Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How long does it take to go from Portland to Washington, DC by train?

Who's asking: Richard Bostwick, Hallowell, ME

The train from Portland to Boston only runs a few times a day, and doesn't go directly through to Washington. You have to transfer at Back Bay in Boston, which isn't difficult; you can also take the express bus from Portland to Boston's South Station, and switch to Amtrak there. Either way, it takes about 12 hours; travel time's a little shorter if you catch the Acela from Boston, but waiting time between transfers is longer.

Prices for the trip range from $100 to $216 each way -- about the same as it would cost to drive, figuring in gas and tolls for a 600-mile trip -- and travel time is about the same. I love train travel, and since I have to go back to Washington next week, I considered this -- but it would mean leaving Dizzy behind again, which I don't really want to do. I'd much rather ride than drive for 12 hours (I could read three books in that time, depending on the books), but it wouldn't be fair to leave Dizzy behind again for a week, especially since I'll have to leave him for a Montreal - New York trip at the end of the month.

After that, thank God, I'll be home for a while.

Five Random Songs

"Country Death Song," Violent Femmes. A tragic story of child-killing, set to a cheerful bluegrass tune. A good soundtrack for a book I read yesterday, but more about that on Friday.

"The Good Intent," Roseanne Cash. This song begins with an old recording of Johnny Cash talking to his daughter as an infant, getting her to speak into a microphone. This album (Black Cadillac) still comforts me tremendously; Jen Lechner gave it to me, and I gave copies to all my siblings for Mom's birthday last year.

"I Have the Touch," Peter Gabriel. I'd be excited about the Genesis reunion if he were going to be part of it. Otherwise, not so much.

"On the Rise," Meat Puppets. This was a recent download; I think (and hope) it's a cut off a forthcoming album. These guys are touring again this summer, and if I get a chance to see them, I'll be there.

"It's All in Your Mind," Beck. Ooh, music to slit one's wrists by. Too early in the morning for this. Next...

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