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'18 Travels through America


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#161 Bob Dylan

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 06:38 PM

I don't have a definitive answer as to what happened to the birds and wildlife in the Everglades Jamie, but species are vanishing all over the world due to poachers, climate change, development and failure of governments to care for our parks and wildlife areas.😣

Really nice pics, and the Park sounds wonderful!😎

Looking forward to your trip to the Keys, I haven't been in Southern Florida below Miami in over 30 years!
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#162 cpotisch

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 06:46 PM

Wow! Loving the pictures (namely the owl, dragonfly, and crocodile)! Keep 'em coming!


Edited by cpotisch, 02 May 2018 - 06:47 PM.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome


#163 willem

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 07:17 AM

I don't have a definitive answer as to what happened to the birds and wildlife in the Everglades Jamie, but species are vanishing all over the world due to poachers, climate change, development and failure of governments to care for our parks and wildlife areas.

 

Burmese pythons are part of the problem. They have established a breeding population in south Florida, and the mature snakes are top predators and are wreaking havoc on other species. Misguided people obtained pythons as pets and then released them when they got tired of having an animal that did little other than eat and sleep.



#164 v v

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 07:33 AM

I don't have a definitive answer as to what happened to the birds and wildlife in the Everglades Jamie, but species are vanishing all over the world due to poachers, climate change, development and failure of governments to care for our parks and wildlife areas.

Really nice pics, and the Park sounds wonderful!

Looking forward to your trip to the Keys, I haven't been in Southern Florida below Miami in over 30 years!

 

Thanks Bob, I think Willem has part of the answer below but for the whole length of the road there was an eerie lack of wildlife.

 

BTW, looks like Iran is off our list for a while as US, UK and Canadian citizens are only allowed to travel in Iran accompanied either by joining a regular organised tour or by having our own itinerary booked for us and remaining in the company of an official tour guide from the moment we cross the border to the moment we leave. No changes allowed to planned itinerary at all. As independent travellers that doesn't appeal to us in the slightest even though Iran is at the top of our travel list, so we'll wait and see developments over the next few years. Doesn't politics play havoc with ordinary peoples lives.

 

 

Wow! Loving the pictures (namely the owl, dragonfly, and crocodile)! Keep 'em coming!

 

Thank you cpotisch, it's a lot of luck not so much skill

 

 

 

I don't have a definitive answer as to what happened to the birds and wildlife in the Everglades Jamie, but species are vanishing all over the world due to poachers, climate change, development and failure of governments to care for our parks and wildlife areas.

 

Burmese pythons are part of the problem. They have established a breeding population in south Florida, and the mature snakes are top predators and are wreaking havoc on other species. Misguided people obtained pythons as pets and then released them when they got tired of having an animal that did little other than eat and sleep.

 

 

Thanks willem. If they are the cause of what we (didn't see) saw then the Everglades has a major problem. Lets hope we were just in the wrong places at the wrong times...


Edited by v v, 03 May 2018 - 07:44 AM.

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#165 Bob Dylan

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 06:44 PM

Bad News Jamie: Iran Tourism for "the Allies" sounds like what Russia and Cuba and,Albania ( at least for the US) had during the Cold War Days and North Korea still has IINM???
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#166 v v

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 07:39 PM

Tuesday 3 April Day 42  ~  Florida Keys

Updated in the Allier, France  ~  Thursday 3 May

 

 

The journey finally caught up with me, didn't feel great and not much sleep. Had a lay-in and got away by noon, I'm still tired. Very pleasant drive down through the Keys, once there is water on both sides it's beautiful. Quite a lot of traffic and fairly slow too, but we didn't have so far to drive and no big hurry. We were heading for Curry Hammock State Park on Little Crawl key, it turned out to be a very nice choice too. The Atlantic side of the Keys doesn't match the beaches of the Gulf side, but the Gulf side was mainly built up or not accessible.

 

One of the many bridges connecting the Keys

 

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This small State Park has everything you need. Good access to the ocean, shaded areas to sit or to picnic, toilets and showers, a campground if you are a bit more serious about your visit. There was also kayak rental if you want to go off and explore. Not many people in the park, it gave the whole place a relaxed feel. Rosie was excited and asked if I wanted to walk the seashore, it wasn't the right day for me so she soon disappeared. I'm happy just to sit, look and think over our 6 week journey, also very pleased Rosie had got her time by the water.

 

Here are a few photos taken on and from Curry Hammock

 

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This one's for you cpotisch, one of my favourites from the whole journey. The crab is checking Rosie out!

 

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These look like mussels? No on second thoughts they're not

 

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As it starts to get dark we head for Homestead, our second amazing southern Florida sunset 

 

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We decide to eat in as we must have visited well over 50 restaurants so far, can't wait to get back to home cooking. It had been the perfect wind-down day for us and now it was nearly time to head for home we were almost looking forward to it.

 

Back at the Floridian hotel and there were small groups of people sitting outside , just a low murmur of voices to add to the pleasing scene. We do like the hotel and would return if we were ever in this part of the world again.

 

Plenty of time to pack in the morning, we have our room until noon. Then there are several sitting and relaxing areas inside and out with fruit and hot or cold drinks to be had. We knew from past experience that once a journey ends we start to feel tired and have to take it easy for a day or two, that's just about how it worked out.


Edited by v v, 04 May 2018 - 04:34 AM.

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#167 v v

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 07:52 PM

Bad News Jamie: Iran Tourism for "the Allies" sounds like what Russia and Cuba and,Albania ( at least for the US) had during the Cold War Days and North Korea still has IINM???

 

Yes it is Bob as we had started to make tentative plans. It was the same for the UK too with big barriers to entering a handful of countries.

 

There is a flip side to this though, at least for the UK. 19 years ago we were trying to drive across the southern edge of the Mediterranean and couldn't get visas for Libya, we were on our way to Egypt and eventually Iran. There was a diplomatic standoff at the time and visas weren't easy to get, but we were told if we were to travel to Tunisia and ask at a Libyan Consulate close to the border we had a chance of being granted them.

This turned out to be correct but at a price, $750 each which was way too much for us. I asked why they were so expensive and hard to get and was told. "For a Libyan to get a visa for your country it is 3 times more expensive than we want from you, and harder to get too" 

 

This was confirmed from another source several months later and we also found out that Libya wasn't the only country on the UK's 'expensive' list, so they all do it I guess.

 

We did get into Libya for 3 hours, we tried to pretend we were told to get our visa at the border. The police chief at the border said he'd try to get us our visas and he would contact Tripoli for us. He also said that if you are granted your visas it's my father's birthday at the weekend, please be our honoured guests. We would have died to have gotten to that party, what a story that would be to tell.

But after 3 hours a general turned up, we were summoned from our camper. He said with us touching noses "Mister, get this van turned round and get out of here! " 

 

On a brighter note we are starting to look at visiting 4 of Iran's neighbouring countries, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, none of them have a visa problem for the UK or the US. There will be trains involved, care to meet up in Tbilisi?


Edited by v v, 03 May 2018 - 08:33 PM.

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#168 v v

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 06:02 AM

Wednesday and Thursday, 4/5 April  -  Days 43 & 44  ~  Last day, end of Journey

Updated in the Allier, France  ~  Friday 4 May

 

 

Leisurely morning, all bags packed including 3 cacti and 3 succulents into containers that wont give the customs people a problem if they have a rummage. The weather is close to tropical levels of rain with dark skies but mostly we've had good weather where-ever we have been, very fortunate.

 

As we don't have to leave for the airport until around 2-3pm we had thought of driving back into the Everglades Park this morning, but this level of rain would not have suited being outdoors. We do wonder where all the people here on vacation have gone too, maybe there are more undercover places to visit than we realise.

 

Leave bags at the hotel desk and use their lounge, had a whole section just to ourselves. We spend the next 3 hours very comfortable, looking at torrential rain, talking, reading and drinking lots of tea. There is also great wifi so we have it all.

 

Leave about a half an hour early to drive to the airport, traffic is understandably slow and more of it than on arrival. Located the car rental return ok, but the process has been de-humanised, maybe a max of 10 words in all between us and the agent taking the car back.

 

Miami airport lacks good information signs, had to ask at security which part of the terminal to use, or maybe we're just stupid.

Security had the opposite demeanour to our arrival in San Francisco, surly and abrupt, this airport is a little edgy. Even Rosie is given a tough time and that never happens. I follow a man from Argentina through the security channel, he gets pulled over. I get pulled over too. This time it's a few extra questions only for me, the 30 something Argentinian is in for longer questioning.

We both collect our carry-on bits and pieces at the same time, he looks anxious and I give him a smile. It's a game they play so don't worry, a man travelling alone is often pulled out I tell him. We have a short conversation while dressing and re-packing. he is a pleasant man and now smiles. He points to 2 very small tattoos under the outside of his left eye, "this one is for my brother who died, and this one is for my best friend who died too", I now see they are tiny tears. He says he's often pulled at security as the tattoos are mistaken for some form of gang recognition, but he wont have them removed as they are too personal.

 

Double decker plane which is roomy even in coach, as on the way out only two of us in the three seats, very good for Rosie as she needs to curl up when sitting for long periods now.

 

Completely uneventful flight except we have found our niche when ordering flight meals. We neither are vegetarian but now always order vegan meals on all flights. The standard appears to us to be constantly good where's meals with meat or fish have been hit and miss. Works for us anyway.

 

Back to London which feels more laid back than Miami, wouldn't have thought that. We're familiar with the route on the Tube and overground trains, find ourselves in Brentwood, Essex soon enough. Cousin Sylvia is there to collect us, she's a real sweetie and always smiling, we're home!

 

At the moment we're guessing at 18,000 miles including flights, it feels like a long journey now. Our thoughts are jumbled as the contrasts of people and places is so great we can't take it all in. The closest we can find to describe the feeling is we have stepped out of a kaleidoscope that makes up America, but oh it feels so nice to have stopped moving, well almost.

 

 

The world has gone crazy. Dark and wet on leaving Miami, dry, bright and sunny on reaching England, surely it should be the other way around.

 

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Exit gate of Brentwood, Essex rail station, the end of our travels through America

 

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Edited by v v, 04 May 2018 - 11:27 AM.

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#169 Bob Dylan

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 12:38 PM

A great ending to an Epic Journey! So glad y'all enjoyed your visit to the Colonies, it was great meeting you both, and as we say, Hope "..we meet again someday on the Avenue..!!!"

Rest up and get ready for your next adventure wherever you go! Looking forward to reading your reports and seeing your great pics!😎
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#170 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 01:36 PM

Thanks for taking us on this wonderful journey with you and Rosie! Both of you showed such stamina and grace and adaptability throughout, and I'm glad you got home safely and can relax for a while! :)



#171 oregon pioneer

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 02:58 PM

I do so appreciate the chance to travel along with you from my desktop. Thanks for sharing. I am sorry we did not get to meet along the way, but as Jim says, perhaps another time, another trip.


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#172 v v

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 04:32 PM

Here is just a small note to finish this journey, after nearly 2 months back in Europe we are still slowly making sense of it.

 

The lasting impression of this visit to the US is a country in change, it felt quite different to our visit just a year before. More people on the move for all sorts of reasons, but definitely many more regular people criss-crossing this vast country. Some were looking for something although the 'something' wasn't always clearly defined. It felt like a country unsettled, just as Europe feels now too.

 

But as in our previous visits we met with the same outgoing, kind, hospitable and most of all optimistic nation of people, we're going to miss you all.

 

We have many many people to thank for the help, advice and consideration shown to us where ever we went, that includes the help offered by this Amtrak forum, remarkable as always. We were lucky enough to meet up with friends who often went out of their way to make our visit enjoyable, you all know who you are.

 

I want to mention by name a few AU members, Jennifer for directing us the long way round to the Isaak Walton Inn, what a place to be after an epic snow fall, just magic. Jeb and Chelsea, lets hope we can show you one of our favourite joints one day, great evening with you both.

 

All the encouragement from many who took the time to read these ramblings, Mystic River Dragon and you too Ed plus plenty of others. And last to one of the world's great characters, Mr Bob Dylan, you made life so much easier for us when it could have been difficult, you're a gent Jim!

 

We arrived back and Spring had taken hold at our small farmstead, lots of colour and a fresh feel to the place. Within two weeks we had started to lightly discuss 'where next?', plans are afoot for something but not sure if they qualify for a report in this forum as although they will include rail they wont include the US.

 

It's been fantastic, thank you


Edited by v v, 26 May 2018 - 04:38 PM.

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#173 Ryan

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 05:31 PM

Please share them for sure. This was a most entertaining voyage to follow.

Thanks!!!
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#174 Bob Dylan

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 07:18 PM

Thanks guys, and Ditto to Ryan's post.
Please share your future adventures with us!
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#175 oregon pioneer

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 04:14 PM

Agreed -- I have enjoyed many a rail adventure tale from abroad on this forum. Don't stop now!


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#176 v v

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 06:46 AM

That's good, we like hanging around this forum.

 

As we live in the UK and France, Brexit will concentrate our minds for the next 12 months, but we do hope to make a shorter interesting journey in September/October this year and a longer one in the fall of 2019.

If all else fails we'll take a 'local' rail journey we have intended to take for a couple of years now, Clermont Ferrand to Beziers, the once a day direct train through the Massif Central, one of our favourite areas in France. Beziers is a very interesting city too, ancient with a lot of character.

 

Thanks again for the encouragement, will post again when we have probable plans.


Edited by v v, 28 May 2018 - 09:43 AM.

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#177 Seaboard92

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 06:46 AM

Please post your next trip report because I absolutely love reading your reports. And often times I take notes from your travels. This year as I'm working around the country I'm going to attempt to figure out the reason the Country is in a state of change be it trump, economic issues, or other motivators.

Chances are I wouldn't have known without you guys. And I find it an interesting thing to learn about. So please keep writing. That or send us all a link to the trip report somewhere else.
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#178 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 09:48 AM

Yes, absolutely more trip reports, please! :) They are wonderful to read, and I have learned a lot!



#179 v v

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 02:18 PM

Thank you, this is a very welcoming forum.

 

Seaboard, you've taken on a mighty task there, but good for you that you want to do it. I think that we just remove our own views from our questions, try to see the world through the other persons eyes even if we disagree. I'm sure you will find your own way of speaking with people, listening and hearing what the words mean is the best advice I can give.

I'd be very interested in what your conclusions are, and if your quest has changed you.

 

Writing a blog/travelogue only happens here, writing doesn't comes easily to me but here's the reason I've written a couple of travelogues. A few years ago before our first Amtrak trip I asked loads of questions, the response from this forum was and is amazing. No angle to the answers, just a friendly wish to help fellow train travellers, this forum has an enormous knowledge base.

We thought it was so generous that we had to give something back, so our first travelogue was born here, and only here. If I write about travels we don't have a private blog, only this forum as long as I can get away with it.


Edited by v v, 30 May 2018 - 02:20 PM.

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#180 Seaboard92

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 02:50 PM

I'll be sure to let you guys know what I find out. I think it will be a great quest to learn more about the country. While I know a lot about my state and Oregon. And then on Europe I really know nothing about the other states. So I'm looking forward to an eye opening experience.
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Steam Engines I've worked behind: Norfolk & Western No. 611; Nickel Plate Road No. 765; Southern Pacific No. 4449
 




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