Friday, March 23, 2012

Taking the Scenic Route

As the recession loosens it's icy grip on the economy, I find myself making more and more trips down to the NYC area for weddings and Bar Mitzvah's. I'm not complaining but it is taking a toll on my car and my gas card. With the PhotoNorthEast conference getting under way tomorrow in Woodcliff, NJ, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to take the train down to NYC since I won't need my car to follow a bride around.

The trip itself took about two hours longer than it would have by car, but it was well worth it. It's hard to sleep, surf the internet, read and eat while behind the wheel, although I have seen some people doing it, including on more than one occasion, a woman putting on make up and changing outfits behind the wheel. It was a nice, relaxing ride in ultra wide seats that recline complete with a leg rest like a Laz-e-boy recliner. If you're in a rush, take a plane. We had to crawl behind several freight trains and creep through construction zones, nevertheless, we arrived at Penn Station a few minutes early.

The ride from Rochester to Albany was uneventful with monotonous scenery of farms and small towns. It's pretty for the first hour until the weight of my eye lids took over. Once in Albany, the train splits in half with some of the cars continuing east to Boston while the back half of the train turned south toward New York City with a new engine. That's where the trip got exciting. The entire length from Albany to NYC goes right along the Hudson River, passing some of the most amazing scenery anywhere in the country. At times you could see the 4,000 foot peaks of the Catskill Mountains looming in the distance. We also passed numerous bridges crossing the river, including my favorite, the Bear Mountain Bridge which is wedged between two mountains in the section of the river called The Narrows.

If you take this trip, be sure to sit on the right side of the train going south. I made the mistake of choosing the left side in Rochester and by the time I thought of it, all the seats were taken. It was so frustrating seeing people closing their curtains to keep the sun out, missing the unbelievable view.

I wasn't left without things to see though out the left side of the train. A long time question was finally answered for me out the left side. "What happens to all the old refrigerators when people get new ones?" Now I know. They get thrown off a cliff along the train tracks, along with pieces of cars, strollers and occasional sail boat. If I were going to get rid of a sail boat I would sink it instead of hauling it 200 miles in land to launch it off a cliff. It seems that there is a strip of land between train tracks and the rest of the world that is no mans land. It is filled with garbage, storm debris, old house chimneys and foundations, oh, and a wild turkey.

Photo courtesy of Amtrak

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