BALTIMORE – The man steps out of the last car of the Amtrak train at the BWI Airport station.
"No loud talking, no cell phones and no fun on my train!" he yells.
I love trains.
Duke is playing in the regional in Washington D.C. Short notice airfare from Charlotte to Washington National was exorbitant for a direct flight, no matter who you rode with, and the one-stops left at 6 a.m. or went to Orlando and rarely got to town in time.
But flying to Baltimore was less than half of a Washington ticket. And there were bonuses.
As I waited for the train I thought that Earl Monroe, the former Baltimore Bullet and my favorite basketball player of all time, might have stood in the same spot.
And I got to ride the rails.
If you grew up in the Northeast, you are familiar with Amtrak. But if you grew up in the Midwest, which I did, and have spent almost half your life in the South, which I have, you might not have a lot of Amtrak experience.
I found a seat next to a window and didn’t speak loudly or talk on my cell phone. But I did have fun. I avoided the often horrendous beltway traffic, got a look at towns I knew little about and, when I wasn’t looking out the window, read the newspaper. The train took me within a mile of my hotel. In light of the difference between the Washington and Baltimore airfare, it was a steal for $17.
In retrospect, I would have taken the train all the way from Charlotte.
If Duke wins, it will play next in Phoenix. I’m the sure the train goes there. If I leave now…