There are a few pictures that didn't make the "Railfan Five Challenge" that I thought would be nice to share nonetheless. In my quest to find 5 pictures for the 'Challenge,' I unconvered these as well. Though time has compressed these events and days into a blur, there was a time, many years ago, when a young man just wandered with a few trusty companions: an old Pentax LX, Velvia film, and the Lord.
In the middle of the Iowa countryside, a few memories of yesteryear can still be found. Here, not far from the abandoned M&St.L railroad line, the single room school house rises above the browns of mid-winter and into the blue skies of cold, Canadian high pressure:
There have been a few times when I have been awoken from slumber suddenly and without immediate cause. Still, more often than not, it seems my wakefulness has been just at the right time, for the right reason. It can be something like a phone call that needs to be answered, as the phone will start ringing. Riding the Portland section of the Empire Builder one night through the deserts of Washington State I was awoken to simply gaze outside at the moonlight landscape. There, with the blue shadows cast by the full moon, were all the elements of Central Washington: sage brush, treeless hills, and the old pillars of the Milwaukee Road's Western Push at Lind, WA. They glowed in the moonlight, and I was immediately thankful that I had been roused at just the right time. Just a couple of hours later, the Builder pulled into the Pasco with the hues of the rising sun shaking the darkness from the skies to mark the start of a new day.
Before I new the transcons of the Milwaukee Road (or the NP upon which the Builder was riding that night), I spent time along the ATSF's old transcon across Illinois. Through the seasons I spent many good hours under the big skies of the Prairie State. In the summer months, the sunsets were unforgettable.