By cutting out two train segments–New Orleans to Washington and Washington to Miami–I essentially gave myself an extra day in both New Orleans and Miami. I used the additional 24 hours in New Orleans by spending several leisurely hours in the National World War Two Museum. This was my third visit to this incredible facility that sees to be bigger and better every time I go there.
On my last visit to the museum, a PT Boat was being lovingly restored. On this trip I was informed by one of the docents that the restoration has been finished and the boat has been put to work on a nearby lake, presumably giving visitors a taste of what those crews experienced during World War Two.
The flight from New Orleans to Miami was uneventful, except to note that the New Orleans airport is a very so-so experience. It’s a long walk from the TSA line to many of the gates and there were long lines of people waiting to get a cup of coffee from people behind the counter demonstrating with body language that while you might be in a hurry, they aren’t.
Miami has grown and has a crammed-in feel to it, at least that’s the sensation I get from the Hyatt Regency. It looks like an artist’s impression of what the city will look like in the year 2100: elevated highways snaking in between and around high-rise hotels–designed in odd shapes so hey will fit on small, oddly-shaped properties.
The Fall meeting of the Rail Passengers Association begin tomorrow and I am particularly looking forward to our gathering being addressed by (1) Joe Boardman, former Amtrak president; (2) Michael Dukakis, former Massachusetts governor, presidential candidate, and enthusiastic proponent of passenger rail; and (3) David Gunn, former Amtrak president and, many would say, the last Amtrak president who really knew what he was doing. Gunn set out aggressively to expand Amtrak service and was fired by the board for his trouble. He’s known to be a straight shooter and everyone is looking forward to his remarks.
Some 50 of us are also going to get a ride up to West Palm Beach and back on the new Brightline train. It’s going to be an interesting few days.