Sunday, March 02, 2014

riding a rail out of town

I wish Mexico had a passenger rail system.

Of course, there are the remnants of a world-famous rail system constructed in the late 1800s with American investment dollars.  A system that efficiently transported the insurgent forces to victory during the Revolution.  One of the most famous rump lines is the train that services Copper Canyon.  (likin' the lichen)

I love trains.  On each of my trips north, I try to squeeze in at least one train leg.

Yesterday was the day.  After spending a couple of days in Salem tying up some family trust tax issues, I decided to ride the rails to Olympia to visit my friends Ken and Patti for a couple of days.

One of the joys of train travel is to watch the heartland of America speed by the carriage window.  Farms and houses bordering on the tracks often give up a lot of their residents' secrets as strangers roll by peering into their lives.

I couldn't do that on this trip.  For most of the trip, we traveled in the dark.  Had I given into the urge, I could have drifted off to rhythm of the track noise.  But I had tales to share with you.

Over a year ago (da train -- da train), I played with the idea of taking a long road trip on the rails in The States.  For a number of reasons that did not happen.

And it could not happen in Mexico.  The government made a conscious decision to abandon passenger rail travel in favor of road construction.

But, if I wanted to take public transportation for a long road trip in Mexico, the choice would be obvious.  First class buses. 

I have mentioned them before.  They travel everywhere.  And, if you can find an ETN bus going where you are headed, you will have seats that recline better than on an airline.  A stewardess who serves refreshments.  Movies on overhead screens.  And a bathroom.

Whenever I get around to my next road trip in Mexico, it will probably not be by bus.  My Escape is the perfect vehicle to take me anywhere in the country.  But it is nice to know the first class buses are there as a backup.

But passenger trains?  Not in Mexico.  For that, I come north.

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