Because it Will Have to Be Spring Soon…

New Englanders know the sap runs at its best in early spring when the nights are cold and the sun warms up the trees in the daytime. Here’s a lovely video from the State of Vermont Maple Syrup producers that is a harbinger of the sweet season to come. I hope this gives you a little ease today. Click title of post for the video.

#tbt The Day I Discovered My Two Long-lost Scottish Uncles

#‎tbt In 1989 I toured the Outer Hebrides in Scotland and met these two fellas in a wee shop on the island of Lewis. We became fast friends and I took their picture. The gentleman behind the counter served in WW1, which makes me think now he must’ve been in his 90s when I met him. He owned the shop and his pal kept him company there. I’ve always treasured meeting them.Two old guys on Lewis

An Amtrak Storify—STL to CHI/CHI to CLE/CLE to NYC, August 2014

Amtrak StorifyTo chronicle my recent Midwest August vacation, I’ve used Storify, the Web platform that lets bloggers incorporate social media posts in with their own writing. Once a piece is published on Storify, you can grab a handy embed code and paste it in at your websites, where it populates precisely as you’ve composed it. The piece is titled “By Train—STL to CHI/CHI to CLE/CLE to NYC, August 2014.” You may click here to read it at my page on Storify, or over at The Great Gray Bridge. I do hope you enjoy reading it, and if you also happen to enjoy writing sequential, diary-like narratives, I recommend you try Storify. It’s my second one, after “Great Music & Great Times in Toronto for NXNE, June 2014,” which includes travel and tourism info about Toronto, notes on restaurants, bookstores, shopping, and architecture, along with my music coverage of the NXNE festival, and which has now had more than 765 readers.

On the Rails Headed Home

Seen somewhere in upstate NY aboard #LakeshoreLtd from Cleveland to NYC. @Amtrak pic.twitter.com/5aPteJdJd3

— Philip Turner (@philipsturner) August 19, 2014
Canadian train travelers, I'm sure VIA Rail gives you headaches at times, but consider yourself fortunate you don't have Amtrak as your national passenger rail carrier. On our recent vacation, my wife and I flew to St. Louis, and after seeing family for a few days there, began voyaging back east on the rails. From St. Louis, we took Amtrak to Chicago, arriving almost ninety minutes late that night. After three days there we took a 9:30 PM train, the Lakeshore Limited, that actually left at 10:30, then arrived the next morning in Cleveland at 9:30, instead of 5:30. Following three days in Cleveland, we boarded the Lakeshore Limited again, a 5:50 AM train that left at 7:10. It arrived thirteen hours later in NYC, about two hours later than its scheduled arrival. In the course of these trips we learned that Amtrak doesn't really own the track its trains ride on, and is thus subject to the schedules of the freight haulers who do own the rails. I love train journeys, but Amtrak makes it really hard to love it at all.