April 2012 Sampler

by Jim on 2022/04/08

Greetings, and welcome to the April 2012 Sampler essay.  The circumstances surrounding this post make it different from any other of these “sampler” essays that I have published before.

Let me tell you why.  All of these sampler essays are published on the first day of the month in which they are published, but this one is the first exception.  The reason that this essay is deliberately not being published on the first day of the month – and the reason that it is being deliberately published on the eighth day of the month – is that the first eight days of it are also of my Spring Break 2012 Eastern Great Plains Road Trip.

Quite simply, I wanted to maintain the chronological flow of blog posts of the road trip that display in the archives, uninterrupted by any posts that were not of that road trip.  So, this post comes immediately after the last post from the trip both in the archives and on the home page, and it doesn’t link from any of the “PREVIOUS POST” or “NEXT POST” links in a way that interrupts the flow of the road-trip trip posts.

Furthermore, since there are blog posts with all of the pictures from each day of the trip, and since all of those posts that are from April are linked here, for the reader, there would be little utility in publishing the post on the first day of the month beyond offering a very brief synopsis of the trip, and, since I didn’t want to distract anyone’s attention from those decennial retrospective road-trip posts when they were new, that was another reason to postpone the publication of this essay.

The whole reason behind these “sampler” posts, in which I share only one presentable photograph from any day of the month in question in which I took at least one presentable photograph, is as a way of publishing at least a sample of what I was doing at a given time when I (still) don’t have time to process and write about all presented pictures from the dates in question.  So, even as I type this in April 2022, a decade after these pictures were taken, I still don’t have time to process all of these images, especially because I made a big exception for the Eastern Great Plains Road Trip because it remains personally very important to me.

The exception that I made for processing all of the pictures from the road trip essentially negates the point of the sampler essay – because the point of the sampler essay is that I don’t have time to process all of my images from the dates in question – or at least the part of it that covers the road trip, but I took other pictures in April 2012 after the road trip, and I’d just like to maintain this pattern at least for a year.

So, here we are!

Sunday, The 1st

On this Palm Sunday and April Fool’s Day, I may have been the fool, as I was in eastern Kansas under the, for lack of a better term, “guidance” of a blogger who had greatly influenced me but whom the Trump Phenomenon would later reveal to have dark, anti-social impulses.

In retrospect, I see that the signs had been there all along, but this day was still quite good.

Monday, The 2nd

Here is a late-afternoon scene at Exeter, Nebraska.

I did photograph some trains on this day, but the pictures are not great.

Tuesday, The 3rd

We are at Lake Benton, Minnesota, late in the afternoon, and we see a Canadian Pacific Railway loaded unit ethanol train moving eastbound.

This was a very memorable experience, and I remember this day well.

Wednesday, The 4th

This was such a great day.

That’s the iconic granger-road scene that we went there to get.

Thursday, The 5th

Of the few presentable images that I have taken in the state of Iowa, this image of Union Pacific Railroad’s Chicago-to-Council-Bluffs manifest train is probably the best.

I was hoping to do more on this day, but what I did was actually plenty.

Friday, The 6th

‘Twas on this day that I visited the effects of the big Missouri River flood that had happened in the prior summer.

It was a humbling experience.

Saturday, The 7th

On this day, I photographed almost no moving trains.  I got to Heavener, Oklahoma, only in time to get some pictures of parked Kansas City Southern Railway trains after dusk.

It was a bit of a lonely experience, really.

Sunday, The 8th

Here is a picture from atop Rich Mountain, just west of the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line.

That day, Easter Sunday, was a bit sad for me; it would be the last time in more than a decade that I awoke from spending a night outside of the state of Louisiana, even though, of course, I didn’t know it at the time, but I did sense that my traveling days were ending.

Friday, The 13th

Back in southern Louisiana, essentially permanently, I was back at work at my new newspaper job and beginning a routine of making Friday-afternoon runs back to my little apartment in old Jefferson that would end only when I quit this job that November in part due to the costs associated with this routine.  Here is the first train that I photographed after the big Eastern Great Plains Road Trip.

I would photograph two more trains later that day.

Saturday, The 14th

I went to French Quarter Fest.

I was trying to “work” here, because, apparently, I cannot much enjoy this kind of stuff.

Wednesday, The 18th

Here is the Chip Local – Union Pacific Railroad train LLS51 – moving eastbound with 34 cars at Melodia Plantation.

The first five cars are empty gondolas that the train grabbed directly from a customer (likely, Patterson Tubular) or more than one customer in the Morgan City area, and the rest of the train is an interchange pickup from the Louisiana & Delta Railroad, all carbon-black loads from Saint Mary Parish except for three cars – two hopper cars and a boxcar – loaded with rice from the rice mill in Abbeville.

Thursday, The 19th

Here is a westbound BNSF Railway intermodal train at the Greenwood Bridge in Morgan City.

This train would have been coming from BNSF’s intermodal facility in Bridge City, which has since been closed.

Friday, The 20th

One week after the 13th, I am back at the same location, as it is a Friday afternoon, and I am headed back east to Whoadieland.  Once again, I catch a westbound train at Kraemer Road.

Prior to getting this shot, I had gotten some other shots of westbound trains to the west of here as I was on my eastward journey.

Saturday, The 21st

The street trackage on Madison Street in Gretna is being replaced.

This is the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway.

Sunday, The 22nd

I remember this day well.  It was a bad day.  What made it worse, though, is how I was treated for a costly mistake that I made, and what I learned about how being treated that way by the same persons when I was younger had such a negative effect on my emotional development.

That is UP train AARWX – Automotive, Arlington, Texas, to Waycross, Georgia – a few miles from being interchanged to the CSX in New Orleans, and it’s at a photo location that you can’t do anymore due to the damn fence on the new bridge there.

Monday, The 23rd

Back at the Greenwood Bridge in Morgan City, here I am shooting UP train ZATLC moving westward.

I would get out of work in the afternoon, and there were the trains.

It happened again two days later!

Wednesday, The 25th

For my final image of April 2012, I am once again back at the Greenwood Bridge in Morgan City, this time photographing BNSF Railway train M-CSXLAL.

I remember that promising-but-difficult time well.

That’s all for the pictures of what was very much a memorable month.  I am relieved that the next month’s sampler essay will not be as intense.



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