Nice Segway

There was a special event going on at Wrightsville Beach this weekend.  I didn’t know about it until Joy called me at work to tell me that they’d mentioned it on NPR.  So, I changed away from my plan to go surfing.

At 0-dark-thirty, Saturday we hopped in the old truck and headed to the Raleigh train station.  We took some pictures of the Raleigh skyline from the track side of the depot while we waited for them to unlock the doors at 6 a.m.  As soon as the doors were unlocked, we made our first entrance into an Amtrak station in eager anticipation of our first Amtrak train ride.  The train actually backed into the station after turning around just out of sight down the tracks.

There had been a group of rowdy elementary-age children that had rousted us out of the station to wait for our train by the tracks and I admit some concern about riding for three hours with them.  However, they were well-behaved on the train and the trip was quite fun.  While trains let you see the back side of urban areas they also let you see the hidden side of rural areas and small towns.  It was surprising how quickly the three hours passed.

Arriving at the sad little station in Charlotte, we walked across the street to Stop 11 and rode the bus to town.  The Charlotte Transport Center is in the heart of Uptown Charlotte.  We watched the preparations for a big bicycle race and took pictures of Charlotte’s skyscrapers, pubs, fountains, and public sculptures.  We ate a pleasant lunch at Libretto’s in the multi-story Epicenter outdoor mall. Joy heard the waitress tell a patron who had written “Hottie” on his ticket that she was the mother of five children and worked nights and weekends.  For someone blessed with the responsibility to support and care for five kids, she was amazingly chipper, friendly, and efficient.  The food was good and quickly served.  We both enjoyed hot Italian hoagies and a side salad.

We then walked down to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  Across the street was the Segway tours starting point operated by Charlotte NC Tours.  Now, friends if you can stand for an hour and a half, I’m going to tell you to listen closely here, because you are going to want to do what we did.  In a few minutes, Rod showed us how to operate our Segways and then he led us in a reign of Segway terror on the poor city of Charlotte as we buzzed one fun locale after another.  Within seconds of Joy getting on one, Rod told her that he could tell she was going to be a natural.  Within minutes we were espousing our wishes to buy a couple of these things.  Segways are cool.

We visited the green that is frozen for ice skating at Christmas, has whimsical Alice-in-Wonderland seating, a great fountain for kids to splash safely in the water, and signposts to a variety of the world’s other cities named Charlotte.  I want one of the condos that looks out over the green.

We saw several more of the city’s sculptures, parks, and venues for sports and culture.  We even saw a competition where young men launched themselves into the air and performed tricks on BMX bikes.  We even visited the classy (and pricey) historic residential Fourth Ward.  This pastoral neighborhood is walking distance to the modern center of uptown Charlotte and my favorite part of the tour.  Imagine a slice of Charleston, SC dropped onto the city.

The other two people on the tour arrived late and we circled back for them.  This resulted in our tour lasting for 2 1/2 instead of 1 1/2 hours.  Okay by us.  But by the time we drug our tails back to the Charlotte Transport Center we were thoroughly wiped out.  Bus ride back to the train.  How sweet to just lean our spacious seat back and relax as we rode the train for three hours back to Raleigh.  Neither of us would have had the energy to drive.  Thank goodness we had Sunday to recup at the Lake.

Hopefully I’ll have video of our Segway tour finished tonight if we don’t go to the lake.


  • Gayla says:

    So are Segway tours not usually available there? I wasn’t clear what the special event was. I see them in DC all of the time and have never seen anyone have a problem with them, but figure, if there is a problem to have, I would be the one to have it. They do look very cool, and with my bad feet I would probably love it, in spite of the tourists I would most likely mow down.

  • Tom says:

    The special event was that Wrightsville Beach was being used to take folks with spinal injuries surfing. In order to stay out of the way, we changed our plans and rode the train to Charlotte (first Amtrak ride) and then toured the city on Segways (also a first for us). Segways are easy to ride and can slow to the pace of the most pokey pedestrian. But it is quite fun to hit an open stretch and “zoom” up to about 12 mph.

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