I have just returned from a twelve day trip from my home in Arizona to the east coast, using new United Airlines service from Flagstaff, with two flights per day to Denver. No, I did not take Amtrak to the east coast, as that would have involved too much time and expense. I flew east to Newark and returned from Reagan National in Washington. As some you know, I go on cultural trips, mainly to attend concerts or church events. The piano recital at Carnegie Hall by the blind Japanese pianist, Nobu, was fabulous. A few days later, I decided to make a round trip on the Long Island Railroad to Montauk. I am originally from New Jersey and used to work for NJ Transit. But prior to this, I had only ridden the Long Island Railroad twice in my life, with my grandmother to the New York World's Fair in 1964 and a trip in 1970 to Mineola. Originally my idea for last week's day trip was to leave at 7:49 am and spend three plus hours in Montauk. But the weather was rainy and nasty, so I departed Penn Station at 11:01 am and returned on the same train. I do want to emphatically state that in spite of its rather spotty reputation over the years, I found the service to be quite good. All of the trains, including the change at Jamaica, were clean and operated on time. Granted, I was not riding at peak rush hour. The train crews were at least perfunctorily friendly and courteous. The equipment, other than some worn upholstery, was in fairly good condition and the rest rooms acceptable! I got off the high level platform at Montauk for a quick walk down to the station, which is closed except that it is used as an art gallery in the summer, with a ticket office. There is a large yard, which apparently is used for additional service on heavily patronized summer weekends for the benefit of the big money crowd. The station is about a mile north of the ocean, which I had originally intended to walk down to the town, but the weather was inhospitable. The return trip was fine, EXCEPT for a ROACH in my COACH!!!! ( That could happen anyplace. ) I arrived back at Penn on time at 6:21 pm. Not the most exciting train ride of my life, but I divide Long Island into three parts - the heavily urbanized west end, the anonymous could be anywhere suburbia, and the rural east end, with some attractive looking towns like Amagansett, with sand dunes and a few glimpses of the ocean. After visiting in New Jersey and going to my college alumni activities, I returned a rental car to Newark Airport and then took Train 147 to Washington, which is the train that goes to Roanoke. Fairly typical Northeast Corridor trip. These are reserved trains, but I think they should assign seats. I though if I aimed for the rear of the train it would be less full. Wrong. The helpful conductor, Daniel, directed me a couple of cars ahead where I found a vacant seat, but it is not a picnic trying to horse a couple of pieces of luggage through a crowded train. There must be a better way, Mr. Anderson. When I arrived in DC, I opted not for the Metro and waiting for a hotel shuttle, as I had a headache and it was hot, so took a cab, driven by a very gracious gentleman from Ghana named Cooby. But, I even made use late of the city buses that run on Wisconsin Avenue to downtown, and returned to the airport by Metro. In addition to a splendid choral concert at National Cathedral, I also visited the fairly new Museum of African American Culture on Constitution Ave., which is well worth a visit, although lunch in the cafe was poor and overpriced.