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Posts Tagged ‘railroad’

Train Travel: A Very Moving Experience

In America there is no Orient Express. I call it the Occidental Express. That’s Occidental, not Accidental – if you’re oriented properly.

Nowadays they just call me crazy to my face. And why? Maybe it’s because I enthusiastically purchased a $480 one-way AMTRAK ticket for me and my wife on a scheduled 26 hour 36 minute journey from Reno to Denver – a ticket that would cost half as much and take 24 fewer hours if we were to travel by air. You remember AMTRAK don’t you? They’re the ones that use those bright and shiny, parallel metal thingies we all drive over at railroad crossings. Oh, how quickly we forget. For 100 years these track-borne conveyances (often referred to as “trains” if I remember correctly) were this country’s life blood – connecting people and businesses in a generative web of travel and commerce. It was the original World Wide Web. The World Wide Web of wailwoading. Railroading’s antique charms beguile me. Though you may have relegated train travel to the dust bin of history, I have elevated train travel to the must spin of this-story.  

If life is about the journey, this is a journey I long to take. Think of it as the road less traveled. The rail road less traveled. As Robert Frost wrote with such evocative homespun eloquence in his poem The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

And I am eager to take that road less traveled – the railroad. Read the rest of this entry »

Railroad Time Zones: A Case Study in the Greater Good?

Early depiction of Time Zones or Belts as they were called in 1883. Better for you than Toaster Streudel and less confusing that a Thursday Night edition of Monday Night Football.

Early depiction of Time Zones or “Time Belts” as they were called upon their introduction in 1883. Eventually citizens found them less confusing than a Thursday Night edition of Monday Night Football.

Ogg returned to the cave and proudly presented his proto-wife with the spoils for the day – a scrawny pterodactyl. She cast one withering glance at his meager bounty and huffed, “You call that hunting and gathering? You’re all hunt and no gather. Would it kill you to gather some berries once in a while?”

In a similar way I return from my writing desk and hope to present you with more than a scrawny bird-brained essay to chew on, lest you cast one withering glance at my meager typing and huff, “You call that hunting and pecking? You’re all hunt and no pecker. Would it kill you to gather your thoughts once in a while?”

My speculation here is extravagant. Not only in assuming prehistoric man spoke English, but in assuming readers are interested in an essay that tries to bypass the usual clichés of “Life being about the journey” and instead suggests an even less appealing theme: “If everyone behaved more like me, the world would be a better place.” Read the rest of this entry »