This afternoon I headed north to my old hunting ground,
the Opelousas to Washington strip, and then back down to
my perennial hunting ground, US 190.
I have to stop here and let you know I'm under extreme duress.
My wife has told me my blogs are boring. Readership and
communications between readers and myself seem to signify that.
I am only writing this because it supports the new Train Chasing
Group I started. Otherwise, it would be yet another waste of time.
I left the house with my wife's revelation on my mind.
Seeing the signals light up below Porte Barre jerked me out of my funk.
But, alas, it was only a workman adjusting them.
I rode to the nearby yard. AKDN's renters were there. Yippee.
Heading down Grolee St., I decided it was time to bust loose
from the train gig and take some alternate pictures.
This is the old sewage plant in down the hill, east, Opelousas.
Need a tank?
Then I remembered Mark had sought the "end of actual rails"
for the historic Southern Pacific which went from downtown
Lafayette to Cheneyville on US 71 above Bunkie.
Here's another break from the rails.
Returning, we're headed toward Washington on the old SP.
I forget the street, but here I was. There was a guy working
in his yard. I told him I was there to take pictures of the old
railroad. He was very friendly and said to go right ahead.
That may be the key, tell them what you ARE GOING TO DO.
Don't ask silly questions that make you look weak and crazy.
Just tell them: I'm taking a picture. I'm chasing a train and I'm
nutz and you better stand back cause I'm commencing.
There they are. That's where the Southern Pacific or AKDN,
probably AKDN, sawed them off. I have seen the line up
to around Gold Dust labeled "AKDN RR". But, you can't believe
generic GPS maps.
I walked a bit further.
I emerged at the Washington High School which is now
a garage sale emporium.
I wanted to do a little more Washington. I knew a gulch
had been dug to allow the descent of the railroad through
town and across Bayou Courtableau . I knew that the
gang house had been near the bridge across the tracks off
Church St.... Al and I had visited with the lady that owned the
property. I thought they'd never shut up.
I knew approximately where the station was, near the bayou.
This is behind the Washington medical building on 103. It
is looking toward Opelousas. The rails had come this way
from the bridge.
They had gone that way to the bayou and the station.
I saw this brick structure. It looked like a well. There
were springs all about.
Seems the steam engines would prefer spring water over bayou water.
The ridge shows the depth the gulch had to be dug.
I rode to the bayou. I told everyone and that dog,
"I'm here to take some pictures, stand back". The dog ran off.
This is Bayou Courtableau. If it is not the spot of the
trestle, it's close.
This point is also a candidate. I tried to line it up. I know
I was where the depot was but couldn't decide on which
side the rails ran. The picture I have does not really define it.
Feeling that I'd done Washington to the best of my ability,
I went to the trestle across the Little Teche Bayou, south of
AKDN had taken the main line. She sat there for an hour.
I sat from 4pm to 5pm with her, trying all the time not to look like
I shot the centerpiece trestle.
I shot the GPS.
I thought back on Washington. I'm saying that building
is on the spot of the Washington depot. The bayou is behind it.
I shot my bike. How do you like those old saddlebags? They
are 10 years old. I got them from some hippies in California.
Then the moment came. Pow. Got cha.
I can now carry 500 lbs more on the bike. The end.
How did you like that hybrid History Hunting Train Chasing thing?
Breathless, so am I.