Engine at the Hamilton Logging Company, about 1912, Washington state, my great grandfather's last job
It's funny how coincidences happen. I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch yesterday, listening to NPR, and there was an interview with Larry Tye who wrote Rising From the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class, and he mentioned that National Train Day was this weekend. You can read about National Train Day here: http://www.nationaltrainday.com/2009/events Basically it celebrates the day the United States was connected from coast to coast by rail. It just happens that I am packed and ready to leave this afternoon on a train adventure.
My sister-in-law and I are traveling on the Empire Builder to Spokane, Washington. This Amtrak line follows the rail route of the old Great Northern line, a line on which my great grandfather was an engineer from about 1900 until 1913. One of my goals for the trip is to meet relatives where he grew up in Washington, to see the landscape where that family lived, and to try and understand my grandmother's early life and history. I want to walk the cemetery where he is buried, and talk to people who remember things from before I was born.
I also want to see sights, eat out, draw in my travel journal and have a real good time. I'll be back in a couple weeks.
PS - Train Day was fun. Even the tiny station in Columbus, Wisconsin gave out goodies like cake and coffee, packs of cards, paper conductor hats for the children. I heard that in Chicago they had live music.