July 2011 Sampler

by Jim on 2021/07/01

Welcome to the July 2011 Sampler.

“Just come home,” Dad wrote to me on the afternoon of 29 June 2011 in response to my description of my situation and my options.

So, I relented and, less than a month later, came home, and it was such an obviously correct decision in retrospect.

So, this post includes pictures taken in Maryland, the District Of Columbia, and Virginia, the way back home to Louisiana through the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, and then back home in Louisiana.

Friday, The 1st

I was in Rockville, Maryland, on my way to a little pool party, or something like that, and I got some MARC action.

This picture is another good example of the frustration of finding decent railroad action and getting decent railroad pictures in and near the Nation’s capital.

Sunday, The 3rd

Knowing that I probably wouldn’t be in this area for much longer, and wanting to really explore this area so central to the earlier history of our country, I made a trek up the Potomac River and got plenty of pictures, including this view of CSX train Q217 in Brunswick, Maryland.

The parking lot seems to be for a MARC station.

Tuesday, The 5th

This is an old former Rock Island GP7 working at some aggregate facility in LaPlata, Maryland.

I love high-nose first-generation diesel-electric locomotives.

Friday, The 8th

Here is a view up Pennsylvania Avenue NW toward the US Capitol building.

I looked at it different then than I had six months before.

Wednesday, The 13th

I was in Alexandria, Virginia, I cannot remember why, and I got some shots on the NS at Van Dorn.

That this is the best that you can do in railroad photography around here, while shooting through a fence, no less, is something that deeply frustrated me about this place.

Thursday, The 14th

I went to a poetry reading thing near or on the campus of Howard University.

I wish that I felt more, I guess, but also felt less. It’s an autism thing, I think.

Friday, The 15th

I was again at Van Dorn, two days after visiting here before.

Look at the caboose at right!

Sunday, The 17th

So began my last week in the “DMV” area, and, a decade later as I type this, I have not returned and don’t see myself ever returning to the area, perhaps not even for a brief visit, even to pass through on the way to somewhere else.

In what was apparently the last time that I took out my camera to take pictures before departing Thursday for home, I went to the Saint Denis MARC station, a local hangout for railroad enthusiasts, to watch a few trains and chit chat. I got a few pictures then and there.

I am grateful for the experience and, thus, grateful for the people who helped to create it, even though I may not have sufficiently expressed such gratitude back then.

Thursday, The 21st

On this day, I drove by the US Capitol building, leaving the area behind me for good, to start my homeward journey. I stopped in Bristol, Virginia, and Bristol, North Carolina, on my way southward.

Yes, the state line is in the middle of the street. I think that I went there as a kid.

That night, I slept in Chattanooga at the home of a friend.

Friday, The 22nd

On this day, I took a crazy amount of pictures in four US states: Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I made my first (and, still, only) visit to Debutts Yard, the big Norfolk Southern Railway hump yard in Chattanooga, Tennessee; I then got some train pictures in three places across northeastern and western-central Alabama; then, in Mississippi, in the later afternoon, I got plenty of pictures of Kansas City Southern Railway activity in Meridian and Hattiesburg; finally and climactically, in Louisiana at dusk, I ended this whole six-months experience in a most appropriate way by getting a set of silhouetted images of Amtrak’s Crescent crossing Lake Pontchartrain at dusk.

It’s all kind of embarrassing, actually. I guess that it had to happen, which is why I guess that I should be glad that it happened, but I am glad that it’s well into the past, too.

Monday, The 25th

Well, the future turned out to be the past, too, and not just in the obvious literal sense. Homesick, I most suddenly appreciated the Chip Local and my remaining homeland railroads like never before, and, for the next few weeks, until I started a full-time job at my old school-district employment, I developed, partly due to the half-serious advice from a friend, a habit of photographing the train, the Union Pacific Railroad’s local train out of Avondale to Morgan City, every day, despite the heat and the high-sun at this time of year.

The first of these was on Monday, The 25th of July; this was the first freight train that I photographed in Louisiana in six months.

Again, though, the future turned out to be the past. That afternoon, I went to the old sacred restaurant with the old hometown friend; sadly, though, not only did that largely die by a year later, at least partly my own fault, but, more sadly, nine years later, when he tried to reach out to resume these meetings, he revealed himself to be a Trump apologist, killing any efforts toward reconciliation that I might make.

Notice that I didn’t say “killing my desire for reconciliation,” because I still want reconciliation, but I want them to not be that way. I want them – I am switching pronouns here, because, now, I am referring to everyone in my life whom I had once respected who revealed his or her true dark selves in the Trump era – to be what I thought that they had been.

That has been one of the most difficult things to have learned, that people whom I knew and loved were so complicit in such antilove, such evil and horror.

Wednesday, The 27th

I have no memory of what I was doing in New Orleans on this day, but, on this day, I made my first freight-train picture in New Orleans in more than half of a year.

That is the CSX or New Orleans Public Belt moving the CSX-to-KCS interchange traffic southbound on the NOPB at Florida Avenue.

Friday, The 29th

On this day, I continued the practice that I had started that Monday, of going out into the humid heat to see and photograph the Chip Local, usually behind the Amtrak Sunset Limited, as I did on this day.

The below image is one that was not originally included in the original post when it was published in 2011.

At left, as the #1 approaches in the distance, those are some cars for the BNSF Railway to pick up.

Well, that’s all for this monumental month. The rest of 2011, too, is pretty interesting, but it’s all from southern Louisiana.

That’s fine, though.


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