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Train Run to Loredo TX (4 days)

Day 1

From about 5-6am to 2:30pm, we did nothing but jerk back and forth as far as I could tell. I'm sure there was a reason, but if you don't know it, it's hard to assign logic when you wake up after eight hours of movement only to realize that you're still in Louisville.

Anyway, the sun was shining and there was a bit of internet. I got up and ate breakfast, then went back to bed as I'd only gotten about four hours of sleep. Later in the day we got a weak internet signal, and I used it to gather some useful Spanish phrases including how to ask for small bills at the bank (a definite need-to-know) and current exchange rates. I also downloaded a map of the Metro in case there's time for sightseeing.


Starting today, I am trying to go cold turkey on coffee just because I've got four days to do it and I don't want to HAVE to have a cup every morning or else suffer a blinding headache. Actually so far it's not that bad; I feel a little fuzzy in the brainpan and have a mild headache, but it's a much better reaction than I expected.

Monday is a day of rest for me. I won't usually exercise or do anything super productive. But since this run is so long, I'm gonna start a routine tomorrow: morning stretches, resistance band exercise, practicing with a mute in, and spending X amount of time outdoors. I've also got a few little art projects planned, and some books and movies. With all of this, I hope to ward off cabin fever.

A few hours later the headache gets a little stronger. Well, I knew it wouldn't be fun! We passed through some lovely forest areas, with goldenrod lining the tracks and a nice clean tang to the air. I'm enjoying it very much.


At dinnertime Jameson and I went down to Pie Car to see what's up. He got stead & eggs, I got chicken parm on brioche and a Mtn Dew to help combat the headache. Clockwork Orange was playing so we watched a bit of that. Uncle John came through and gave us each two jello shots. It's a train run, after all ;)

Many people call this the "ghost run" because few people are on the train; many opt instead to take a vacation or visit relatives. This year I feel like there are more people here, but maybe that's my imagination.

We spent some time on the vestibule, then went back to our rooms. I watched Wreck It Ralph and made a schedule for myself for the next several days so I don't get too bored. We'll see if I stick to it.

Day 2

We arrived in Birmingham AL about four hours late. It was a water stop, meaning the animals are watered and taken outside for a bit so their stalls can be cleaned. Although we're not allowed off the train, it's nice to know that we'll be sitting still for at least two hours. I cooked and did some stretches, and updated this blog since there's good signal here. The showers were unlocked so I took advantage of that too.

Jameson and I went down to Pie again; we both got pork chops but I didn't get sides because I'd just cooked rice and veggies in my room. We ate pretty quickly. Back in my room I watched some Game of Thrones, then spent some time on the vestibule as the sun went down.

Depending on how quickly we travel tonight, this may be the last time I get to see any green plants and running water for a month.

Day 3

That's right, third day without caffeine! I win :P
Woke up late, and found that we were stopped in the place where the animals were watered two years ago. We're in LA, but you can see the ground getting drier.


While we were stopped I exercised a little and practiced trombone, then ate lunch and watched a movie. When we started moving again I tried to go outside for some pictures, but we were kicking up a lot of dust and it was kinda gross so I came back in. Later on, spent some time with Jameson and then read a book. We had fleeting internet and I was able to update this post. That about sums up my day...the train is relaxing but after several days, can't wait to have my feet on the ground again!!!

Day 4

Woke up and did the 'routine': eat breakfast, stretch, exercise, practice, watch Game of Thrones.We are in Texas now and the scenery is flat. I spent a lot of time on the vestibule today because the sun wasn't overly strong and there was a nice cool breeze.


As we approached Loredo it became even cooler and cloudy, like it might rain. It didn't, but after dinner Jameson and I stayed on the vestibule for quite a while looking at the unusual plants and bugs and enjoying the unseasonable weather. The last time we were here, I remember it was so hot it was difficult to spend significant time outside, and there were fewer green plants. The cactus were still in flowering/fruit mode, so this must be a late spring.

Looking at the weather for the week, I'm so, so grateful that it'll be below 80. It's the little things.

Anyway, we are closing in on Loredo (about 60 miles to go).
I doubt there will be a good signal in the yard, so I am posting now.
Tomorrow morning is customs, and we hope to be across the border by noon.

I'll post again when I can. So long America!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2017 09:52 pm (UTC)
Overland question...
Hey Megan,

Were you guys allowed/authorized to travel overland to and through Mexico if you chose to?

I'm reading your blog from start to finish. This is as far as I got since I posted my first comment to you a few weeks back on your wordpress blog... I really appreciate you blogging your life / career in the circus.

FYI... Thursday, May 25 and Friday the 26, of 2017, there were many railfans chasing the "Purple Train"(mix of Blue and Red Unit cars they picked up in Newark). I happen to watch it live stream via FB thru the Folkston Funnel in Folksotn, GA. It was a lil bit of a tear jerker knowing that this is it... They left many cars in Baldwin Yard, Jacksonville, Fl. They Entered Yeoman Yard Tampa yesterday evening. I can only assume that the rest of the equipment from the show will eventually make it's way down to Feld... It's so sad knowing we'll never see the RBBB Circus and circus train again...

Thanks again for sharing...
Scot Isley
May. 27th, 2017 10:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Overland question...
Yes, but if you did you were "on your own".

Whether driving or flying you would have to provide all of the paperwork, not only to cross the border, but for work authorization as well.
You would have to drive yourself across the country of Mexico to reach Mexico City.
If you timed your arrival before the train, you'd have to kill time/spend money in Mexico City.
If you arrived after the train, someone would have to arrange for your train yard ID to be brought to you outside the yard gates (the yard was heavily secured, huge wall, guards carrying automatic weapons, etc) where you'd have to have all of your paperwork looked over by a government official and signed off on before you could enter the yard.

So you can imagine how many people did this.
It was much easier just to ride the train down and do any inspections/receive any IDs or paperwork as a group when planned so that special arrangements would not have to be made just for your special ass ;)

Edited at 2017-05-27 10:34 pm (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )