TPS Tour 2019

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by the_traveler, Jan 29, 2019.

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  1. Jan 29, 2019 #1

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    The trip down to Florida makes Amtrak look good!

    The first part of the trip was by bus from home to the airport. The Trailways website says they offer half priced tickets is you are handicapped (which I am). But it says you can not book them online - only with a ticket agent. So I did not book it online in advance.

    When I went to the agent at boarding time, she said “Our computer is not programmed to offer that. You can only get those at the main Albany terminal.” Huh? :wacko:  So why does the website say that?

    Then TSA at the Albany Airport did it’s worse - of course! The 3 worst airports for TSA I’ve encountered were Albany, Chattanooga and Grand Junction. I have had no problems at LA, Tampa or Portland. Even with an airline employee pushing my wheelchair (assistance), 1 TSA agent insisted I walk through the screening even though the employee and other agents said to stay in the chair and I’d be wheeled around and hand checked.

    The one good thing about the flight was that my seat was the 1st row behind Comfort+ (extra room) and the row in front was empty. So I moved up there to give myself and those in my row more room. Because Comfort+ on Delta includes free beer and wine, I had a glass of wine at no charge! :p

    I know the airlines do not offer complimentary meals any longer, but they do offer food for sale. The flight from Albany to Detroit was a CRJ plus I just ate, so I didn’t try. The flight from Detroit to Atlanta was a midday flight, and I was hungry. But I did not eat in the airport, instead planning on eating on the plane.

    Even though the jet had pamphlets in the seat pockets advertising Flight Fuel (food for sale), so after we had departed I asked the FA for a sandwich. She informed me that due to the short (2 hour) flight, none were loaded! So why advertise it? :huh:

    So at Atlanta, I grabbed a meal. I brought it on the plane, where I ate it before we departed the gate.

    On the flight from Atlanta to Miami, this jet did have IFE. However if you did not have your own headphones, they SOLD them - for $2! They used to offer them for free.

    Arriving in Miami, after retrieving my checked bag, I was taken to get my hotel shuttle. However it did not come for about 30 minutes. Despite landing at 9:10 pm, I did not get to the hotel until after 10 pm!

    Checking in was no problem. But the room next to me was. It sounded like they were having a party, with LOUD music, LOUD talking and LOUD laughing occasionally. About 12 midnight, with the continued noise and needing sleep, I contacted the front desk to inform them. The desk clerk said he would contact them.

    The noises continued until after 1:30 am, when I finally fell asleep. If I’m lucky, I got 2 hours of sleep all night!

    Sunday began VERY early (4 am!) in order to make Tri-Rail in order to connect to the SM. I attempted to get the 6:17 am train, however by the time I got the shuttle to the airport and the people mover to the station, it was 6:40 am. I caught the 7:17 am train to Deerfield Beach, arriving at 8:25 am. However, the station does not open until 8:45 am - despite having a departure at 9:08 am! :blink:

    The SM arrived at 9:12 am - 4 minutes late! (Can’t Amtrak ever be on time?) I met Jim (JRR) and his wife Susan at the station. Shortly after boarding, we went to breakfast in Harrisburg (the Viewliner diner). The Meteor has a diner, unlike the Star(vation). It was the 1st time I entered from the kitchen end.
     
    The Homewood Suites had breakfast included, but it did not begin until 7 am. Much later then I left.

    After breakfast, I fell asleep for a time. (Many say that South Central Florida is boring anyway.) We arrived into Winter Haven at 12:10 - 11 minutes late.

    It was 55° and rain, but luckily the station is open and staffed. The Star was late - and getting later and later. It finally arrived at 2:13 pm. In fact, the Meteor was only 4 minutes behind it! In fact, many in the group boarding were supposed to be on the Meteor and not the Star. They were told the Meteor was right behind. 

    We met Patty (Mystic River Dragon) on the Star. The Star was booked full.

    Upon our return to Deerfield Beach, all 4 of us went to Two Georges at the Cove (a seafood restaurant in Deerfield Beach on the Intercoastal Waterway) for dinner. We then went to the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton. Luckily my next door neighbors were quiet. (One of which was Patty!) :giggle:

    On Monday, the TPS Tour took Tri-Rail to the Miami Airport, connecting to Metrorail to downtown Miami for a ride on Brightline! At Miami Central, we met Gilbert (GBNorman) who was “stuck” in Miami from IL due to snow. He rode Brightline on Sunday, but came to Miami Central to say hi to us.

    We rode Brightline to West Palm Beach in Select (First Class)! Very nice! It includes unlimited snacks and unlimited booze! The 4 of us were assigned a table with seats facing each other. The train and cars are very nice, and the ride is very smooth. I was very impressed!

    At West Palm Beach, the Brightline and Tri-Rail stations are about 3 blocks apart. However, they did offer shuttle service in an electric car/cart. We then took Tri-Rail back to Boca Raton. We then went to dinner at Artichoke & Vine, a vegan restaurant in Boca Raton. It’s very hard to find, but I recommend it!

    I then boarded Tri-Rail to return to Miami, since I had an 8 am flight the next morning. However due to the weather, Delta Airlines was offering to waive the change fees back to Albany.

    So I “forced” myself to be “stuck” in Miami an additional day! However, the hotel I was at was sold out the next night, so I switched to another hotel in Miami.

    I transferred to the new hotel. However, from hotel to airport to waiting for shuttle to hotel, it took until noon. So I just decided to stay at the hotel and do nothing instead of sightseeing or train riding.

    It was cold in Miami on Tuesday - it was only 70° and sunny! But it is warmer than Sunday and Monday - it was 55° and rain!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2019
  2. Jan 29, 2019 #2

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Mystic River Dragon

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    Were we on the same tour? :unsure:  As I remember it, the Star was early (as in just 45 minutes late instead of several hours--we were zooming through Georgia to get to you--didn't even make a stop at any of the Waffle Houses we passed :giggle: ), and it was delightful weather on Monday (I got to wear a jacket in Florida for the first time ever).

    And you didn't hear the wild partying going on in my room? :p :giggle:

    Seriously, your memory is excellent, and I've enjoyed reading the trip report and reliving what we did :) .

    You put together a great trip and were a wonderful tour leader--thanks, Dave. :)
     
  3. Jan 29, 2019 #3

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

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    Sounds like you had a great time. Thank you so much for sharing this! Hopefully I can make it to the next TPS Tour. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2019
  4. Jan 30, 2019 #4

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    The adventure continues! Much like the rest of my trips! :giggle:

    I was  originally scheduled to fly back from Miami on Tuesday. However, due to the weather in the northeast it was rescheduled for Wednesday morning. So I checked out of the Homewood Suites (due to being sold out on Wednesday) and moved to the DoubleTree.

    On Wednesday morning, I checked out of the DoubleTree and went to the airport. (So far so good! :D ) I boarded the plane and was seated in my (First Class) seat. Just prior to push back from the gate, a hydraulic problem was discovered. After 15 minutes, it was determined that repair to it would take at least 3 1/2 hours. This would get me to Atlanta too late for my connecting flight.

    So I got a reservation at the Embassy Suites for Wednesday night.

    So I’m going to (hopefully) return home on Thursday. Thus I am “stuck” in Florida for 1 more day.

    Hopefully, no more to come. But you never know with me! :giggle:
     
  5. Jan 30, 2019 #5

    OBS

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    OBS

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    Maybe they are trying to tell you to stay down South?  Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!
     
  6. Jan 30, 2019 #6

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

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    I may be flying down to Florida over February break, so if you stay there just a few more weeks, maybe we can meet up! :D
     
  7. Jan 30, 2019 #7

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    I just hope to get unstuck before June! :rolleyes:
     
  8. Jan 30, 2019 #8

    trainman74

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    Hopefully you won't end up staying at all the Hilton brands!
     
  9. Jan 30, 2019 #9

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    I only got 3 brands in 3 nights! :D

     
  10. Jan 31, 2019 #10

    JRR

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    JRR

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    You should have given us a call. Hope your trip goes well tomorrow. You should have taken the train!
     
  11. Jan 31, 2019 #11

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    Actually I tried! 

    But I couldn’t get a refund of points Monday until my flight was cancelled. And on Wednesday, by the time of the delay it was too late to take the SM, so I’d have to stay anyway. (I can’t connect from the Star.) And I leave at 8 am (hopefully) on Thursday morning.
     
  12. Feb 1, 2019 #12

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    Thursday 1/31

    Upon leaving the Embassy Suites, I grabbed 3 bananas to eat. Then I got the shuttle to the airport. Being that the hotel is very close, it took no more than 5 minutes to get there.

    Upon getting there, I received (the requested) wheelchair assistance. The Delta employee took me thru Security. Even though I specifically said that my bone stimulator can not go through the machine due to the electo-magnetic interference, she put it on the belt. Her only reply was “Uh-huh!” :blink:

    Beyond that, TSA was not bad at all. It was one of my easiest experiences. I didn’t even have to remove my belt or shoes. (In Albany, I had to remove both!) TSA didn’t even question the bananas.

    The flight departed on time! Because I was in First Class, I didn’t care! :cool:  Unfortunately it was an 8 am flight and no meal.

    The flight MIA-ATL was an A321. The flight ATL-DTW was a 727-200. Both were nice.  (Being in F, what do you expect?) The DTW-ALB flight was a CRJ-900.

    In Hotlanta, it was 34°. The pilot said in Detroit it was -10°! At 34,000 feet over Ohio, it was -72°! That’s COLD!!!! By the time we got to Detroit, it warmed up - all the way to 0°! :rolleyes:

    On the flight from DTW, I asked for a Bailey’s. The FA said they didn’t have any. So I asked for Chardonnay - they didn’t have any. The FA suggested Champagne, later to find out they had none. I finally settled for a Margarita.

    Arrival at ALB was actually EARLY! :eek:  However, the temperature was 11°!

    I attempted to reissue my bus ticket (due to being stuck in Miami for 2 extra days), but they couldn’t do so because the Trailways computer was not cooperating. But I got on with the old ticket.

    I arrived “home” at 9:10, then used Uber to get home arriving about 9:30 pm. (The temperature was 6°.)

    Thus ends the TPS Tour for 2019. Join us in 2020! Good vision for the tour guaranteed! :giggle:
     
  13. Feb 1, 2019 #13

    JRR

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    JRR

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    Glad you made it ok - don’t envy your weather! Thanks for writing it all up. Look forward to next year!
     
  14. Feb 1, 2019 #14

    VTTrain

    VTTrain

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    I've got a flight booked from Albany to Chicago.  I'm not happy to hear that TSA is a pain in the neck there.  I was even more unhappy when I learned that their TSA Pre-Check is available only from 4:00 AM - 6:00 AM.

    I specifically chose Albany so I can take the Lake Shore Limited on the return.  My plan was to park at the Albany rail station and then take an Uber to the airport.  
     
  15. Feb 1, 2019 #15

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

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    Huh?
     
  16. Feb 1, 2019 #16

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    How did that happen? :eek: I meant 757-200!
     
  17. Feb 1, 2019 #17

    JRR

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    JRR

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    I wondered about that. I haven’t seen a 727 in a long time!
     
  18. Feb 1, 2019 #18

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

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    The only 727 I've ever seen in the flesh is that old retired FedEx plane in the corner at Fort Lauderdale Airport. It's a shame, as I'm a huge fan of all trijets and the 727 in particular. :(
     
  19. Feb 1, 2019 #19

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    I loved flying on 727s! :cool:  I wish they were still in commercial service.
     
  20. Feb 1, 2019 #20

    JRR

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    JRR

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    DB Cooper apparently liked them too!
     

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