The story behind a song

Tonight’s blog is bought to you care of a workmate yesterday, who knowing my love of most things American, asked me if there was actually a midnight train to Georgia, as in the song? So fine, I took a look this morning, knowing there were all sorts of long distance trains on Amtrak, that there might be one, somewhere. In fact, no there isnt, and nowadays at least (and reputedly wasnt in the 70’s) there is no train direct from Los Angeles to Georgia anyway. The closest at the moment that I could find, was the overnight Silver Meteor train which calls at Rocky Mount, North Carolina at 11.50 pm, and gets to Savannah, Georgia at 6.34 in the morning. Mind, it might have left a few nights at midnight, but anyway…lol!

And no, the train from Los Angeles to New Orleans, from where you could, in theory, connect to a train to Atlanta, leaves at 9.00 pm on the nights that it runs anyway! So clearly, no is the answer.

The thing is, when you dig into these matters on the internet, you find all sorts of intriguing information. As in, in this case, that wasnt the original name of the song! It was, as I will prove shortly, originally called ‘Midnight Plane to Houston’, and yes, they have existed in the past! Not sure if there is a current one, with all the night flying regulations we have now, but back then…there was!

Seemingly, what happened was that some artists came along, who wanted to tweak the title to something different, and a new title was born! The fact that said train never existed, mere technicality lol! So yes, the next time you hear Gladys Knight, or Cissy Houston singing that song, just remember it wasnt always about a train to Georgia, but a plane to a whole different state.

Fine, you want proof? Here you go, the Country version, as sung by the songs writer, Jim Weatherley. Sorry, unsurprisingly, no live video!

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Going down to San Diego

Yes, one day next month, I plan to take the opposite route to the Chargers, and go down to San Diego, from LA. I will be doing it by train, unlike most people related to the Chargers, who I’m sure would do the journey by plane.

I must admit, in terms of travelling distances like this, I prefer to do it by train, than plane, because you get to see some scenery. Oh, and fine, people watching is always fun too. Having never been south of LA, going down the California coast by train, should make for an interesting journey. Fine, the coming back, after dark may not be as much fun, but will make for a good experience, I’m sure, regardless. In terms of a couple of my US journeys by train, this will be a short hop! That is because previously I’ve travelled from Seattle to Philadelphia and back, about 14 years ago, with 2 changes going (Chicago/Pittsburgh), and 1 (Chicago) coming back. So yes, about 3 hours, as opposed to nearly 3 days…piece of cake!

No, I’m not going down to San Diego to convince the Chargers to stay, or audition for the Padres baseball team, but to meet someone for the first time! Yes, one of those Facebook friends moments! I’ll be fine, she likes Powell, Loy and Harlow lol! I dont know, is it an actress thing, that meeting people you only vaguely know for the first time doesnt really bother me? Given what I know about her, in all honesty, I’m certain it will be a very entertaining 6 hours or so, for sure!

Oh, and she’s a witch, so whether I will be travelling on that train home, or Jean Harlow will, I have no idea. I’m not sure if magic spells are really that good, in truth. I suspect it might be easier to change me into my past life self actress, Clara Johnson, now that would be fun. Not sure how she would react to modern lifestyles, mind!

But yes, 2 more delights to look forward to, next month, in California.

Right, video moment! One of those You Tube search issues, I put the name of the city in, and it found this. I do remember the group, though this song is only from last year, sounds fine to me.

Riding on the bus

And by that, I dont mean the public transit service around the towns, and cities on both sides of the Atlantic, though its a reasonably well known fact that generally I think the public transit service in the big cities, in the US, knocks ours for 6, both in terms of prices, and generally reliability too.

But in the US, long distance travel is a whole different ball game! Yes, if you have the inclination, flying between the major cities in America isnt too much of a challenge either. But you try to get from ‘smaller point’ A, to ‘smaller point’ B, and apart from the main coastal strips, it becomes a whole different challenge.

I know, most people wanting to get from those bigger cities, well, its still cheaper, and quicker to fly between the 2 points (even with a change of flight) than it is to travel long distance by train, or by bus, but all the options are generally there.

I mentioned it at the time I visited, but do you know the extent of public transit, into Cherryvale, Kansas? For passengers, pretty much zero! Freight trains, yes, but passenger trains, sorry…

Anyway, to get to the point. Medium distance travel, for non drivers.

I’ve actually crossed America, and back, by train. Fine, the last stretch from Philadelphia, to Atlantic City came about 6 years after the rest, but I’ve done it. And yes, you dont measure the journey time in minutes, or indeed hours, more like days! I liked Amtrak, though admittedly, I havent needed to use it since that day I completed that epic trip, back in 2009.

But, when people in the US talk about taking the bus, they dont mean the service bus into the city centre, they mean riding the coach, the Greyhound bus, to be exact.

Me, despite all my trips to the US, never done that. I’ve generally been in one city, or I’ve travelled with Kate, by car. And yes, I’ve seen ‘the bus’ a few times, I must admit. But now…

I’ve told you already about a friend, who is planning to hypnotise me, if we can get together on this trip. I’m pretty certain if he gets hold of my mind, not only will I look (a bit) like Jean Harlow, I’ll think I’m her too! Just one snag, I’ll be in Albany, NY, he’s near Manchester, NH (fine, not THAT close) but I cant give too much away…about 200 miles apart.

Over here, between those 2 points (both reasonably large cities), you’d probably have a number of coaches in a day, connecting them, either directly, or with one change. Today, I looked to see how practical getting to him would be. Albany, to the connecting point, yes, fine, plenty of choices. From there, to err, near Manchester, just one! Early evening going north, very early morning coming back south. Thats it!

Why, because most people drive, of course! Except, little old me! The fare (even Thanksgiving week, so I suspect it might be more than normal, is pretty reasonable. The number of services though…

So, to visit him, be hypnotised, do my past life regression, and become Jean Harlow for a while at least, becomes a logistical challenge. Lets see, the only way to do it, go up on the Monday afternoon/evening, stay overnight, then have my mind ‘played with’ on the Tuesday. Then the first chance to come back, is Wednesday morning, at the unearthly hour of 6.40 am! And we’d to leave his town before then, to get to that point anyway!

Of course, he might turn me into Jean-bot, and I never return, but somehow…lol.

So I might at last, get to ride ‘the bus’, or I might not, we will see. But I do wish the US had a decent long distance coach service like we do over here.

The only song I could immediately think of, that mentions Greyhound buses, was this one. So sue me, its Simon and Garfunkel, so I’m biased!