Sometime around midnight last night I sent Sarah a text message, to wit: “I can't sleep; I'm too excited.” Hank was already asnooze in his upper berth, but I lay in the darkness and watched the world roll by, afraid to miss anything. It wasn't until Salisbury that the tiredness kicked in and I was able to sleep. Even then, it was a fractured sleep; trains are surprisingly bouncy. At one point, I would have sworn we'd hit a moose. Sometimes we'd stop to let another train pass. Sometimes we stopped at stations – Greensboro, Salisbury, Charlotte. After that, I slept and did not remember.
This is not like ANYthing we've ever done before. Our rolling bedroom is equipped with a shower/toilet combination that's very weird. We have two berths that we're not eager to convert back to the day benches. They are surprisingly comfortable, mostly because each one is the seat itself, topped with a separate mattress. When the sleeping car attendant made our beds last night, he put the mattresses on top already fitted with sheets and blankets. Hank is napping, in the lower one, despite having three cups of very good coffee at breakfast. The room is compact, the way I'd imagine a cabin is on a ship. We have high shelves to store gear (really only accessible from the upper berth), and stowage space under the lower berth.
We had breakfast in the dining car, beginning while it was parked in Atlanta. I can't get the hang of walking on a moving train. Somewhere in mid breakfast, the train pulled out, and we ate omelets and French toast while watching downtown Atlanta slide by. Our waiter, Leroy, brought us coffee, which he poured with complete confidence, despite the train lurching all over the place. I would have dumped coffee all over me, the dining car, and possibly all the other diners.
Now we're rolling through the city of Bremen, Georgia, at 9:50 a.m. It's raining in Bremen, but rain doesn't faze us; we're not driving. What we ARE doing is marveling that the entire state of Georgia seems to be covered in kudzu. As a matter of fact, kudzu and red mud seem to be the order of the day. It's very green out there, despite the rain, except in the places where the red clay has made little rivulets of water the color of cream of tomato soup.
One further observation, while I wait for Birmingham and a chance to upload: The train is much quieter than we expected. At slower speeds, it feels like we're floating along, frictionless. Of course, when we speed up, it's like being in the back of somebody's pickup truck – somebody who doesn't think much of his suspension.