North America 46
North America 46 picture from dome
Sometimes life can be a long wait.
At breakfast the Abbot gave us another wide ranging chat which covered Existentialist Philosophers and writers , charlatans and saints. It almost measured up to a similar Breakfast chat at Chithurst when Ajahn Sumedo was presiding a winter retreat, though that one went on till lunch, whereas this lasted two hours. Just as well I've never tried being a Hermit, as who knows what I would be like now?
The ride out to highway 5a down Roche Lake rd was sublime and it leads to a restaurant and campsite, and I could have made it on Tuesday but I would have missed out on Dilini's story . The wind is behind me so I'm experiencing the ease that the Pacific Coast pedlars felt and the road is quiet. Just passed a small lake with a class of children learning canoeing, they start them early here it must be in the genes.
Back in Kamloops I food shopped for a couple of days and I'm back at Starbucks catching up and blogging. Soon I'll leave for the simple station, and if it's open set up my bed for the night. Once again I marvel at the openness of North American's compared to the class ridden uptightness of southern Brits. Personally as I've aged it has got a little easier to be friendly with strangers, and this criticism is mainly directed at the southern part of England and to be fair that often means an aged population who are possibly still clinging on to an earlier cultural identity. From my volunteering experience, this can lead to loneliness and isolation. Perhaps this may explain the popularity of soaps on radio as well as TV, when it's possible to live vicariously through fictitious families and events. If anyone has ideas to share I'd love to hear them.
Just before I left the coffee shop I was offered a Smoothy gratis, as they had made one in error. Does the spontaneous generosity in this country ever stop? Chatting to a chap whose just finished work in a Ginseng factory, suggested I get an energy powder to add to the water. So Rocky Mountains look out tony with/avec Friday are coming !
I must have been mad, if not plain loco to have expected to get some sleep in the middle of a freight yard. I'm a light sleeper, God forbid, I was lucky not to have been shunted to Yellowknife or somewhere. Anyhow this morning has found me strangely refreshed, that's what an adventure does, your living for a few weeks in a parallel world. Not subject to the usual ups and downs, but forging a path protected by your innocence.
The Canadian has just arrived about ten minutes late but there doesn't seem to be any urgency to keep to the time table. It's being topped up with diesel, I imagine this happens at every stop as the train is at least sixteen carriages long. The freights can be more than two miles in length. The first two coaches behind the baggage at the front of the train are for economy, the rest seem to be cabins. I suppose many on board are elderly and have never learnt to fly! We are due to arrive at 4pm and it's just under 500k
Even though I have the last window seat I'll probably spend most of the time up in the dome car the effect of looking forward watching the engine snake around the curves is remarkable especially as we're going at about 30mph. When I worked for a summer on Santa Fe we hit a truck loaded with tinned peaches on a crossing, and ran over a skunk that perfumed the train for the next two days.
The other passengers up here are Japanese and their used to going so fast that they have no time to catch a cold as I suppose that would put the train into quarantine. This is going to be the best $80 I've spent so far. We're going upriver with burnt trees on one side that look like toothpicks for Giants .
I was right to bring food as the catering isn't up to Amtrak standards, in the Santa Fe days it was really of a high standard, called Fred Harvey with inspectors popping up to see that you weren't fiddling.
An Asian Indian middle aged couple have moved into the seats with me, he's busy with the camera, but she has her arms folded, brows knitted and doesn't seem to be taking in the sights, but just carries on an irritated speech. Ah long married life.
A cluster of wooden homes slinked by with washing hanging out, it appeared quite civilised in this almost empty landscape.
The Asian couple were replaced by Steve another adventure cyclist from Florence Oregon, who recognised the pictures I took , as it was one of the stretches up the coast that I actually cycled! He commented that his wife was the really competitive cyclist as he rode for the pleasure.
Just across the way is a young couple from Brighton I overheard him remark. I chipped in about the fate of West pier, with its amazing starling population that became one of the sights when they flew out of the crumbling Edwardian Music hall until that was set alight by a killjoy which finally put paid to any reconstruction plans.
Steve had been replaced by two overweight Canadians who only just fit on the seat.
The river has disappeared and were riding through a narrow cutting with impenetrable trees towering above, slowed to about 20 ( Sarah would be pleased as its plenty )the advantage in not joining in the adjacent conversation, which is about foreign holidays, is that I can really almost feel the landscape.
When we come to passing places the signal lights show red! I suppose that tells the driver that anything coming towards has stopped, at least I hope it works that way.
In any event we've slowed right down, perhaps we'll all have to get out and push.
We have stopped, perhaps it was to clear the passing rails
Yes that was the case, as a freight just came thundering past, but I'm still confused about the Reds. ( apparently I have to look out for a top light which shows green but changes to red as the engine passes )
The river has reappeared so there you have it we are going up the North Thompson the very same as in Kamloops but still very slowly, the gradient must be greater than it looks. I know all about that! The river has switched sides, I didn't notice the bridge, keep alert Golding if your going to ride the Dome. A road has appeared on the left so the regular drivers can enjoy this ride too.
Just returned to my seat, ( the two French Canadian speaking young women backpackers haven't moved from their seats ) where it's darker and warmer to charge my batteries literary and figuratively snozzzzzzzzz..............
I've just been disturbed by an announcement that we are about to pass a waterfall and the train will slow to take pictures.
This is no commuter line. PLG Tony