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Published: June 15th 2013
WARNING FOR THE AREA: Tornados, Thunderstorms, flash flooding
This broadcast to us on the 8 am news this morning. I really, really don't want to get wet ... we opted to stay here for the day after speaking with hotel staff who listen to these warnings.
We love city transit, what a great way to see any town we are visiting, as well as the diversity of locals riding along with us. Charlottesville, we learned, is a small town of 53,000, half of which is comprised of University of Virginia students. The university is definitely the of the town, conceived and designed by Thomas Jefferson. The campus buildings stand tall and proud in red brick, with large white columns flanking most of the buildings' entrances. Lush greenery amid narrow roads, through which the university's own transit system runs, encompasses most of the campus. Sports of course are of the utmost inportance, and the campus houses a dozen immaculate, pristine tennis courts, and a stadium that rivals in size and quality, BC Place. As we rode the bus, we saw many student jogging either shirtless or in bra tops and the shortest shorts you can buy, in 34 degree humidity.
I don't know how they do it! We can hardly stand to just walk around!
Downtown Charlottetown is beautiful. Brick buildings everywhere. In the heart of the city is a pedestrian mall on Main Street, with several blocks of stores, restaurants and seating areas in the centre of the walkway. Business was bustling. If Victoria would only do this with Government Street! It was a fantastic area to people watch while enjoying a latte, and shop without the interference of traffic.
On a whim after seeing an Amtrak station downtown, we jumped off the bus and deciced to see if there was a local train going somewhere for something to do. Here's how it played out:
Get off bus
Walk one block
Look up, black sky
Raindrop on head
Walk 10 ft
10 raindrops on head
Walk 50 ft to start of train station parking lot, size of Oak Bay Safeway parking lot
Full on rain shower
Start to run
Running as fast as we can
Rains as hard as it can
absolutely drenched in the 15 seconds it took to run across the parking lot. We have never witnessed a downpour as torrential and intense as today - likened to someone aiming a hose at us at full blast with warm water - that's how heavy it was. We took a pummeling.
And then to add insult to injury in the train station where 5 staff members were idly hovering around:
Ian: Hi, can you tell if there are any trains coming through here in the next hour? We thought we might like to take a short trip somewhere for lunch, returning later on for something to do right now?
Counter Girl: OK, let me get the schedule for you's (welcome to the south)
Counter Girl: (Opens up poster-sized schedule and takes a minute to get her bearings upside down). Yes, we have two trains that come through here: the first is at 8:05 am, the next at 8:30 am, both go east. Then they come back this way at 6:05 pm and 6:30 pm
Ian: (so that would be a longwinded no?). Thanks. Do you mind if we wait inside the station
until the downpour stops?
Nice idea, pity it didn't work out.
I can see now why the flashflood warnings are issued. Within those 5 minutes, the roads and parking lots had streams running down them. Wet and warm at least, we retreated back to the hotel on the bus!
The thunderstorms hit around 5 pm with a great show of lightning. GLAD WE'RE INSIDE!
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Have you 'zoomed out' on your ll Google Maps lately? I just did and it looks like you are now about even with San Francisco. At this rate, you will hit Miami before Victoria! I continue to ride with you but, with your lengthy detours, our deal about sharing gas is now off. Continue to journey safely. J