinois in order to get to the train station, pack up my bike, and board the City of New Orleans Amtrak service to Chicago. Despite being not-really-awake, I packed up the bike without trouble, boarded said train a little after 6am, and got into the Windy City around 9am.

Not much to write about the eight hours to kill in Chi-town. I drank some coffee, went to the library, made some copies, wrote some postcards, and got some supplies for the day long train trip into Washington, D.C.

Waiting for the 5:35pm (CDT) Capitol Limited to depart from Union Station, I noticed that some of the folks waiting in line had homemade signs. Inspecting them, I remembered the flyers I saw around town: a big anti-Bush/anti-war rally and march was going to be held in DC on Saturday. And this would be the appropriate train at the appropriate time for all those enviro-conscious progressives from Chicagoland to catch the event.

And boy, the train was crowded! While I doubt that everyone on board was going to the march, there was definitely a good contingency. I spotted folks with guitar cases heading to the lounge car, to participate in, as one passenger referred to, "a hootenany".

Maybe the forces of Bush were conspiring against us, or maybe it's just CSX (the freight railroad who owns the tracks) in their incompetence, but by Friday morning we were 4 hours late. Supposedly the t-storms around Toledo delayed the train there for hours, the power being out on the signals and switches. On the plus side, this meant I was going to see much of the Appalachian Mountain crossing during daylight. On the negative side, I wouldn't be pulling into DC at noon, but sometime after four.

Since I was planning on eating lunch in DC, I didn't bring enough food for one on the train, so I had to hoof it to the lounge car for their selection of overpriced and unappetizing comestibles. Being vegetarian, the choices are limited, but I can at least count on that ol' standby the Gardenburger to be their. Unfortunately, they had already ran out, leaving me with a bagel with creme cheese in consolation. Dang progressives and their non meat-eating ways!

While I was in the lounge, I had a convo with a girl going to the protests. She was under 20 and showed signs of immaturity, but we tried to talk about common interests for a bit until she got bored with me. Oh well.

It was after 4 and we were clearly in metro DC. My big plan for the day was to go to the Smithsonian, but clearly it was being thwarted by the late train. Dang. Every time I go to DC, I plan on going to at least the Air and Space Museum or something, but it never ever works out. Someday...I ran into Bill, owner of Copacetic Comics, a really cool store in Pittsburgh, on the train, and he was getting off the train at Rockville, the station before downtown DC. From there he would take the Metro (subway) Red Line to Bethesda. This would bring him directly to SPX, the comix-con while avoiding downtown and crowded subway trains at rush hour. Good idea, I thought, so I hopped off the train with him.

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