Sunday, February 27, 2011

Riding the Rails

Jerimiah and I left promptly at noon, stocked with food, beverages, camera gear, iPods, and a fool tank of gas. Our game plan changed from heading West on 70, because the snow was too much for the big pass and my front wheel drive.
Decided to head due South on I-25, and then head west on 160 directly to Durango.
Things were slow going coming down the mountain to the Front Range, but, once we reached I-25, the roads were dry and I was ready to exceed all posted speed limits.
Just shy of 4 hours, we exited to 160W, and that was a road I had never been on before.
To the right and left of us, the skies looked angry, but straight ahead seemed to be OK. Just about the time that we were boasting how we had diverted all nasty weather, a sign came up over the horizon that stated Wolf Pass was hazardous, and chains were required for all commercial vehicles.
What did this mean for us? Onward we went.
Jerimiah thought it best for me to drive the pass, being that it was my car and all. I was getting nervous. Was there a shit ton of snow up there? How was my Element going to handle in a shit ton of snow? It's dark.
We changed seats at the last stop before the pass, and ahead of us was a semi that just put his chains on. 10 miles to the summit of the pass. Onward we went.
The snow falling became thicker and heavier. It was difficult to see more than 30ft or so ahead of the vehicle. Not knowing the road gave concern to just driving into a snow wall going around a turn.
Carefully I followed the tracks of a vehicle somewhere ahead of us. Top speed: 30mph.
The falling snow and darkness was the crux of the ride. The road itself was well plowed, and not slick. Slow and easy was the name of the game.
Without incident, we made the pass, and made it to dryer roads.

Later on, we came across this flashing sign:

How the hell... really? It's flashing now, but there's no wildlife. ?? Onward we went.
Finally made it to Durango, and to the home of my friend Shaheen and her husband Kyle. They were kind enough to let us crash at their place. Shaheen made an awesome Enchilada meal, and fun was had by all. We ended up asking them about this sign, and apparently it's a big joke in the region. It's suppose to flash when animals are present, but it just doesn't work right.

The next morning, Jerimiah and I rounded up our things, and indulged in some tasty breakfast at Oscar's Cafe', and then went to the train station to get out tickets to ride.

We were instructed to board at Rockwood, so that's where we went. On the way there, we drove passed a flipped car. Ice? Didn't seem to be any.
After finding our turn off, we made it to the parking area. We were in the middle of nowhere. Snow all around, and one lone man standing by the tracks with several grocery bags and a couple cases of water.
Ended up making small talk with the guy, and while Jerimiah was getting information from him, I started taking some photos.
As we waited for the train to arrive, Miah set up his camera rig so we could get some of his blog info down. Some other folks arrived for the train, and not much longer later, the train finally came into view. We boarded and our scouting trip finally began.

We boarded, and wandered around the train a bit before we found a car that was empty, and started shooting for reference to see if this location would work out for Miah's film short.
The scenery was pretty, but, we weren't there for the views.
When we got to the turn around point, the train came to a stop, and we had a 45 min lay over at a pavilion with a fire, and some snackipoos that were put on for a group of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. They were kind enough to share hotdogs, cookies, and water with us.

This gave me a chance to get up close with the train.

Back on the train for the return trip, got in a few more shots

Miah get's some digital film testing in.

After Jerimiah gets to looking at his footage and some or test photos, he'll decide on how to proceed with the project.

We did some more shooting at the train station back in Durango. Started the trip back to Estes about 3pm. Made the Wolf Pass again, and this time it was much easier, in the daylight and all. Stopped for a decent meal in Walsenburg. Got back to Estes about 12:30am.
Mingus was very happy to see me.

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