Argyll, Dr. Diarist’s Brompton bicycle, needed his post-purchase service and check, so he and I took the train to New York City. (Dr. Diarist was otherwise occupied.)
This was not Argyll’s first time on a train, however. He’d come home in January, in the middle of a snowstorm, but there was little documentation from that rather frenzied trip. It felt odd to travel without Basil, but both Argyll and I took it in stride.
My T bag was stuffed, but I don’t have any trouble getting four days’ worth of clothing and gear into it. Even a wimp like me can manage a T bag and a Brompton on a train; I sling the T bag across my back, carry the B in my right hand, and hold on firmly as I mount the incredibly infelicitously staggered stairs into the train carriage.
We watched a few trains go by before ours arrived. Amtrak’s “Coach Class” cars always look spiffy. I love the classic curve of the exterior, too.
This engine is pushing the train westward; that’s a common configuration in our part of the world. This particular train will head to Lancaster, Harrisburg, and possibly all the way to Pittsburgh. Weirdly, the trip to Pittsburgh by train takes about ten hours, or twice the time required to drive it on the turnpike.
We were going eastward, of course. It was a trip full of firsts for Argyll, and I did my best to record them. It was very odd to see a small green Brompton on the train where I’m used to seeing Basil’s yellow. Basil’s T bag served Argyll just as well as it has Basil, ensuring that he didn’t slip about during the ride.
Dr. Diarist sent me off with a new app on my Android tablet: Trainz. This meant that I spent some blissful time driving a train through the British Midlands while on the way to New York. It was the best sort of cognitive dissonance: The train I was on, and the British one, seemed to move in perfect harmony. Good thing I wasn’t the engineer on the Amtrak train, though: I got lost in the Midlands and had to backtrack.
Maybe it was the influence of Trainz, but it seemed to me that the view looked surprisingly like something that an animation engineer might have created. That was a little worrisome . . . and inspired a philosophical moment: What is reality, anyway?
The next view successfully distracted me from further musings. There it was: the unending sky, a plane, trains, and a Brompton. The lure of adventure, symbolized in the nouns of the moment, and a fantastic roiling of clouds.
I’m not allowed to ride my bicycle inside the subway, or at indoor train stations, but a Brompton’s brilliant luggage block still carries the weight of my gear. Argyll, just like Basil, transforms into an excellent luggage cart.
(Basil and I are out of town again this week, so response to comments and email will be slow — well, to be frank, non-existent — until our return.)