Friday, May 3, 2019

Part Three

“Old Man River”

Good Day to all as we traverse the southeastern corner Colorado on this TGIF morning. Everyone knows that the Old Man River is the mighty Mississippi, which runs from the head waters of northern Minnesota to the great delta south of New Orleans.

In our travels yesterday, we went thru the southeast corner of Iowa and crossed the Mississippi at Fort Madison, Iowa. 

The not-so-funny thing was that all of us on the Southwest Chief could not figure out where the river’s banks were. Per my good ham radio friend Nate, WY0X, a levy breached up river near Davenport, Iowa and all of that water had to go somewhere. We saw farm fields and parts of small neighborhoods inundated with water. Even the trains tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe were high enough, thanks to tall, deep ballast that allowed train traffic to continue. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see all of this water damage. Fields that should have planted with corn or alfalfa were submerged. Goodness knows when the fields will dry out. And to make matters worse, this water still has to go south towards thru the Mississippi watershed towards New Orleans. So there are states along the Mississippi that will most likely suffer the flood waters in the coming weeks. 

So much of Illinois that we traveled thru looks like a dead-ringer for where I travel in Nebraska. Square miles of corn fields and the familiar grain silos are in all of the small towns that this train runs thru. It won’t be until October 2020 before I get back out to Nebraska, but I found a city called Galesburg, Illinois where both the Union Pacific and the BNSF have a huge interchange point where trains can transfer between each railroad. This is definitely on the lists of train trips that I will take in 2020. As the Governator once said, I’ll be back!!”

And now for something completely different. In the process of beginning this trip from Chicago, there were a few things that I discovered, and they were good things. I thought that we were going to be in our rooms in the sleeper cars. I mean, you have a comfortable seat and a nice view. What I did not know was that there was a dome car, I mean, a DOME car. 

This is where all of us on the Trains tour were to meet, congregate, eat and drink. PLUS, the view from the dome car is spectacular. And this a much better location for my office, so I moved. Down below is the kitchen and storage for all of the food and other items.  And the view this morning as we cross into Colorado is still spectacular. Photographs don’t really do justice. But still, the land here is pretty much as it is when our forefathers crossed the prairies and settled down. You have horizon-to-horizon skies, which in reality is a good thing in case the thunderstorms and/or tornadoes come to life. You at least have a head start to take cover. Right now it is overcast to the south and scattered patches of blue to the north. So it looks like the weather is turning for the good.

Anyway, onward we go to Los Angeles. Next time, we’ll give you some info on this beautiful train we are riding on. Like Amtrak says, “There’s something about a train that’s magic”.

I’m Philip J Zocco. On The Road. Near Trinidad, Colorado.

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The Last Part

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