Monday, July 14, 2014

Salt Lake to Colorado! On the Amtrak!

I made it to the Hotel now, I have some time to kill so I am updating he blog.  I will insert my writing from the train though.

The last time I took a train was a train to Chicago in 1982.  The whole family packed up and took one of the last trains from Duluth, Minnesota to Chicago, Illinois before the service was suspended.  The overall purpose of the trip was to not only get the opportunity to take a train ride, but also to go to the Chicago Boat show.  My dad had, (and still technically does have) a marine electronics business so it was a tax write off for all of us to pack up on a train and spend a few days in Chicago. 
Now, 32 years later I am on a train, bound for Chicago.  A place I have not spent a night in six years, and I actively try to spend as little time in the vicinity of as physically possible.  But since there is still a massive surcharge on taking flights to Duluth I have decided, despite the inconvenience, I am going to take a train to Chicago.
Now I am rolling.  Making progress to the East.  Currently it is 3:30 in the morning and the train just finished boarding in Salt Lake City.  It is dark, only the light of the computer screen and the lights off the buildings outside to light up the car.  The sun is going to come up in about three hours so I really should get some sleep, but I have to get the feeling that I am moving first.
The train rocks gently side to side, and there are incessant squeaks that come from the vicinity of the couplers and where there are passages from one train car to the next.  As the train accelerates the rhythm changes.  It sounds remotely like being in a cheap hotel with paper thin walls next to a couple on their honeymoon.
Maybe that is what they talk about when they speak of the romance of the train.  Every once in a while the train goes over a bad joint in the track and you get a shudder.  Still a far better ride than riding in the infamous turtle.  But annoying in its own way. 
The nice thing is that the travel is incessant.  The train just keeps moving.  I could see how someone could really get some writing done on one of these rides from one end of the continent to the other.  Someday I may even try it.  The seats are comfortable.  The kids are all sleeping.  Amazingly no one is snoring.  I think I may be on to something here.
There is the issue that I was hoping for wifi, and as of right now I have found no such luxury.  I am dead as far as it goes for connecting to the interwebs and updating the blog.  Maybe later when the sun comes up I will ask one of the attendants about it.  Right now I should really look at getting some sleep.  I intend to sleep during the day when I am travelling across some excruciatingly mind-numbing place, like Nebraska.  But I have been awake for the last 20 hours and a little shut eye would do me good.
The next morning…
From what I can tell we are still in Utah.  There is still a lack of wifi.  This has two effects.  First I can’t upload my information for all of my adoring fans.  Second, I can write my material to its natural conclusion and I am not rushing to publish.  The end result is that you end up getting a more complete and thoughtful product.
Went to breakfast.  Not exciting, but not bad.  They try to make sure that they are not going to run out of seats in the dining car by stacking people together in groups.  Ended up sharing a booth with the rainbow gathering guy who is heading back to Denver that I had met in Salt Lake and another person named Jeff who is heading to Chicago.
Now that I think about it the breakfast was kind of what I expect nursing home food to be like.  Bland, not exciting, and readily digestible.  Considering the general proportion of geriatrics, it only makes sense.
As the train keeps rolling along I noticed that it got rather chilly during the night, now that the sun is coming up that problem is rectifying itself.  We have just made a quick stop in Green River.   There was apparently one person who was supposed to depart in Green River.  It is also last call for breakfast.  And now after about five minutes we are rolling again.  Rolling very slowly that is.
The train that I am on is running on time.  Which is amazing without Moussalini to boss them around.  The West bound train was running about eight hours late as the result of having to detour around a derailed Burlington Northern train somewhere along the tracks.
Just talked to one of the attendants, apparently there is no wifi available on the long distance trains.  There goes any hope of this being a viable transportation method in the future.  36 hours without wifi?  What is a guy to do?  I guess I will just have to keep on writing and hoping that I don’t run into any ideas that I need to research along the way.
The one nice thing is that the train tracks go where the train tracks go.  They do not parallel the freeways and as a result, when I look out the windows I see nothing.  There are some telegraph lines, and there are buttes, canyons, cliffs, and enough sedimentary rocks to choke a wookie.  But there is no evidence of human settlement.  Of course, unless you were running away from something or someone, why would you end up out here?
One of my goals for this transverse of the United States is to take pictures of shitty little towns, and broken down rusted shacks along the rails.  I am hoping that the sun makes its transverse as well.  It is coming in the windows on my side of the train and giving me a nasty amount of glare.  Very hard to shoot through.
Looking out the windows on the other side of the train I can see the freeway.  Maybe I was lucky enough to pick the side of the train that does not stare out at traffic the whole way.  We are still rolling across what I believe to be Utah, it is still boring as all hell.  I am kind of hoping to see grain elevators and the like once we get into a part of the country that can actually support agriculture.  Believe it or not I am actually looking forward to it.
Not including what is in my camera now, I have taken 2849 pictures so far on this trip.  Rockin!
We just stopped in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Marijuana is legal here.  Sorry kids, did not partake, just not my thing.  I am taking pictures along the way, still sedimentary rocks as far as the eye can see.  That and muddy rivers.

While I am sitting here I am also doing some larger writing projects.  Already did four pages for one blog, and that is before I start adding the pictures.  I also wrote a short piece on contrails that I am sure to be adding more to as the time goes by.  I am stuck on this train for the next 27 hours. This should be interesting.
Waiting for the train at three in the morning.

Only theoretically are there Amtrak trains over there.

It shows up!  On time!  Which is apparently a challenge.

Actually I was near there, but it caught my eye.

Ghostbusters?

Cheap rent available...

Grand Junction is that big?

Clouds and strat...

I see some fresh Q on the side there...

Just some sexy strat...

Just a nice view...  Considering I was shooting through the windows I am surprised this came out as well as it did.

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