From Green Cove Spring, Florida to Deltaville, Virginia--that is the challenge for contestants of the “The Greatest Race.” White Pepper was moored at Green Cove Springs and our car was still in a gas station parking lot in Deltaville. What to do? Air travel was too intrusive (“not my junk, you don't”). Besides the only cheap flights from Jacksonville were into Baltimore International. East coast types acknowledge that the trip from Baltimore to Washington by car is one of the worst experiences anyone can endure. Car rental from Florida was too expensive. Gas prices and inflation has emboldened car rental agencies to highway robbery. The bus was expensive and just too much. Jan and I settled on a hybrid solution of a courier to Jacksonville, a rail transit on Amtrak to Alexandria, VA, and then beg a ride from the kids to Deltaville. The price was the same as the airlines and much more convenient.
The Amtrak was a treat. It is like riding on a very large bus. The seats are huge and recline to almost horizontal. There is 110 AC on the wall so the computer can be used continuously if you have internet access which White Pepper does inside the USA. You can walk about and the bathrooms are large and clean. The fabled club car has regrettably been reduced to a snack bar. The best part was a relaxed attitude towards alcohol. Beer is sold in the club car and carry on liquor is allowed in moderation. Jan had packed a vial of rum and tonic, ice in a cooler, crackers and blue cheese. We had a positively delightful happy hour as the red dirt of southern George rolled past. Later she brought out tuna fish sandwiches for dinner. By lights out I was a happy camper and actually able to sleep off and on during the night.
We got on the train at 7 pm which was 2 hours late, but arrived on time at Alexandria, VA at 7 am a little tired but ready for the day. All in all the train ride was no worse than a mild overnight night passage offshore.