Railroad iron is a magician’s rod, in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
Over Labor Day weekend, I grabbed my old 1950’s Ansco Titan Rangefinder (medium format film camera) and my new Nikon D300 digital camera (leaving my beloved Fuji S5) and hit the road… or the tracks. I haven’t taken the train since a trip around Europe in 1996 and wanted an eco-friendlier way to get to Boston. Besides, the drive to Boston from Rochester is probably the worst drive on the planet. Don’t you agree?
Hurricane Irene caused some ruckus as the area around Albany was highly damaged. The day I was to set out was the first day the trains were running again. Between the cargo trains and Amtrak, everything was slow going and delayed getting out of Rochester… all the way through to Albany. So, the train isn’t really an efficient way to travel. But there is something to be said for the feel of the train wobbling along and for the interesting characters you see (I saw the best mullet ever).
While waiting the 3 hours in Rochester for the train to arrive, I played around with my Nikon D300, capturing the rusty old train platform with a view of Kodak’s offices in the background. Both bygone eras….
As I walked up and down the platform, getting the only exercise for the day, I met this really friendly gentleman. Henry was taking the train to visit is daughter and her family in Massachusetts and he gave me the low-down on what to expect from the train ride. What a nice man. We ended up keeping each other company all the way to Albany and the time just flew by. He had a lot of opinions on weddings, wedding photography, wedding albums and most importantly, that I needed to have some kids. Seriously though, Henry will end up being featured on my blog all by himself one day… stay tuned…
Even with the delays, I managed to arrive at the same time as my baby sister, Grace. Gracie flew into Boston from Austin and we were able to house sit for some good friends of mine. Thankfully, I’d been there many times before, otherwise I don’t know how I would have found their house in the dark. They live in this nice house in Cambridge that feels like it is tucked back inside an English garden. Serene for big city living.
The train was a great way to travel, aside from the delay and the extremely bad food choices in the cafe car. I love that there are power outlets and tables… I was able to get some work done on the trip. Also, it was really interesting to have a front row view to the destruction caused by the hurricane. Along the Erie Canal and Hudson river, we were able to see a lot of damaged buildings and debris filling the waterways. I also liked being able to walk around a bit on the journey. On my way home from Boston, with gorgeous early morning light, I saw some kayakers heading through a marsh and a lot of the trees had changing leaves already. Beautiful.
What is your favorite way to travel?