As we approach Orlando, it’s time to wrap up some loose ends from the trip. First of all, in case you are wondering, the streak continues for my second cross country trip – I had a hot dog and beer for lunch.
And now a couple of taboo and/or controversial subjects:
1). Bathrooms. The bathrooms on Amtrak are similar to the bathrooms on an RV – after a long trip, you can only do one thing: Deal with it. As for a sleeper car bathroom tip, here’s one from Jason, a Canadian on a North American rail pass who was in the sleeper across from me. Always use the downstairs bathroom next to the shower. Most people use the one upstairs first. As for the downstairs bathrooms, people seem to use the ones across from the shower not knowing that there is also one between the shower and the handicap room. Here’s one thing I’ll add to Jason’s tip: the toilets in the bathrooms across from the shower (and upstairs) are perpendicular to (and facing) the door. In the bathroom next to the shower, the toilet faces a wall 90 degrees from the door. Granted, I didn’t use a tape measure, but I believe there is slightly more leg room in this bathroom configuration.
2). Smoking. During this trip, several announcements were made about the fact that smoking on Amtrak will result in banishment from the train. Despite this warning, several individuals chose to light up in obvious and not so obvious places. Being in a sleeper car, I never smelled any smoke, but a couple of passengers said that they had. I never saw anyone light up, but on a couple of occasions, I saw lighters change hands in the lounge car during long stretches without a smoke break. What’s the solution? Good question. Amtrak can’t afford cameras or undercover employees posing as passengers. I guess all they can really do is to continue to banish those who are actually caught smoking.
(On a side note, to my knowledge, only one person was removed from the train. On Friday night, a passenger was forced to leave the train in Palm Springs, California. Earlier that night, I saw the passenger making a scene in the dinning car; the next day, a couple of passengers said they heard he had used a bad credit card, in addition to being a problem in the dining car.)
We just left the station in Sanford – where we discharged the dining car crew, for some reason – and we are now 3:38 behind schedule. With Orlando – and midnight – approaching, that’s all for tonight. I’ll update things tomorrow.