3-5 April 2013 and a long 36 hours it was.
As it turns out is a combined train – for the first part of the journey it runs combined with the Texas Eagle So there I was, headed out to Track 11 only to find that I had been given a seat assignment in the wrong car. Not a problem if I am interested in either disembarking in San Antonia or heading along the Texas route, but absolutely wrong if what I intend was Houston-> Galveston.
Ok, I dealt with it by hanging out next to a car that actually was going all the way through.
I would like to say that all of the passengers were well mannered and polite; observing the quiet hours and letting those of us who wanted to sleep the chance to drop off. Well, the under five crew was lovely. They nodded off immediately and not a peep for the rest of the night. Not so the adults who boarded in Palm Springs. Somehow the concept of “sit down and shut up” just didn’t sink through. I want interested in hearing one side of very boring phone conversations nor discussions of tatuooe. I will completely skip the “my man’s youngest baby girl” with all the social implications and baggage implied. I don’t get why you would want a guy like that, but then I am married to Mr Stable & Honest and glad of it.
0915- Benson Arizona. I have no clue why someone wrote a song lauding this town. It is out in the middle of no where and flat. Yes, you can see mountains off to the north but the flat land going south is spotted with cactus and sagebrush. Benson itself looks flat and laid out on the grid. Pickup trucks abound, most with gun racks. There are SUVs, other trucks, stop lights and a line of box organizations that support cars (parts, repair, gas) off to the right and a half mile deep worth of trailer homes on the other. Since the train is rather long, I am looking down at the road complete with electric signals and dropped arm bar. Everything is coated with a thin layer of dust.
After that I finally dozed off for several hours.
Early in the afternoon as we were traveling along I realized how close to the US/Mexican Border the train actually runs. On the one side there are power poles, roads, trucks and extensive trailer parks. On the other – more fences and lights, with small areas featuring rundown houses, disintegrating sheds, outhouses and vehicle remains on cinder blocks. At the New Mexico border, we fast forward an hour not disappointing anyone in the least with magically being an hour further down the road toward their destination.
Compared to the amount of time it is going to take us to get across Texas – we whipped across Arizona and the southern portion of New Mexico. El Paso is at the border. One side of the track is the US – easily visible on the other side of the fence is Mexico, in much better shape than the earlier ramshackle homes we saw.
I am more than ready to get off the train when we reach Houston.