Living by Railroad Tracks

The house I live in is pretty close to railroad tracks. I can sit in the mornings with my coffee and listen as the rails get busier. One particular train I can identify is the Amtrak Capitol Corridor that runs from San Jose to Sacramento. It has that distinctive keen which makes me want to be on it but also want a farther destination than Sacramento. Hopping a train in perhaps Emeryville would let me ride the rails from there to Reno. On to Denver, then Chicago, New York, Boston in some order.

But its here in the morning that I hear the freight trains, perhaps the Ace trains, and Amtraks go by. Its the wheels rubbing and sparking the tracks and that lonely whistle blowing that still captures and elicits the imagination and dream. I could just leave here and be gone for months I reason. I have enough saved to simply go. I’m that tired of the Bay area. I could sit in the observation car and listen to the others playing guitars, talking their talk, and the occasional attempt at including me that I put off. You see, train travel is exceedingly personal to me. Its me and the rails and the song I hear as the trains move through towns and cities, mountains and passes. Its life not at 30k feet or cursing the Interstates.

Its the stuff legends are made of my friend Art tells me as he recalls hopping freight trains and hobo’ing all around. Most of all its that dream state you get to when all the perfect ingredients are set. And I get close in the mornings before work as I listen to those sounds out of my room window. It might as well be a thousand miles away because I know I would not go tomorrow or leave the job in two weeks. Its enough to know that I could though.

Its not a question of where I would go. The where is not important when I ride the rails. Its more of the getting there. I could ride in any direction and end up in a place I would then leave from.

Consider the train when you drive to a place and the under the covers rage when someone cuts you off. When did vacations or trips involve manically gesticulating at the map that tells you that you just missed the one road you needed. Perhaps that’s for the best and it may be that by getting truly lost you will be found. But a car and a map and the rage is not the way.

Yes. Consider the train. I can hear it wailing and telling me another day passes me by and it will wait and let me consider its passing.

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.