I was invited to stay at John’s cottage on Drakes Island in Wells, Maine, in May, 2015.

Always a fun time, it’s been, more or less, a quasi-annual pilgrimage since the 70s. I’ve been going up there since my sophomore or junior year of college.

I usually fly up to Boston or Portland from Tampa. Even driven it once or twice. But I’d always wanted to try taking Amtrak. Never did a long-distance train trek. So…why not?

So, I hopped the northbound Amtrak train to Penn Station out of Orlando. Simple plan: John would meet me at the station, we’d walk the few blocks to the Port Authority, grab a C&J bus to Portsmouth, NH. Rent a car. And, if all worked out right, we’d be at the cottage in time for a late dinner.

The train ended up being three and a half hours late arriving in Manhattan. Our bus was halfway to New Hampshire before I was even able to retrieve my checked bag. It was only later that I got a call from My Attorney and was told that the train right behind mine had derailed in Philadelphia, with scores of people killed and injured.

Coulda been me.

Missing the bus, in retrospect? Not a big deal.

We eventually got to the cottage in Maine. Had fun. Ate well. Drank plenty. And took some cool photos, at least from my perspective.

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