A few weekends ago, Doc and I gathered up some of our friends, hopped on the Amtrak train, and headed to New Orleans for the weekend. Have you ever ridden on the Amtrak? I love it. If it didn't take so long, I would definitely choose it over air flights anytime. The seats are a lot bigger and much more comfy. You don't have an assigned seat. There are no seat belts. You can walk around anytime. There's a dining cart and a lounge cart or you can bring your own cooler. And the bathrooms aren't that bad. Much better than a plane, right?
Side note: I was terrified of going to the bathroom the first time I rode the train (about a year ago). Someone told me that you "went" right on the tracks, as in you could see them when you looked down at the toilet. I was so afraid that a rock would be thrown up by a wheel and hit my hiney. Or worse, that I'd be able to see what the person in the restroom next to me was doing. What if there was splashing? Ew. I can safely assure you, though, that this is not true. There is nothing to be afraid of in the bathroom; the toiled looks just like an airplane toilet and you can't see the railroad tracks.
While the train is super fun and a comfortable ride, we did run into one negative aspect on this trip. There is a draw bridge on the route to New Orleans and if the draw bridge decides not to work and gets stuck in the up position, that means the train can't go. And we get stuck in Hammond, Louisiana for a few hours.
You know what you should do if you're spending the afternoon in Hammond, LA (population 17,639)? You should get off the train, stretch your legs, make friends with the random person selling frozen daquiris, and sit back and enjoy the beautiful day!
And if sitting back and sipping on daquiris isn't your thing, you can just flex your muscles and show everyone how manly you are.
Maybe I should back up a little and give some introductions. These are our new friends, Chris and Allison.
Chris was sweet enough to go pick Allison a pretty flower. He said he got one for me too, but as he handed it to me, the flower fell right off the stem and landed at my feet.
So I'm not sure how long that friendship's going to last. They're still in a probationary period.
This is Jenny and Darrin.
Here they looked all happy-go-lucky but really, Darrin's a little nervous and Jenny has no idea the excitement that's in store for her later in the day.
Charlie's the other friend pictured with the guys. His wife, Sarah, was sound asleep on the train after a long flight in from LA the night before. Charlie hooked us up with the daquiris but Sarah missed all of good ol' Hammond, LA.
And last, but certainly not least, is my husband, Doc.
He makes Hammond, LA look good, doesn't he? :)
After a two-hour delay, the whistle finally blew and we were back on the train and leaving Hammond behind.
New Orleans greeted us with a parade outside our hotel. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera ready so you'll have to take my word for it.
After quickly getting cleaned up, we headed out to dinner together. Jenny and Darrin were running behind so they were going to meet us at the restaurant. We walked a few blocks, waited our turn, and were finally seated at our table at Ralph and Kacoo's. Just as we were getting ready to order, Jenny and Darrin arrived...and look at what was on her hand!
Isn't it beautiful?! Turns out, they had left the hotel early and gone for a carriage ride. Midway through the ride, Darrin asked Jenny to be his wife.
It didn't take long for us to order champagne and start celebrating! Yay, engagement! Yay, love!
I left my camera at the hotel so I didn't get pictures of the newly engaged couple, but luckily, Allison had hers. You can see pictures from dinner on her blog right here.
I did, however, have my camera with me aaaaall day long on Saturday, so there are lots more pictures to come!