I opened my eyes around 6:30. I shut them again...and didn't open them until quarter after 8. Having gotten a later start than planned, I settled for reading a couple of short stories from the Disney Storybookland anthology, a Paddington vacation-themed short story Paddington On the Road, and two American Girl Molly short stories.
In Paddington On the Road, the Browns are on vacation in a charming French village. The big excitement is the Tour de France bicycle race passing through. Paddington wants to join the race, so he borrows an old tricycle, cleans it up, and enters with the others. His inexperience with bikes and fixing them shows when he goes downhill...and can't stop...
Molly MacEntyre had two summer-themed short stories in the 90's. Molly Takes Flight introduces her grandparents and Aunt Eleanor. Her young aunt has joined the WASPs, the female flight corps in the Air Force. Molly's upset about losing her aunt's attention, until she shows her the joys of flying.
Molly Marches On takes us to Camp Gowanigan, the setting for Molly Saves the Day. All the new campers are going on a hiking trip that ends with a special surprise. Tired of their noise and wanting to prove she's as good at blazing trails as her heroine Sacajawea, Molly and her friend Susan go off on their own. They never do get to the surprise, but they do find an equally lovely one of their own.
Put on an episode of The Backyardigans as I ate breakfast and packed my laptop and the attendant wires and mouse. Pablo is "Le Master of Disguise," a suspicious little character who can quick-change into anyone. Inspector Austin follows him onto the Orient Express. With shady passengers like Conductor Uniqua, Cowboy Tyrone, and Circus Performer Tasha on board, it's going to be tough for Austin to track down the crafty penguin.
Switched to Strawberry Shortcake In Big Apple City as I finished packing my luggage and the kitchen. Strawberry is off to the big city as one of the two finalists in a televised bake-off. The Purple Pie Man is the other, and he'll do everything he can to make sure Strawberry doesn't win. Good thing she makes a lot of new friends who help her out, including eventual series regulars Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue.
Made a really quick run to WaWa for more money. I was glad I'd be spending most of the day on the train. While warmer than yesterday, it was also back to being sunny, hazy, and humid. I kept my ride short - went in, used the ATM, went out.
Hastily made a tuna and tomato sandwich and gathered snacks while running a few shorts. The Three Stooges become "A Pain In the Pullman" when their monkey gets loose on a train and wrecks havoc and they can't get into their upper berth. Their noise upsets a pompous singer who demands they either quiet down or be thrown off.
Mickey Mouse has a similar problem with pets on trains in "Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip." He has to sneak Pluto on-board and past Conductor Pete. Pluto, however, isn't as small as a monkey and can't be hidden as easily. The two do their best to dodge the kitty conductor and still make it to their destination.
It took me so long to get organized, I still wasn't ready when Dad arrived. Thankfully, we had no problems once we got on the road. Dad even drove me to Cherry Hill in his beautiful early 60's Mustang convertible. Despite the warmth, it did really feel nice, with the wind in my hair. A couple of people on the White Horse Pike (including a man in an orange Mustang from the later 60's) leaned out and complimented Dad on his awesome car.
Once I got to the Cherry Hill Train Platform behind Shop Rite, it was smooth sailing. The trains to Philadelphia and Albany were right on time. The one to New York was slightly late, but nothing outrageous. Only the car going to Albany was full. The other two were barely half-full. I shared my seat going to Albany with a young businessman in a gray suit who watched videos on his cell phone the entire ride. 30th Street Station wasn't too crazy. Penn Station was, but their new digital monitors did help somewhat.
I love the view going to Albany. All you see on the trips to Philly and New York are wetlands, graffiti, junk yards, and suburbs. The Albany line earns it's name "Lake Shore Limited." The tracks passed shining lakes with tiny sailboats bobbing along, lacy bridges, massive green mountains, and lots of lovely old mansions and fascinating decaying factories. It's really beautiful.
Met Lauren and her parents Mr. and Mrs. Miller at the Albany-Rensslauer Station. We had dinner at a really nice Italian place about 15 minutes from their house, Mario's Restaurant. They were so busy, we ate outside...which suited us just fine. Not only was it quieter outside, but the view of the holyhocks and roses planted in front of the porch and the classic mid-century pop piped in was far more relaxing. Even the waitresses were happier to serve us - they could hear us give them our orders!
Mrs. Miller and I ended up having big squares of lasagna. Lauren had Veal Parmesan. Mr. Miller had Veal Oliver (veal with seafood sauce). I ate Mr. Miller's broccoli - he's not a fan of broccoli. I had chocolate mousse for dessert. Mrs. Miller's choice was a chocolate-covered cherry-vanilla gelato. Her husband opted for cinnamon crunch ice cream. Lauren loves raspberries - she went with chocolate raspberry mousse cake. We all had crusty bread, beans in olive oil, and iced tea. It was expensive, but very, very tasty. Our waitress was really sweet, too. She said she'd worked there for 39 years and had lots of experience.
I'm bushed from traveling for 7 hours. It's probably just as well that our only plans for tomorrow are a trip to a flea market in Lauren's area that only happens on Sundays.