This kind of thing (previously) seems to tend to happen right around the time I’m about to take a long trip on Amtrak. Or maybe that’s when I most notice it.

I did ride 13 hours on Amtrak last Thursday, and it was pretty uneventful and relaxing. It was also supposed to be an 11-hour ride (which is a fairly typical delay, I think). And I’ve had a great time in North Carolina with my family. But how long, I wonder, will my scheduled 13-hour trip from Kannapolis to Manhattan take tomorrow?

Speaking of NYC, I enjoyed Yankee Stadium way more than I expected to. Me at Yankee Stadium It was so much smaller than I ever would have imagined it, and to me and Nick alike, it evoked memories of Milwaukee County Stadium (pleasant memories, at least to me). Whether it was the cramped concourses, the relatively human scale, or the cheesy ’80s scoreboard graphics with accompanying sounds, it was a baseball experience from another era that I will not have again. And I found the fans and the concessionaires (!) WAY friendlier than anticipated. No one batted an eye at my A’s Division Series cap. An oldster next to us bent Nick’s and Peter’s ears in conversation about some past decade (when he lived on a farm on Long Island and sold the family’s goods at an open-air market near the stadium, giving them the chance to see the Yankees).

In Kannapolis, I finally broke down and bought an Intimidators cap (well, “finally,” as in the second time I went to their stadium with the family). I can’t wait to wear that around with its weird poorly designed NASCAR-y “K“.

The contrasts on this trip have been and continue to be great. I flew from not-easily accessible Oakland International (AirBART, anyone?) to Philadelphia Airport, where you could count the steps from the jetway to public transit without losing count (maybe I’ll do that on Saturday — but more than likely I’ll forget I even thought of it). I went to Yankee Stadium for the first and last time, one of the few remaining truly historical shrines of baseball (no matter how you feel about the Yankees) and then attended a game between the single-A affiliates of the White Sox and the Nationals. And I’ll be going to a game at Shea Stadium for the first and last time as well.

Illustration of lateness

Not to mention the difference between train and air travel… I will log at least 26 hours on Amtrak this trip, 13 or more tomorrow. And Kannapolis, NC, though it is changing and growing, is not exactly New York or Philadelphia. No matter what, though, there are some people there I love more than I can possibly express.

(And when I go back, my workplace won’t be run by the same person as when I left, and one of my friends will have begun a miraculous personal transformation.)