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We’re in Louisiana still, and it’s around 10pm central time. I’ve been on the vestibule for most of the day, but it’s so hard to get pictures here. The main problem is trees, vines, underbrush, etc., very close to the tracks. You can tell there’s scenery behind it, but you have to wait for a break in the trees to get a clear shot.

Glancing to my left and right today while waiting for such a break, I saw several others sticking their necks out, hoping to capture some scenery :)
There are so many things I want to take pictures of to share with everyone. There was a swampy area filled with strange trees, covered with peat, and sticking up out of the water were lots of white lilies! In Alabama I saw three boys, maybe 10-12 years old, riding galloping horses alongside our train. Tonight, I was looking at scenery one side of the vestibule and when I glanced to the other, it was nothing but darkness. That startled me at first, but soon I realized it was a lake!

There are other things that can’t be shared in pictures, like how the air smells very fresh and sweet at night here, or all the different reactions of people driving by or watching us pass through.

Something I’ve noticed recently, and especially on this really long train run, is that the skill of the train conductor makes a HUGE difference in one’s comfort on the ride. Feld hires freight companies, such as Norfolk Southern or CSX, to pull our cars because it’s cheaper than having their own engine. This means that in one day, there can be several crew changes and engine switches depending on who’s getting paid to pull us from A to B. Feld gives each company an instructional flyer on how to handle their train (we get copies too), but it’s pretty obvious when the conductor forgets he’s got people and animals on the train and not freight!

For most of last night and today, we had an absolutely awful driver. I don’t like to criticize people with skills I know nothing about, but I do know that it’s very obvious to the people riding the train when the person driving has never dealt with live cargo. This guy just slammed on the brakes whenever he needed to, with no thought to whether people might be cooking, sleeping, walking, heeding nature’s call, etc ;)
I had to get up at 3am to tie stuff down because he was hitting the brakes so hard. This morning was no better; I had just finished cooking lunch when he hit the gas, causing my fish tank to spill and my still-hot frying pan to fall off the counter onto my foot (hooray for shoes).

(today 5/17)
We had a crew change, and it's a much nicer ride :) I'm going out to take pictures...it's sunny! There are thistles here as big as sunflowers, and wild cactus too!

A ferry in Alabama I think...

Sunset in Louisiana

Wind turbines in Texas