Jan 23, 2016

Time travel

In January I (Ana) traveled the slowest way possible to Arizona - via rail. Slowest but quite possibly the most relaxing and scenic way also. I like to think of it as time travel because you see the world in a different way and it feels like it can't possibly be 2016. In Chicago the ride begins at 3PM through the industrial rail yards. Not much to see. Here are some pictures of what rolled by my window in the next 30 hours.


A couple hours are spent in the boring parts of Illinois and Iowa and then it gets dark and one sleeps through the plains (with aid of some Bourbon, for sure, to help with sleeping in a seat).
Upon rising, we were about in Lamar Colorado. Luckily I have a short wave radio for emergency transmissions and also non-emergency NPR listening along the way (above). This is a great time for the "Observation Car" - stretch your legs and look out the big windows.
The train ride is interesting because you see things you don't on other routes. For example this part of Colorado reminds me not at all of the Rocky Mountains.
The terrain starts feeling more like high desert soon.
It's high desert with a touch of the West, and mountains off in the distance (above).
Just rolling through some small towns. Snow accumulation is starting to pick up.
One of my favorite towns we stop in is Raton, NM. Such an inviting place: they nailed a box onto a tree that says "Free Raton Info" (above). Who wouldn't want to find out more about this place?

We don't have time to get out of the train but we pick up a couple passengers. These towns have the feeling of a place that used to be important and is now a stop on a dying Amtrak route.
Another stop at a dusty town in New Mexico.
I'm starting to get excited as we approach Albuquerque because I know that is a mere five hours from my destination of Flagstaff.
Night begins to fall on the train and I am happy that we are basically on time for a 10PM arrival in Flagstaff. I'll miss the scenery from Albuquerque to Flagstaff because the sun goes down.
Yeah! We arrive in Flagstaff around 10PM. While others on the train say their goodbyes and exchange phone numbers, I just jump off. I've been too engrossed in my book on the trip to have time to make friends. Oh, well! It was Desert Solitaire - very appropriate for the trip and a great book. I've done this trip a few times before and this was my most pleasant ride, I think largely because I had such a good book and such good Bourbon in my flask.
I get to my old home (the garage, above) and the next morning awake to see in full daylight the feet of snow that they have. Luckily, I didn't have to shovel it this year! That's a job for Mitch and Marilla who are the current inhabitants at the unhumble abode.





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