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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kent's Comments - an update

On 11/16/2010 9:02 AM, Lyle Davis wrote:

Like Kent, I’m getting fed up with “Big Brother,” intruding on my privacy.

Kent says:

What's horrifying to me is that so many people ACCEPT this! We're being led around by the noses like hogs and people just shuffle along and go with it. There will come a generation--and soon--that won't know anything different. And the intrusion is coming from all sides, from the government, from private companies, from unknown and never-need-to-answer czars and agencies who hide in the dark and were never voted in and cannot be voted out.

Uncle Sam’s intrusion into my travel plans is just one more thing I don’t like about travel.

Travel is just one more thing I don't like about Uncle Sam's intrusions.


As to the Benson High School 55th reunion? I’ll be there. But I’m gonna start checking the train schedules.


Trains are a superb way to travel, especially if you're like me and either want to be driving OR doing something--anything--except for merely riding along. On a train you can get up, wander around from car to car, go to the club car and get a soda or a mature beverage, go up to the observation car and watch America roll by, go to the diner car for a bite to eat, and bump into all kinds of interesting (and usually very friendly) people.

I took Amtrak from Indy to Salt Lake City in 1974. I imagine that things are even better now, but then the train from Indy to Chicago rolled along at a very unsteady 30-40 MPH or so. The tracks were terrible and the train swayed back and forth. Also we stopped at every little one-horse town along the way. But once I boarded the California Zephyr in Chicago, things changed immediately. The tracks had been maintained much better and our speed was around 70-75 mph. Also many fewer stops. I was in the club car guzzling beer down (still a few months under age at the time) and came to know all the bartenders. We chatted when they weren't busy. They said we were still behind schedule and would be picking up an extra engine somewhere in Wyoming, I think, and then another inside Colorado for the hump over the Rockies. When we got that second engine they opened both of them up and I could tell we'd picked up speed. I went back to the club car and asked one of the guys how fast we were going. He said probably around 110 MPH! He had a phone to the engineer and said the last speed he heard was 100 MPH, but we'd accelerated a little since then. He'd worked the trains all his life and could pretty much "feel" how fast we were going, where I could not.

We went over the main pass in the Rockies in the middle of the night. I couldn't sleep and went up into the observation car as it was a clear night with a full moon. This was in January and snow was everywhere. You haven't seen the Rocky Mountains until you've seen them like that. I made my way to the back third of the observation car and noted just one other guy in it, sitting all the way to the front. Presently, it became obvious he had his girlfriend/wife/significant other with him and they were making love in the empty (at that hour) observation car under the full moon. All I could see was his head and her feet sticking out in the aisle. I sat fairly well back from them as I had taken a joint of killer marijuana up there with me and was going to toke my way across the Rockies and enjoy the view. He caught my eye and looked at me, wondering what I was up to. They were young and I was young and I just held up the joint. He grinned and sank back down beneath the seat with her.

Presently I was bombed out of my skull and completely forgot about the amorous couple up front. I thought the view was beautiful before. After I was halfway through that joint it was if I was in some kind of child's storybook land. I doubt very many people have ever enjoyed that view like I have, in the wee winter hours, thundering along at great speed on a steel magic carpet, seeing mighty castles in the pinnacles, and watching pronghorn antelope bounding along through the snow.

Try THAT on Delta!


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