Trains, Cane’s, and Pains

by Jim on 2013/03/22

[Jimbaux never cared for what they do, never cared for what they say . . . ]

The only driving of an automobile (or being inside of one at all) that I’ve done for the last two weeks has been to and from medical appointments and to procure food when I’m not smart enough to do such when I’m returning from a medical appointment.  By the time you read this, Jimbaux will be experiencing what will be his first MRI.

Monday March Madness

It’s now more painful for me to sit down than it is to stand up (unless it’s standing up for a really long time), meaning that driving is something that I avoid doing, as I’ve already mentioned, but that I’m now able to take short walks without any immediate or yet-noticeable problems.  The pain is mostly manageable now, but the underlying problem is still not totally-understood (hence the purpose of the MRI) and still needs to be fixed.  In any case, after my Monday orthopedist appointment, despite the need to get home, since I was already driving around, and since my condition has really caused me some cabin fever, I tried to get a few shots as I was driving.

What appeared to be the NS 345 was getting recrewed (with a UP) crew on the NS Back Belt at Bayou St. John, and, making the right turn on red from the southern base of the bridge when there would not be anyone in the area visible behind me, I decided to attempt this shot while sitting down for the first time, and despite the need to cantilever the telephoto lens while holding the camera with only one hand, I think that it turned out okay:

Okay, let’s get out of here.

Oh, by the way, how are you doing?  Thanks for dropping by.  Yes, this back situation makes me feel like an old man in so many ways, but I know that many of you have probably had many of your own similar problems.

Here’s an NOPB switcher in the KCS yard, if you’re into that sort of thing, or even if you aren’t into that sort of thing.

A few months from now, I have some travel that I plan to do and about which I am excited, but this back situation may force a cancellation.  I hope that I can get well enough before then.

This shot of the Z-train right by Raising Cane’s is just a coincidence that happened nearly five years to the day after I made some similar (and better) shots, including one from inside the restaurant.

Yes, I know that it’s lame, but it was really all that I could do – and all that I can do now – and that’s the point; it became even more important once I realized shortly thereafter that by the end of this month, the Union Pacific and CSX will no longer be routing the Atlanta to/from Los Angeles traffic on the Z-trains via New Orleans, instead sending them through the Memphis gateway.

Speaking of Traveling And Taking Pictures, Part 1

Do y’all remember how last spring I took a trip up across the Ouachita Mountains, across the Arkansas River, through the Ozark Mountains, across eastern Kansas, including foaming with Grumpy, and into the valley of the Missouri River in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota?  Well, hardly any of the many pictures from that trip have ever been seen, as I just didn’t have time to process the shots once I returned, but since it’s my custom to post pictures on anniversary dates, and since I’ve been largely confined for the last few weeks, I will be posting at least some of the days of that trip soon.  So, be on the lookout for those.

There is, however, one problem: the sheer quantity of presentable pictures.  I don’t really know how to address that.  I could simply put 50 pictures in each day’s post, but that would chew up my bandwidth, and it would be “too much of a good thing” for you, meaning you’d get aggravated and not finish reading each post (or maybe you would.)  I’m not really sure what to do about this problem.  I could put second-rate pictures in albums on the Facebook fan page, but that would break up the continuity of the chronological presentation of the photos.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this, even though I’ve actually already completed all of the shots for Day 1 of the trip!  I addressed the problem two ways: 1.) not saving at the size 8 jpegs that I normally save in Photoshop, meaning that some of the images will be a little bit fuzzier than I’d like, and 2.) by not making all of them at the maximum 934-pixel-width.  I’ve done both with some of the images in this post too.

Because I was in areas that I rarely visit, including many that I visited for the first time, I photographed many things that I wouldn’t photograph if I lived in those areas, just like there are many things that I only occasionally photograph in southern Louisiana.

At the rate that I’m going, though, and considering other things that I will have to do in the next few weeks, I doubt that I will complete all of the shots from that trip, meaning you probably won’t get to see the pictures from my visit to the flood-devastated areas from the Missouri Valley for perhaps another two or four years, considering my posting patterns of much of the last year!

Speaking of Traveling And Taking Pictures, Part 2

Back problems may not be the only thing that might sabotage upcoming travel plans.  The simple issue of monetary cost might might preclude a trip, but I ask for your advice on how to use my talents to fund a trip that will use those same talents to make memorable, meaningful, and useful images; please bare with me in this circuitous explanation, and I invite your comments.

A friend and I were discussing a few days ago not only my possible upcoming travel but how it would probably involve the patronizing of regional fast food establishments, like the Louisiana-originated Raising Cane’s that you see in this and the prior posts, like Whataburger in Texas and environs, like Braum’s in Oklahoma and environs, and like Culver’s in the Upper Midwest (and where I ate a few times in South Dakota last year.)

“What if you could get Cane’s [or one of those other eateries] to sponsor your trip,” my friend said, half-jokingly, adding that I’d have “This trip and these pictures sponsored by Raising Cane’s” written on every post from that trip.

Wow, interesting!  Now, let’s expand that to any kind of sponsorship, like that of corporations or organization that award grants to artists.  Do any of you know anything about this?  Do any of you work for such an organization?  Or, if you work for a regular for-profit corporation, does it have a, for lack of a better term, “philanthropy department”?  Perhaps such an agreement would include me allowing the donating organization to use for its own purposes some of the pictures that I make on the trip for which funds were donated, ideally with credit to me and links back to my site(s).

I know that many of you find a value in my work beyond just a pretty picture.  I hope that my pictures educate as much as they entertain, make you think as much as they make you smile, and a big theme of my work is to show the things that you otherwise would not see, to get past the pervasive “shut up and consume” mentality.  That is basic geography education.

My upcoming travel plans take me to probably no more than two general areas, but if I had more cash, I’d expand that!  I wouldn’t ask to be “paid” to take the trip (though that would really be great if it could happen), but do you know of any way that I could get flight costs, rental car costs, hotel costs (which I probably won’t need if I go to only the two areas that I mention, since I’d be staying with people I know), and perhaps gasoline costs reimbursed or outright paid for through some short of grant partnership or something? along with me willingly stamping that organization’s name and website throughout the posts covering the areas where the travel was made and linking to that company’s Facebook page in my Facebook posts on the matter?

Joycelyn and I recently discussed this topic in our mid-February meeting, but neither of us have made much headway, apparently.


Thursday March Madness

. . . because I’m apparently incapable of making alliteration using the word “Thursday” and can’t think of anything that rhymes with it either.

Anyway, here’s what I saw after physical therapy and a trip to the grocery store on Thursday.  A job of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad was at Southport Junction, and I got out to take some pictures, which is good, since, as I said, sitting in an automobile for more than a few minutes is quite painful for me now (but not nearly as bad as it was two weeks ago.)

Cue the foamy indignation from some viewers in three . . . two . . . one . . .

Actually, in the above picture there are indeed some wrongs.  The automobile should have its headlights on, as I’ve told you once and I’ve told you twice, and the locomotive probably should not have its ditch lights on, since the train was stopped.

To my surprise, after a few blasts of the horn, the train started to shove back.  What?  What kind of switching could possibly be done on this line?

Yes, those are two UP-yellow locomotives behind the BNSF power.  I’m not really sure what’s happening here.

Since I needed to lie down and since I had perishable groceries in my truck, I didn’t bother to go and check to see if the crossing at Jefferson Highway was blocked.

That’s all that we have for this episode, and that’s a good thing anyway.

Until next time, take care of your back.



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tom Beckett March 22, 2013 at 09:06

Too bad about your back-not good. Back problems can be elusive to diagnose, and even more challenging to fix. Good luck!!

Regarding the photos from your last road trip, maybe a several posts spread out, but as you know, edit, edit, edit!!! When you have a lot of good stuff, it can be hard to be brutal in your selection, but it’s absolutely necessary. Still, I’d like to see the results of that trip, as I’m sure others would. Fifty shots in each post might be a little much. I bet 20 would work nicely.


2 Nathan Kaufman March 22, 2013 at 22:19


That back pain sounds terrible! Hopefully it can be diagnosed soon!

As for the rest of the post, first I must say this: Layne’s is better than Cane’s (Layne’s of College Station is a local chicken strip establishment with a similarly plain menu of deliciously unhealthy fried food, but truly is better). I invite you to come try it if you ever venture into central Texas.

Second, in both this shot and the shots from 2008, you got a very clean locomotive leading. The 8xxx series GE diesels are the newest GE’s on Union Pacific.

Third, photography therapy works well for me, I usually go out right after getting off work before going home, adding an extra 20 minutes or so (more if something looks interesting) to my commute).



3 Ross March 22, 2014 at 04:12

From MY perspective as a former railroad employee, it IS possible (if there were any sidings along the ROW) that the train just may have started backing to dispense with a car producing problems?
While hotboxes are virtually non-existent today, the possibility of a ‘kicker,’ a car which (under certain conditions) throws the air down on a train, causing extensive delays. Given that 3, 4 times, walking the whole train 3 or 4 times on a 90-100 mile run is NOT fun!
Given the same situation, had a car been repaired that was left in a siding on a previous day, may have been repaired by the (local) car knockers, and cleared for passage to ___ (next terminal).
While this is pure speculation on my part, I am not *that* familiar with the topography of the region. (e.g., where industry is/was, if they had a siding, etc).
Wishing you well during the healing process. I just recovered from surgery myself (12-2 OR date). So I CAN relate!
PROUD father of an American Soldier


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