I arrive at Washington Dulles International Airport at 7:55 a.m. ET and immediately check in using the JetBlue self service kiosk. I am not checking my baggage (a laptop case and a backpack) due to the short turn-around time between my flight arrival and train departure.

(I am scheduled to arrive at Long Beach at 12:20 p.m. PT; Amtrak’s Sunset Limited Train No. 2 is scheduled to leave from Union Station in Los Angeles at 2:30 p.m. PT. Originally, the Sunset Limited was scheduled to leave L.A. at 10:30 p.m. PT. However, several months ago – after I had already scheduled my trip – the departure time was moved eight hours earlier, due I’m sure to the fact that the train was chronically late in arriving to its destinations.)

The line through security is fairly long; however, it moves quickly and I make it to my gate at 8:34 a.m. ET. My plane is already at the gate and boarding is scheduled to being at 10 a.m. ET – 30 minutes before the departure time.

While waiting at the gate, I attempt to log on to the Web using my Verizon CDMA 1xEVDO Wireless Internet card, but there is no signal. (I believe this service to be a scam; in numerous locations in Washington, D.C., I am unable to either a). get a signal or b). stay connected for more than a minute.) When I perform a scan of available access points in the airport, “B45” is the only one that comes up and it has WEP security protection.

The plane leaves the gate on time, but the pilot says due to weather (it is overcast and rainy), only two runways are open instead of the customary three and we will be have to wait in line for about 20 minutes before being cleared to take off. We eventually take off at 10:15 a.m. ET. I have a window seat but immediately upon takeoff, the rain and clouds obscure the view.

At 10:48 a.m. CT, we cross the Mississippi River. Using the JetBlue flight tracker, I can see that we cross the river in the Southwest part of Kentucky heading into Arkansas, which ranks as my least favorite state in the U.S. (My dislike for Arkansas is due to a cross-country trip by car two years ago during which Interstate 40 was in poor condition and under construction throughout the entire state, yet mysteriously, it was in fine condition through both Tennessee and Oklahoma on either side.)

Despite the delay during takeoff, the plane arrived on time, around 12:30 p.m. PT. The cab ride from Long Beach to Union Station in Los Angeles took 45 minutes, due to heavy traffic on the freeways, and cost $50. (My plane ticket from Dulles to Long Beach cost $105.)

Surprisingly, my Verizon card works at Union Station and as of 1:30 p.m. PT, my train is on time.