Thursday, June 22, 2017

Something to Ride Against

"In Montana they have blizzards that freeze cattle standin' in their tracks.  An' horses freeze to death.  They tell me that a drivin' sleet in the face with the mercury forty below is somethin' to ride against"  Light of the Western Stars, by Zane Grey

There are hundreds and hundreds of miles that now lay behind us in this journey to the Milwaukee's West.  Alcazar is located 1467.5 miles from Chicago's Union Station, along these shores of the Jefferson River, winding along with the remains of the Northern Pacific.  Like many of the haunts that have rolled by in the run west, it is a name with no place - lying both in the shadows of the Rockies and the fading memories of a Nation.  

Here the Rocky Mountains loom ever closer and rise ever higher.  They are aloof and unattainable but ever present and mighty.  The Continental Divide lies ahead and so does the inevitable throttle-up that will hoist tonnage to the top.  

In 2003, America's Resourceful Railroad could be found here by its line side poles and catenary supports that still remained.  It isn't hard to imagine thundering EMDs and GEs howling through a bitter cold sleet.  It's still easy to picture a little Joe pushing through the scene with both catenary raised to knock the ice and improve the electrical contact.  It must have been something to ride against - the real grade will soon come and with it the famous Vendome Loop.  Then the unattainable, aloof Rockies will be topped again.

Aside:  Thanks to everyone who has checked in to see how I'm doing.  I'm doing well these days, thankful for it, and I appreciate you all.