A reader who I respect for his wisdom and attitude wrote the other day. In his note he suggested that I was a do nothing want- a - be and should stop pussy footing around and actually ride, and he meant really ride, some of the abandoned, and maybe not so abandoned rails I display on this silly website. I wrote back and told him he was a crazy old goon and that he could ride them himself. Then I decided that maybe he had a point after I got over the afrontatious manner in which he had presented the idea. A little while later, I set about building the schooner. That was last October.
I know it is a bit motley, but nevertheless it was a start. Since,
several modifications have been appointed, and though not
cherried out, it would suffice.
A few days ago I decided to take the cover off the old schooner
and start her up. She seemed to run fine. I reflected on the
old goon's note and decided to do it. I'd need a crew. I thought
of all the people I could call. The two names I could think of
were Mark and Al, the only ones that ever come up as
all the others have me listed on the national "do not call" roster.
This outing would not be about pursuing anything. I had to
promise that. It would only be a short ride down a few miles
of "for certain" uninhabited abandoned rails. Mark brought
this paper I had to sign.
Mark, Al and I decided to begin our trek here, in the woods.
I have to be vague because I don't want to meet traffic the
next time we do this.
We turned north at an unfamiliar junction. It brought us to
another junction. Al had a key and we again set the switch.
It eventually brought us here. The only way out of this
was to jump on the active rails or back stroke.
Back at the first switch we went straight instead.
Well, not exactly straight.
Eventually the squiggles straightened out and we settled into
a smooth ride. These rails did not appear abandoned. I heard
a horn behind us.
Must have been a semi?
Mark, our lookout, noted "foliage ahead".
We stopped to survey the foliage.
There would be a trestle to cross. I gave trestle crossing instructions
to the crew and we proceeded on.
After the trestle we entered a wasteland of trash and debris.
Al knew where we were. He muttered something about an ex
Seeing this little house, he began a story.
But it was interrupted by more foliage and a possible trestle.
I got out my compass and it pointed west. Had we come upon
the Great Plains?
We would be crossing many arroyos. (Spanish: dry river bed).
I've attracted a large Latino audience so future rides will be solely in
Spanish from now on. Vamos. (Do "future" and "from now on" sound
vaguely similar or possibly redundant?)
I looked again at my compass. It definitely said we were in Texas.
None of our cell phones would work. I've read that Texas has
We did a communal gasp. What was this? We guessed "Aliens" being
that there is so much talk of them lately.
I pulled the throttle to its stops, bypassing the governor, and
swiftly ran past the mysterious structure.
There were more plains to cross.
Finally the rails dropped into this cool cut below the Texas sun's
Up above was this strange monument. Was it a religious symbol?
Should it be taken down? Should we alert the ACLU or some
other hate group?
This was getting creepy.
Uh oh. Why would warning lights be here? Could they potentially
show up on Ebay?
Al started jumping around and about derailed us with his excitement.
He recognized the caboose saying that he had lived there ten years ago.
As we pulled away, I thought he was going to cry.
We crossed yet another road.
Uh oh. But they'd have no effect on us. I told the crew not to
drag their feet for a while.
In a few miles we came upon a small settlement with a pleasant park.
There was a farm. Mark said to stop because he wanted some eggs.
I found a pullover and parked. We tied the train down for
the night. Not really, I've heard that and wanted to say it.
Retaking the main line, I let her rip.
We were now going downhill and picking up speed.
The guy in the red truck stopped to watch. The schooner's horn
failed to work so we all waved a bunch.
I became less concerned with oncoming traffic.
Whoa, a depot.
I pulled off the main line and parked.
A gentleman hollered from the big house for us to come by.
We did, him treating us to tea and his wife's hog head cheese.
Back on the main line, Al let out another whoop, "I lived there,
Somehow we had entered an urban area, exactly what I had feared.
After a while it always happens as you run out of un urban.
I backed out of this place and took the last fork in the rails.
I know that "fork" is not good "train talk", but I'm not trained.
We were again in a strange place. A fog rolled in.
I worried about ticks for the first time on this ride. I should
have worried about them earlier.
Past Tickville, the scenery opened up. Were we back in Texas?
A Texas looking depot appeared. We were in Abilene.
There was the crossing. We were obviously going in circles.
My compass indicating just that. Somehow, some way, our luck
would turn. Ahead the sign said, "Louisiana". We all rejoiced.
I had to tell Al that his hugging was getting a little out of hand.
Much to our surprise, there was Mz Guzzi waiting with a non too happy
look on her face. She growled, "Where have you been"? My crew
hid behind the schooner. I straightened my back and meekly
replied, "I think Texas"? She told me to saddle up and that
she would take me home, which I did on command. I asked about
my crew. I heard a muffled "huh" sound. Al and Dave, looking
rejected and abandoned, grew smaller in her rear view mirror as
she bounced down the rails taking each tie on as a new adversary.
I made a comment about personally needing a sports bra, which
she took personally, ejecting me off a trestle into more foliage
full of ticks.
And, I woke up in a cold sweat. Wouldn't you?
For all the aspiring writers that read these articles in hopes
of becoming likewise Nobelitious, observe the use of the
dream as an exit. When the lack of creativity and imagination
presents a problem, just say you woke up.