Steve Dosh

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.. started 9 am Central Standard Time ( CT ) Sunday  16.10.09 

Made it to Chicago okay on AMTRAK ® .  Nice ride on the Capitol Limited .  Young crew . Lotsa' people .  Met a young lady from Lagos , Nigeria who reminded me of an old g/f ( Imo Bassey ) from college .  The young lady knew just about everything about the Bassey family .  Small world .  Big people .  Africa

It was a great trip all-in-all and very productive with Andrew, too  .  We accomplished a lot on the college, wisdom teeth , and driver's permit fronts .  I'm people watching now in my favorite Big City . Everyone here is interesting to look at .  Lot's of haolies .  Jeans and leather .  Not many homeless walking around today in the murder capital of the US .  It's too cold and windy any way .  They are having a race here to-day , a marathon foot race . The weather is beautiful here in the Windy City .  In fact , Boston is windier than Chicago but who cares ?   It's 61º F in the shade .  The race is about to start .  It'll go right by here    

The weather wasn't great this trip but we've all escaped hurricane Matthew , haven’t we .   i got to see JHH , three of my four kids ( Larry being in HI ) , the Wilkes , made some new friends , took pictures , made some movies , saw snow and some New England Fall colors .  What more could one ask for ?  

We just went by about 250 acres of cabbage on the train waiting to be picked .  Did i tell you that Becky makes sour kraut these days ?  She does .  Andrew's a senior in high school and Rob drives Sherman William's ® paint all over the West Coast for a living .  They are all very happy , healthy , and contented .  We remembered their mom's passing ten years ago with the Sicards and the Wilkes , young Charlsie and Erin 

The new Metropolitan Lounge at Union Station CHI is great , all clean with some seats at " see " ( street ) level with large plate glass windows to look out of  .  For all it's crime and one murder every day , Chicago seems nice . I could sit here all day and people watch and i will now .  i was reading some '  lost ' Jack Kerouac  on the train and it made me think of Chad Wilkes and Andrew , two budding novelists with something to say .  Read it .  It's good 😇   

5 pm CST Sunday 

Here , way North of Chicago now , it's the heartland , USA .  They are harvesting cow ( and pig ) corn silage , and their soybeans before winter .  There are big farms and Cheeseheads here in Columbus , Wisconsin , Columbus being the most popular town name in America .  There are 12 automobiles waiting for us to move along from the station , patiently , so they can go through the intersection of trains and automobiles .  Wisconsinites are large people of Germanic \ European descent .  Everything's " For Sale , " just like everywhere else in the US of A .  For sale ; lock , stock , and barrel .  i am eating pistachio nuts , a Wilkes staple .  Next time back East we’ll have to go ‘ glamping ’  together ( glamorous camping )  in MD,  “ Where Camping, Cabins & RVing just come naturally ! “ There's a mini-golf course all done up for Halloween we just passed , and , on the side of the adjacent liquor bar , a " Welcome Home , " sign is hung up high .  Hmmmm..  Mini-golf & beer .  Good combination , i guess .  Hate that windmill , though . There are red & blue ribbons tied around trees . Why ?  There is also a " Little Lending Library ," by the side of the road , ( like Becky and Chad's in MD ) ,  with two chairs beckoning people to stop and ' set a spell .'   There are flocks of Canadian Geese ( protected ) and Wild Turkeys ( not ) .  In fact , my friends just shot some yesterday in Maine and ate them bar-b-cue style  .  I also saw a tour bus hit one that was taking flight by the side of the road in VT .  The bus was coming my way and the feathers flew everywhere .  Talk about fresh road kill , huh ?   Turkeys are dumb .  People , too .  My friends do not have hunting licenses .  At least they do not hunt deer at night silently with bows and arrows and flashlights as far as i know  

i think we just passed Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woe-be-gone .  There's a big fat guy burning leaves in his front yard sucking down a beer  .  i can almost smell the leaves burning from here on the train at 80 MPH .  Now we are coming up upon the mighty Mississippi River and the sun is setting .  Beautiful .  Why do i ride trains ?  This is part of the reason why . Portage , La Crosse , Wisconsin Dells and Winona , WI - MN next in line . Bald eagles along the river .  Deer at dusk , grazing 

The Canadian National ® train line owns the tracks here in Wisconsin and they transport a lot of shale oil from Alberta and grain on them .  Trains do wreck occasionally .  Pipelines generally do not unless they are very old or sabotaged .  We still live in a very carbon intensive global economy .  China burns a lot of soft peat - moss type brown coal in their power plants that causes most of our Global C02 climate change from humans .  They bring a new power plant on line every week .  They could install scrubbers to burn off the residue C02 like we ( US ) do but they don’t .  They have no EPA .  China’s vast population is choking from pollution .  The US went through this back in the 60’s  

Monday 5 am North Dakota 

We passed through Minnesota during the night .  We hit a truck on the train near Devil’s Lake , ND, a little while ago in the dark  .  The train screeched to a stop , disc brakes steaming , smoking and smelling , stuff strewn everywhere all about from the collision with the trailer .   A train hitting a truck is like a truck hitting a mailbox .  Why do i ride the rails ?  There’s always some thing interesting going on .  No body was hurt , thank goodness .  It gave me time to take a sponge bath , shave , and have some breakfast with new friends ( really nice people ) from Montana .  They will inspect the train at the next stop for damage .  The crew on this and the previous train have been friendly and helpful   

No damage . i reported the electricity out in the observation car and the conductor fixed it .  Two circuit breakers were tripped  

The oil boom is bust here in ND .  No more fracking .  It’s all shut down and closed up .  One can still see the wells but they are inactive .  The pumps are not pumping . There are huge oil storage tanks half finished .  BNSF ® ( the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad ) is the only real business going on here these days .  Long trains carrying intermodal freight vans , grain , and other items .  40% of US freight goes by rail .  Being this high North one can almost throw a rock and hit Canada .  Rugby , ND .  We have relatives here , the Muglands 

09:30 am Minot ,  ND .  New engineer , new conductors , train’s okay , and full beards are popular up here in ND - MT .  I have not too much to say about these places .  Wide Open Spaces and barren places .  The woman was arguing with my car attendant so i overheard the conversation in passing and immediately gave her my pen from my overalls  .  “ How did that young man know . . ? ”  The car attendant told me several minutes later that he had already solved about eight problems for them ( she and her husband ) and was at his wit’s end with them 

14:00 Mountain Time ( MT ) , Monday , Glasgow , Montana ( MT ) .  It’s 37º, cloudy and snowing here at 2257.21784776 feet ( or 688 meters ) and climbing .  There are no red maple leaves here and barely any trees at all .  There’s just brown oak and other yellow leafed trees here and there .  The water is high everywhere and the banks of streams are overflowing .  It should be good ice skating soon .  the clouds are low and scudding by from West to East .  We’re about an hour and a half late on the train but are making good time ( 80 mph ) because there is no fracking going on and no active oil tanks on the tracks . The oil tanks are all empty and on sidings .  The sky is low and very grey .  Winter is truly setting in here now .  No fall .  One year i was on this train and it snowed on 9.11 .  Another time i was on the Coast Starlight and it snowed in the Cascades in June

i think the Blackfeet Indian tribe here have black feet because they have suffered frostbite .  I do . There were several Native Americans discussing their heritage now and trying to figure out who someone’s real father was because of a dispute as they are getting off the train in a vain attempt to try and resolve everything now  .  The same thing happens in Micronesia all the time .  That’s why we have laws and deeds and cadastral land surveys and surveyors and courts and legal conventions and written agreements .  Word of mouth , handshakes , and oral history just doesn’t cut it at times .  We just passed through Hinsdale , MT, “ Home of the Raiders,”  and home to the Raiders Quick Stop Bar .  It took us about five seconds to get through the town whizzing along at 80 MPH .  Malta , MT , next stop .  They advertise cowboys , indians , and dinosaurs  .  We are literally a stone’s throw away from Canada .  Just saw a hawk , then two hunters with orange caps walking toward our train ( and their pickup truck ) and then the antelope everyone was stalking in between us and them cowering behind a scrub brush 

16:14 MT Havre MT .   2,500 feet , first snowfall .   There are many horses and cattle out in the snow . I’d take pictures but the windows are too dirty !  Rt. 15 North - South would be the road to take from Canada to Mexico with an RV out here .  Yup .  A Day-Glo Dinosaur Museum , the Maltan Motel , a Philips County Transportation Museum that is the size of a three car garage and has two old ones in it , the neon lit Café , more cattle and horses and the hay bales that aren’t getting wet in the flooded fields are rolled up and getting snowed on .  Not good . Hay needs to be dry when stacked  

The Continental Divide is where water either runs West to the Pacific Ocean or East to the Atlantic Ocean .   Went cruised by it in a mountain pass at 5,577 feet .  We gain an hour every so often .  Time slows down .  I’ve gone from Eastern ( ET ) to Central ( CT ) to Rocky Mountain Time ( MT ) and will arrive in Portland tomorrow in Pacific Time ( PT ) .  Russia used to span fourteen ( 14 ) time zones 

The floor’s clean enough that the little kids are crawling around and playing on it here in the observation car .  No passengers .  The Mennonites are chatting up a storm in their funny Anglo - Germanic dialect .  We are all “ English,” to them . Cellphones seem to work off and on here in Ted Turner’s country . We have been following the same pick up truck and he , us for the past three hours . Gas is $US2.40 here .  Just passed 3,000 feet and the snow is flying !  They have received about four or five inches so far .  Trains are actually , and for the first time ever , getting out of our way so we can make it to the West Coast on time ( more or less ) .  I’ve never seen this happen .  We have passed probably four or five BNSF freight trains .  They seem empty .   We’ll get in 1.5 hours later to Portland , Tuesday .  Not bad .  07:15 am sunrise .  Beautiful .  It’s mornings like this on the train i think of rob, my son , driving out there all alone on the highways .  We’ll be there at 11:00 am , i spend the night , then on the plane home Wednesday  

The Columbia River is very low , the wind is blowing down stream ( it usually blows up stream ) and the trees are in bloom , flowering .  This is al a result of climate change  . . some videos to follow 

train home blog. 2016. fall .rtfd  

This is a picture of my wife with her real mom on the right , Masako on the left . .her aunt who ended up raising her . .and her sister Cinderella ca. 1967  ..  great family reunion here in MD this year   . .
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