I packed up the Lance last night, so there wasn't much to do when I got up this morning except hit the road. There's not much traffic on I-8 at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, which was all part of my cunning plan.
20 or 30 miles past Yuma, there's a big border patrol inspection station that everybody has to go through, where automatic cameras take your picture as you drive up to the checkpoint. A dog sniffs all around your vehicle when you stop at the border patrol agent that asks you silly questions such as, are you an American citizen? To which I reply, Si amigo. And hearing that they automatically assume that I'm an illegal alien, so they motion me right on through with no further questions.
But when I got there this time, I found the whole operation closed. I would imagine that all the border patrol agents are on the border helping the illegals cross into our country at the moment.... I wonder how that makes all the people that obeyed the rules, filled out all the papers, paid a bunch of money to the American government, and are now sitting in some god-forsaken country waiting to hear news about their visa application.
I have a train story to tell, but it's boring, so if you don't like trains, you can skip this.
As I was driving east on I-8, I saw a sign that said Dateland 10 miles. I think we've established in the last couple of days that Dateland is closed, so I didn't give it much thought until I realized there was a freight train beside me on the tracks heading towards Dateland. Now, Dateland is where I can get really close to the trains as they go by, so I figured I could outrun this freight train, he was only doing about 50, turn into Dateland, drive a couple of hundred yards to the railroad tracks, and take a picture of the train as it's truckin on by.
This worked out well, and I beat the train to Dateland by about 10 minutes, and that's the picture you see at the top of this blog post.... See I told you was boring, what can I say my day was boring.
On my way back to the interstate, while passing the Dateland country store and gas station, I noticed there were five or six cars parked in the parking lot, so I pulled in to find out what was going on, figuring the cars were probably workmen remodeling something because ever since I've been coming here, the place has been a bit shabby.
I talked to the guy behind the counter, who assured me the place was indeed open, the date shakes were in the ice cream department, and the campground was about half full. Since staying here had been my original plan "A," I immediately switched from Plan "B" back to plan "A," scrapping plan "B" in its entirety without giving it a moment's thought. I'm glad I didn't have a bunch of reservations and a plan "F" and a plan "G" because that would've led to more confusion than I could deal with.
So here I am back in a normal Dateland taking pictures of trains that fly by at high speed a hundred yards from my campsite.
These two love birds are going through a very expensive and painful divorce. They legally changed their name from lovebirds to birds that hate each other. They argued endlessly in court over what to do with their two eggs so the judge rendered the opinion... Scrambled!
So broken hearted, and financially busted, the former Mr. and Mrs. lovebird now wait on the tracks for the 10:15 to come rumbling by and quickly end all of their legal and personal problems.
To me it's a miracle more trains don't come flying off these bumpy tracks more than they actually do.
Even the ole boondork is not dumb enough to stand in front of a mile long, highballing, freight train hurtling towards me at 50 miles an hour. These pictures were taken with a 600 mm telephoto lens that makes the train look close, and me look either incredibly brave, or incredibly stupid.
My overnight camping spot at Dateland.
Freight train heading West back toward Yuma. The engineer always blows the horn when they see me standing near the tracks taking pictures, and some will even wave out the window. I imagine it gets pretty boring going back and forth on the same tracks day after day. Seeing someone taking their picture might be the high point of their day.