Welcome to Florida

We both slept rather late this morning (given that we went to bed before 10 pm). Our roomette bunks were comfortable, and the swaying of the train didn’t keep us awake. It appears that we both sleep well on trains. Hopefully that will translate to sleeping well on freighters too.

After breakfast, the train made its first daytime stop in Jacksonville Florida. We were ahead of schedule, so we had a good 40 minutes to walk around outside and enjoy a little bit of the beautiful day before getting back on the train. We could tell that we had moved south, as it was much warmer outside (about 25 degrees C) and muggy. Unlike in Washington, no-one was concerned that we were taking pictures of the train, station and rails.

Last night Scott was told that it was illegal to take photographs of any Amtrak equipment, on grounds of Homeland Security. We found an interview clip from earlier this year where an Amtrak spokesman states photography is allowed, but is contradicted by a security guard nearby during the interview. Good to see there’s a consistently understood policy!

The train ride today is a bit rougher than yesterday. The dedicated Amtrak rails ended at Washington D.C. last night, and we’re now on freight rails. As we pass over some of the railroad switches, they can throw the train car quite sharply sideways. Overall though, the train ride was very pleasant. Much nicer than the horror stories we had heard, and we arrived right on time.

We had purchased tickets to Fort Lauderdale, but then found out that the place we really wanted to go to was Hollywood. We enquired about changing the ticket when we went to pick it up, but the change would have cost us more than $150! (Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale are serviced by the same public transit, so our alternate plan was to take public transit once we got off the train). When we asked the cabin steward if we could stay on the one extra stop, he said “Sure, no problem”.

Tonight and for a few nights before we get on the boat, we will be staying with Dave and Leo, whom we met through Warm Showers. We are looking forward to getting to know them better.

Upon arrival, Becky called up Leo to let him know we had arrived. He jumped into his truck and picked us up at the train station – what wonderful hospitality!

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