Train Travel Adventures

Kale Chips Do Not Travel Well by Train

Visiting family spring breakers insisted on shopping to supplement and fortify a stash of snacks, almonds, pretzels, string cheese, peanut butter, snow peas, and cucumbers. House guests often buy more than they consume. The house was full of March Madness mayhem, recording games to watch after returning home from theme park marathons. Spring break brought family restful hours by a community pool. Heavy eyelids made their way downstairs for breakfast and trips back to the grocery store for more, donuts! Full from adventuresome days, family departed to return to not so warm temperatures of their hometown. After their departure, we readied for a brief train trip to Savannah, GA with Hilton Head Island as our final destination.

I placed a package of Kale Chips into the beige-trimmed navy canvas satchel that contained a writing journal, camera, iPad and other travel security items I felt necessary to bring along, but I forgot the binoculars. After boarding the Amtrak Silver Meteor train for Savannah, I threw the satchel into the overhead rack. The inexpensive Kale Chips turned into crumbs. I thought they would be a perfect snack while reading the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, but since Kale Chips were crumbs, I would need a spoon. I had packed two bags of a favorite comfort food, Cheez It crackers, (left behind by family spring breakers). One of the bags had turned into crumbs like the Kale Chips.

The train ride was relaxing until across the aisle, a frantic voice connected to a friend screamed into her phone, “The ADT alarm is going off at my house, the police are on their way. I’m tired of buying things for thieves to steal.” She got off the train before I heard if her friend went to her home to meet police.

We were 6 cars back from the train’s engines. I didn’t hear one whistle as we traveled over railroad crossings. I never heard the crumbling of Kale Chips or Cheeze It crackers either. A train stop in Jacksonville turned into a long delay when the crew made the decision to ditch one of the sleeper cars for safety reasons. People carrying pillows joined us in coach class when they had to be relocated from their roomy sleeper cars.

This is living large

Living Large

My husband, sitting by the window, was glued to his iPhone, watching every inch of terrain on a satellite map he downloaded. With the rocking back and forth of our train, I read and read and read, sometimes gasping at Dr. Davis’s statements meant to bring a laugh. I disrupted my husband’s map adventures more than once with “You’re not going to believe this…” statements as I read portions of the book’s pages to him.

We seldom miss a meal in the dining car when traveling by train. I ignored what I had read minutes ago when a warm sour dough dinner roll was set before me. Dining car meals bring adventure, one never knows who a dinner partner is going to be. We shared a table with a Connecticut artist traveling home from an extended family visit with her son and grandson. Her interesting clothing and jewelry gave me a clue that she was probably an artist. Roosters, she had been painting roosters, 68 of them so far. How many roosters have you seen walking around your neighborhood? Me, none but I do like roosters.

Serene Marsh Veiw

Serene Marsh View

We were going to Hilton Head by way of Savannah, taking a taxi from the Amtrak station to the Savannah Airport to pick up a rental car for the one hour ride. Our Amtrak scheduled arrival time of 7:15pm turned into 9:15pm, altered in part by the sleeper car’s ditching a few hours back. Type A personalities may not do well traveling by train. After arriving in Savannah, we took a taxi to the airport (no charge) to pick up a car.

Driving in the dark Georgia night, my husband begins to fiddle with his iPhone. He was searching for a map to our final destination while driving on the interstate! I’m a “Type A nervous nellie.” Minutes passed. He pulled over to the side of the road to figure out the map. As second-class navigator, I made an executive decision. It was time to consult a professional, Siri, who lives and breathes to get me out of nervous situations, especially when the situation relates to directions. I voiced my request like Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise might command, “Get Directions to …” Siri’s audible commands navigated us to the resort at Hilton Head where we spent several days relaxing and enjoying South Carolina’s coast.

We went to a favorite spot for dinner. The Sunset Grill, a fine dining waterfront restaurant rests on top of a self-service laundromat in an RV park. Floor to ceiling windows on three sides offer breathtaking views. We appreciated the view of a vibrant sunset, unlike the time we had dinner during a heavy fog. Facing the Intracoastal Waterway at the Hilton Head Harbor Marina, one never knows what you may see in the calm waters. We’ve never been disappointed.

Fast forward to the end of August. We are ready for another visit of family. Will they make a trip to the grocery store, shopping to supply snack cravings? I’ll encourage them to buy some Kale Chips and Cheeze It crackers, secretly hoping for leftovers. (I won’t be saying a word to the author of Wheat Belly.)

Welcome to Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort

Welcome to Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort

Look for Shadow when you visit

Look for Shadow when you visit

Mileage from Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort
Mileage from Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort

It’s from Thailand not the Philippines

On a road trip, we decided to overnight in Savannah, GA, a favorite spot.

I had told my husband that our daughter-in-law really liked our frog that I had bought in Savannah years ago and I would like to find one for her.  After dinner at the Sapphire Grill, we were on a mission to find a frog like the one that sits by our back door, guarding us from intruders like spiders, “Show me the Money” lizards and other like-minded creatures such as geckos.

Frog

Frog

Staying at a familiar place, I chose to talk to the locals while my husband went up to our room.  When I arrived, I heard, “Yes, frog.  Oh, it is from Thailand.  It is blonde wood?”  We had walked the streets of this river town searching for the frog, having solicited tips from locals about where we could find this fat frog carved in wood.  Years ago, I paid $29.00 for my frog, imported from the Philippines at some Savannah shop but I couldn’t remember the name of the shop.

At the Sapphire Grill, we sat next to a young couple celebrating an anniversary.  We exchanged conversation.  They lived on an island near Savannah.  Their children visit our locale for sports competitions.  I gave them a business card for our charity.  They didn’t know anything about frogs from the Philippines.  I had expected to have my favorite Chilean Sea Bass, a signature dish at the restaurant.  They don’t offer it anymore since Sea Bass has become over-fished.  How things have changed.  A new addition next door to the restaurant is a Paula Deen retail shop.  Had I known what was coming for Paula, I would have bought a few things in the shop.

The next morning, we checked out of our hotel to continue to search for the frog.  My husband had honed directions to a retail place that had a frog from Thailand that they stopped carrying because it was too expensive.  We parked.  We walked.  The shop was fantastic, featuring all sorts of high quality imports from around the world.  He asks about the frog.  The sales clerk says, “You were the one who called about the bronze frogs?”  We looked at each other.  Thailand?  Bronze frogs, not blonde wood frogs?

Leaving Savannah that morning sans frog, we chuckled about blonde wood.

Stay tuned for more Savannah escapades.