I finished packing on Wednesday, and had most of my stuff put into storage. Had a quick dinner in RPCC, then I went back to Jameson for the last time so I could check out with Melissa.
The van ride (via Ithaca Airline Limo) to Syracuse was pretty good. There was the driver and his wife, as well as a sophomore Cornell student from Indiana, also going home by train. We all talked for a little while on the way north, but somewhere along the way I began to fall asleep to the sound of rain on the van’s roof. Though I’ve been to Cortland and Syracuse enough times now that I’m starting to recognize landmarks on the route – whether it be a graveyard, the Applebee’s, or that small town where you have to make a left turn. It was raining by the time we got to Syracuse, but luckily there was an overhang at the drop off area! I got in line at the ticket booth to get my tickets from the station attendant and to check my bags – he was quite friendly as well! The Syracuse station was also the Syracuse bus station. I went to the waiting area, where there were several interesting groups waiting to get on – a group of older ladies who seemed to travel with each other quite a few times, as well as a large group of high school students.
So the train was supposed to arrive at 9:41 pm, but it came a little after 10pm – not too long a wait. I had gone up to the platform a little earlier, but as the train approached, a stream of people made their way up. I’m pretty sure there were more people getting on that night than usual, and I was ushered to the second or third car down, going to Chicago. I later found out that conductors or attendants try to seat passengers by destination – so that people getting off in the middle of the night are in a different car than those getting off in the day.
Standing in line on the crowded platform, someone asked if I went to Cornell, as I was wearing my Cornell tee, and I learned that he was a fellow Cornellian. As the conductor was letting groups board first, we decided to team up and sit together (and get out of the rain on the platform sooner!) – we sat down, and to my surprise, I found that he was not only from Cornell, but from the same Chicago area suburb that I used to live in many a year ago! What a small world! Interesting how lives cross paths – it’s quite possible that I had walked right past him a decade ago (wow, I can say a decade ago! Well that makes me feel old), and not known it – and there we were sitting together on the train! He had taken the train back and forth quite a few times, and knew the timetable and scenery pretty well by heart! We talked a bit – about things like Danny Cunniff Park, and how terribly hard it could be to get out of Ithaca, or for that matter, anywhere in central New York, whether by plane, train, bus, or car! (Sometimes I almost think Cornell and Ithaca are a trap – drawing you in and never wanting to let you get out!)
It was nice to have space on the train – no fighting for overhead bag space, and there was even enough space for me to put my backpack up there so that I could use the footrests on the seats – it was wonderful to have legroom for a change! I tried to sleep as we made our way toward the Great Lakes, but it was somewhat hard. The people in front of us talked for most of the night and made it hard to sleep. And I believe they got off at every stop they could for a smoke break – the up and down didn’t help much to let me sleep. However, that at least afforded me to wake up in Cleveland (shoutout to all my Cleveland floormates!) around 4 something in the morning (about an hour behind by now), getting to see the Browns stadium. I probably woke up every couple of hours or so that night.
I’ll continue later about the rest of the Syracuse-Chicago leg of the trip – you can see my pictures on Facebook in the meanwhile!