After 180 miles in the blaring sun and temps averaging in the mid to upper 90's, I came to the computer and unloaded the day's booty. Then, when presented with two totally different categories I had no idea what to do with the mess. Then it hit me. This was a perfect chance to prove to all the naysayers that I am a multifaceted and very well rounded individual who can show appreciation for at least two of life's offerings. The seriousness of my attackers is pegging the red line and I must retaliate with this rebuttal.
The other category I appreciate is Nature, especially nature framed by country roads. On my way to railway world, I'd run by this road which was the subject of one of my first ever ride reports. It is a place I've taken for granted and for some wonderful reason, it has remained the same or gotten much better though it has been attacked by dumpers born from its history of leading to the dump and their history of being worse than the trash they dump. Now that the dump is closed, the jerks drop their loads short of the dump, on my road. This is a secret road. Don't even ask where it is. All I can tell you is that it is close to Lafayette, very close. I'll let you slip through the pictures and then we can get back to my "obsessing".
I would have dealt with this guy if I'd caught him. He'd be a floater.
The turn around is at I-10. This is good. It makes you appreciate
the return ride even more.
We create such loveliness.
I know you were noticing the high bluffs above the river.
Also notice the decrease in altitude as the river meets the road.
Though I've not looked at the topo map. I feel that the river
is coming off the Coteau Ridge, the ancestral bank of the
Mississippi River at its furthest trek west. The Breaux Bridge
highway goes down that ridge very close by.
Nature's sculpture. Also, notice the green moss growing on
the road's "curb".
Oops, there's a hint. Orientation is north. I was headed south.
I was into the 2752nd mile of this ride. I had averaged a minus
458 miles per hour. Never believe these things. The cops don't.
The only link this road has to trains is that it led to the hole
in the ground from which a good bit of the fill for the Southern
Pacific's cross-basin railroad originated, Larrabie Pit. That
pit became Lafayette's dump.
After leaving this place of solitude, I went here, a place of
wild and crazy excitement. If your heart isn't healthy enough
for this ....... STOP NOW.
The same little local from another write was coming in from the west.
I, after meeting my newest best friends in Crowley, learned that
it had come from Lake Charles, just quoting so no email on this.
I really like these two little buddies so I followed them around to the yard.
The sun was in my favor so I shot away. They look like Pugs.
I probably over did it since I figured that would be the last
"action" of the day.
I got to Crowley as Donovan had advised that Tuesday was
AKDN day at the rice mill. It would not only be that but a
classic day in my train chasing career perfectly augmenting
Donovan's movie masterpiece, "AKDN Switching La Rice Mill" which can
be seen by CLICKING HERE. This is really good. See in the comfort
of your home, don't do like I did and sit and watch the whole thing
in 100 degree heat one day.
I had perfectly timed 8063 exiting the mill onto the mainline,
right where he leaves off.
Ole Yeller would bring the cars to the north side of the main coming
down here. Notice the ancient dryer in the background. This is
a magical place.
Yes, she's pushing them.
This is a great shot.
Remember that rail in the foreground. We will revisit it later.
I forgot to catch his name, but I believe it is "Roger". He
is a very important character in this epic. If you need to
lose weight become a brakeman for the AKDN Railroad.
First, get that heart checked.
There is always excitement. Was the switch aligned correctly.
I always take these shots at a distance.
Whew, now you know what I meant with that heart condition statement.
I knew the train would be crossing US 90. I scurried over
there and awaited the next chapter.
This was getting too good.
Here, Ole Yeller thumped along.
After depositing a few of the cars in the holding area near
the highway, Roger cut them lose, Ole Yeller pulled forward
and Roger switched the switch.
Ole Yeller and her load were moving on up into the northern yard.
You need a map.
You'll have to click this one and save it on the side in another window.
Green is the first movement I saw from the mill.
The gray route is form the north yard extension south to pick up the
one hopper car. Orange is the main UP line. Forget about the extended
green line past the mill, it is mainline too, but my first shots only go from the mill west.
You should be able to figure it out as I go along. My clarity is unchallengeable.
She headed to the upper reaches of the yard above US 90.
This is a shot of the "upper reaches" next to MLK park.
These cars were there.
With tension mounting I stood ready with camera in hand.
No!!!! I was late, she had dropped those cars and was headed
back to US 90. But what track had she taken? She took the
right track that I call the Southern Crossing since it crosses
over the main line to rails below.
Arriving at the South Crossing (to the south side of the main line)
there she was waiting.
I positioned myself at the south side of US 90 where I could get
a shot of Ole Yeller crossing the main line headed south
to who knew what.
Oh my goodness, I heard a familiar horn. Now I knew what
Ole Yeller was waiting on.
Roger waved at all the cars. I then understood that he
loves his work and was a good person. More of that later.
I was presented with another strange arrangement. The
baggage car was on the tail end. There is always something
interesting when observing an Amtrak train. I think they
are a living experiment on our tab, much like most socialism.
Roger switched the switch and here came Ole Yeller.
I shifted positions for a better shot or her making the crossing.
She was gone, I hauled it to the south side to where she'd gone.
There are not many rails down there for her hide. I know
them all so it was a fast find.
At the location of the old mill I parked. It is THE PLACE
for south side rail viewing though it smells like sewage, a lot.
There she was picking up a car.
She took it back to the south side loop from whence she had come.
Roger was back off the train. Ole Yeller was going to take
this car up into the yard.
Here she came. I was back at MLK park.
She pulled back up to US 90.
Roger switched the stitch as Ole Yeller protruded into the highway.
She went forward to the cars she had deposited earlier that
had been brought back down from the upper yard.
She pulled those across the highway to the south but on
the north side of the mainline.
Then, after Roger switched the switch, she backed into the
car she had brought from the mill and had added
to the group. Now the first group and the second group,
plus the hopper were together for UP to pick up.
She shoved a little.
She shoved them back a little more and unhitched.
Then I met with Roger and he suggested a group photo
to his engineer and myself.
Though the group picture flopped, I did get a good
shot of who I'll call "Bill" since I didn't get his name.
Bill had done a wonderful job though a lot easier than Roger's.
We all parted vowing to do it again some day. They took
off to tie her up or down since there is no going back to Eunice
any more, the end of an era. A trestle south of Maxi had
been burned and AKDN had no plans to repair it according
I went to Maxi and took this shot up the line. It is 1 mile
from the road, too far to hike in almost 100 degree weather
with no cover.
Here they went to "tie her up" or "tie her down" as I said, I get confused.
I can't see how either term could get by NOW. (Nat. Org. of Women)
The trestle crosses Long Point Gulley.
Remember I told you to remember those rails? The ones
to the right that the engine is not on are the rails to the
mainline. They have been added and were not a part of the
original Crowley scheme of things. The rails that Ole Yeller
are on were a part of that scheme. They, in fact, were the
rails that went to the old depot further east.
There she would sleep.
The UP would pick up the cars tonight.
Taking a break from railroading, rice harvesting was in full swing.
The mills would soon be hopping with hoppers.
My return brought me by AKDN's shop in Opelousas.
Roger and I had discussed the engines. He had a less than
positive feeling toward 8063. Possibly too much togetherness
had soured the relationship.
Indeed he said the new acquisition, 4106 was in Opelousas.
He had not mentioned her condition. (the green one)
I attempted what Mark and I now refer to as the "Donovan Angle"
with this shot. Mark, the ditch is too steep for my 650.
This thing could be seen from the 3043 crossing.
The train with the rent a engines were coming in from Port Barre.
These old greenies sat behind the shop.
I'll leave you with this, a note from Donovan. Put it in your wallet.
This may not work in your area. Check your local listings.