It was still cloudy and muggy when I got up, but I was too excited to be gloomy! I finished my packing before I even had breakfast. Loaded up the laptop and wires, cell phone re-charger, deodorant, and journal.
Even with all that, I had time to do some reading. Josefina Saves the Day when the young American trader who took her family's mules and woven blankets in exchange for goods doesn't come back with the things he promised. Josefina and her sister Francesca make a scary night's excursion to a local church to find the items and prove that the American lad isn't a fraud.
Molly gets her own chance to be a heroine in Molly Saves the Day. Her camp is taking part in a "Color War," where one side has to capture the other's flag. Molly and her friend Susan aren't happy when they're on the opposite sides from their other buddy Linda. Susan's poor canoeing skills get them lost...but it also reveals that their group has been captured. Can they save their fellow campers, without losing Linda's friendship?
Dug up three short stories from two anthologies. The Grand Canyon from the 60's story collection Disney's America takes Donald and Mickey down into the famous cliffs. Mickey ends up braving the rapids to rescue Donald after he falls off his burro. Donald Duck In Disneyland has Don chasing after his nephews from the Tomorrowland Autopia (Speedway) to Peter Pan's Flight. Paddington Bear also takes to the road when he repairs a tricycle in the hopes of joining the Tour De France passing through the French village he and the Browns are visiting....but his breaks come off just as he's going downhill...
Watched an episode of The Backyardigans when I did finally get around to my cereal and Italian plums. Pablo is "Le Master of Disguise," a clever little fellow who can pass himself off as anyone. Lieutenant Austin of the Paris Police chases him onto the Orient Express. Now he has to sort through the passengers on the train to find him, but with suspects like Conductor Uniqua, Circus Performer Tasha, and Cowboy Tyrone on board, it won't be easy!
Took a walk to WaWa after breakfast to pick up at least some money for the week. The weather may not be nice to look at, but it's sure done the local yards a service. Everything is much greener than it was just a week ago. Lawns are overgrown; the first fall flowers glow orange and yellow.
It was only around quarter after 9 when I arrived. WaWa was still busy with the last of the morning rush hour. I used the ATM machine, then bought a small turkey hoagie for lunch. I figured it would be quicker than trying to make a sandwich (I was almost late getting downstairs last year because it took me forever to make lunch) and cheaper than buying anything from the restaurants at the train stations.
Ran a couple of cartoons when I got back and started to pack up my lunch and snacks. Garfield In Hollywood takes the fat cat and his owner and dog buddy to Tinseltown after they win a talent contest. Garfield wants to take home the big prize and become a star, but Jon's worried that winning may mean leaving him behind.
We head to a fruity Manhattan in Strawberry Shortcake In Big Apple City. Strawberry's also the finalist in a contest, this one a bake-off. The Peculiar Purple Pie Man is the other finalist, and he'll do anything to make sure Strawberry's entry doesn't make it on the air. Good thing Strawberry meets a lot of new friends who help her out, including eventual series regulars Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue.
Did one last Donald Duck short as I walked around the apartment and made sure I had everything. "Grand Canyonscope," as you can guess from the title, was Disney's second venture into widescreen processes. Don's on his own this time, riding another recalcitrant burro on a tour with J. Audubon Woodlore (of the Humphrey the Bear shorts). It's Don who ends up dodging an angry mountain lion when Woodlore bothers him in his cave.
Dad picked me up at 11. As it turns out, his worries about traffic were unfounded. We ran into no traffic whatsoever anywhere on the road. They'd just reopened the ramp that leads to 30th Street this morning. He dropped me off there within fifteen minutes.
I took advantage of the extra time to eat my hoagie at the smooth green metal tables in the back of the food court. Philadelphia's 30th Street Station is a gorgeous Art Deco barn that more closely resembles the lobby of a luxury hotel than a train station. I feel more elegant just walking around in there. Hurricane Florence's wrath was easily seen in the flipping schedule in the center of the main room. Anything going north of Virginia was on time...but the trains heading further south to Miami and New Orleans were flat-out cancelled.
For possibly the first time since I started these trips, I had absolutely no problems at any of the stations. The trains to New York and Albany were right on schedule. Penn Station was busy, but nothing out of the ordinary, especially for a Friday afternoon. There was plenty of room on the Northeast Regional train to New York. The Lake Shore Limited train to Albany was full. I shared the seat with a husky young man who spent the entire three and a half hour trip playing some game on Nintendo Switch.
Lauren and her folks picked me up at the Albany-Rensslauer Station. We had dinner at Mario's Restaurant, the same fancy Italian place we ate at on my first night last year. It was quiet enough for us to eat inside this time, with a nice view of the back parking lot and the woods beyond it. Mr. and Mrs. Miller had Veal Oliver (veal in seafood sauce) with vegetables. Lauren had glazed salmon with vegetables and potatoes. I had a yummy brook trout with tomatoes, Swiss chard, and salty browned butter gnocchi (round pasta dumplings). Lauren's folks had creme brulee for dinner - Mr. Miller without the raspberries his wife requested more of. Lauren had a "smores" - graham cracker ice cream with a bar of chocolate-covered mousse and toasted marshmallow puffs - that looked amazing. My coconut ice cream was made in the restaurant and even came with a biscotti with candied ginger pieces.
Lauren and I are now at her house, chatting downstairs in her room. Tomorrow, we're going to check out an estate sale, then head east to the Holyoke Mall in Springfield.