Summer is officially upon us, we can tell from the crowds on the Port Jervis trains and the traffic on the roads. When and if the weather cooperates, we all benefit. A typical Friday holiday evening train ride home starts with the loading of the gear. Folks who travel the rails to the Upper Delaware Valley need to pack for every type of adventure or condition: blistering sun, rain and the occasional snow shower. We have seen tightly packed hikers willing to rough it for the weekend, to families up to visit the grandparents packed for an ocean voyage. Cyclists need to make sure they are on an early train with their cycles and gear, or they will wait for hours until after rush hour and more than likely arrive in the dark.
A very noisy group of friends boarded our car and one petite girl caring a backpack, purse and rolling suitcase found her seat and attempted to load her luggage in the overhead rack as instructed by the conductor. As she attempted for the third time to move her suitcase, a loud gasp was heard in the car as she began to fall backwards. Seeing this as a disaster for the surrounding passengers, a number of passengers quickly stood up to help or face the consequence. When she was asked why she packed so much for the weekend, she replied “I need my stuff,” in an aggravated tone. Some stuff indeed.
Mayhem is the best way to describe the Port Jervis station on a summer Friday night. To be exact: more cars than spaces, craning heads looking for friends and loved ones, pet dogs barking, taxi cabs vying for a fare, travelers hoping that their rides received their message in the “no reception zone” after the Middletown station. Everyone is in a rush to go nowhere. Commuters resign themselves to lingering on the train and letting the crowd pass by. Sooner or later, one of the regular conductors comes on board to announce “all clear,” and we commuters depart. The train crew wants to go home, too. This is rush hour; by the time this all transpires, there is another train waiting to enter the station, rinse, wash and repeat.
Ah, this is the summer for not only the rail passengers but the entire Upper Delaware Valley. We locals welcome our summer guests, my families and friends included. They will come this year by trains, planes and automobiles as usual. This year we will see an additional influx to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival.
I for one welcome all the events of summer, especially this year. We plan to make a special point of visiting all the doves of the Dovetrail set up in the county, as I am sure will others. The one piece of advice I can give is to please, everyone, slow down and watch out for the other guy. Plan your shopping trips early, expect extra delays on the roads and crowds at the farmers’ markets and other events. I say the more the merrier; let’s make it a summer of safe road trips.