The Journey Was The Point

by Jim on 2022/09/29

Jimbaux knows it's everybody's sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Laura Delta Ian

A Sanity-Restoring Expedition

These are far from my best photographs, but that doesn’t really matter, because getting good photographs was not the point of this outing. As often happens this time of year in my life after the years of my summers of intense travels, I had a bad case of cabin fever leading into today, and the reason that today was the day to break it is that the weather has finally cooled off a bit.

So, I went and tried to get the train in Lake Charles. Because my whole damn life right now is a detour, I detoured through Bell City, and I stopped to get some shots of where the old Southern Pacific Lake Arthur Branch was.

These two views are westward views along the old roadbed of the branch, seen at left, at 4th Street. North Railroad Avenue is on the right.

I arrived at Harbor Yard in Lake Charles at 8:49, and I immediately took a piss. I did not see any trains, and there was like maybe one car far to the eastern end of the yard. It felt weird being back here in Lake Charles. On the way here, I really didn’t see any damage from Hurricane Laura except for that old fish meal place that the railroad served at Homewood. I was listening to KRVS out of Lafayette, the public radio station, because it’s the only good thing that I can catch well over here.

Realizing That I Arrived Here Too Late

Oh, crap! As I crossed the track southbound on 5th Avenue on my way west, I saw a headlights in the yard to the east. That means that I missed the train! Dammit!

I still headed west just on the off chance that something else is coming from the east, because that has happened before and because the picture of any train coming west right now would be terrible. Again, the real purpose of this trip was the trip itself, I have been having cabin fever so badly lately, not just because I’ve hardly left my current prison and never gone farther away than about 25 miles since May, but also because we are stuck in that awful tiny abode.

This is the first time that I go to Lake Charles or anywhere west of Rayne since February. I was just happy to be driving around and walking around here, and I wanted to make that drive of Highway 14 from Kaplan this way, hence the reason that that interesting route was taken.

That was the real primary point of the trip.

I got to the port at 09:04 CDT, and I saw the GMTX 106, the little blue switch locomotive, and it did not appear to be moving. I saw no other locomotives there and not many cars out by the eastern side of the port. I saw a whole bunch of lumber to the southern side of the port. I believe that what I’m going to need to do is do the broadside shot of the westbound train at Lake street, or maybe not, since it’s probably going to be light power, but maybe I should photograph it anyway since it will be my first train in three and a half months. This may be the longest period of my life that I have gone without seeing a train.

On 106.9 FM, I was hearing the Aerosmith song “Dream On”. I believed this morning that the title of today’s post should be “Laura Delta Ian”, since Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta feature prominently in my perception of Lake Charles and environs and since Hurricane Ian is happening right now.

So, whatever, I got some lame shots of the light power moving back to the yard.

Yeah, I, too, am not impressed.

There is not much else that I can do here.

This is a westward view of the port.

So, now what?

I paced up and down on Marine Street until about 10:00, when I decided to give up on the possibility that I’d see any real action here and to leave, but I couldn’t decide exactly what to do.

So, let’s hang out here at the northeastern corner of the port while we ponder what to do.

This should not be too difficult, Jim.

The first place to go is definitely to the old SP yard, but I don’t know what to do after that. I actually thought that maybe I should go to Dequincy! That would be strange, but it wouldn’t be out of the question. I just don’t know that it would be a good use of time and gasoline, though. Being that it’s this early and I don’t have a clear thing to do here, what I could do is make my way back via Highway 14 and enjoy the sights and sounds that way. What I think that I’m going to do, however, is go to Crowley and have a look around there then from there go to Gueydan. Yes, that is what I will do.

Do Something Else, Jim

So, now, I am driving along Shell Beach Drive.

I’m just pointing the tablet computer out of the window.

I am just snapping shots while driving.

I guess that this is interesting.

No, it’s not all that interesting.

Okay, that’s done, thankfully. 😬

That tall building in Downtown Lake Charles still is missing the windows that were blown out in Hurricane Laura. I had to detour around the western side of the convention center, by the lake, because the road on the eastern side, I guess Ryan Street, was closed. It made me think of the social studies convention that I attended here in 2009.

When I passed by the Amtrak depot and the Sunset Route main line, I was thinking about seeing the UP 4014 steam locomotive here a year ago, and I’m also thinking about how it’s a huge propaganda move for the railroad given all of the other shady stuff that it’s doing.

At 10:10, I was by the old SP yard, and I saw UP 1606 switching in the yard west of the Shattuck Street overpass. There was a GP60 parked at the locomotive house. Then, I went to Mallard Junction and New Yard, where there was nothing to see, before going to the rice mill before getting out of town

I have been thinking about how I have been feeling like I am renewed and somehow empowered to do things now due to the cooling of the temperatures, the fall weather. I have been thinking about how I am the opposite of most people in that I do not associate spring the spring season of the year with renewal. I associated it with the opposite of renewal.

I associate the onset of fall weather with renewal, as I feel like I can accomplish things now. It’s both because I live in a hot area and because I’m autistic. However, I think that it’s been especially pronounced this year and even last year because we have been stuck in a cramped space in which I cannot accomplish much, whereas if I would be in a bigger and more spacious place, I would be able to concentrate and accomplish things more.

Here we are at the rice mill.

I counted 22 cars here, four of which were boxcars, the rest being hopper cars.

I want to slap the piss out of the jerks who deface these cars with their stupid graffiti.

This is what remains of the old Missouri Pacific Railroad mainline into town.

Well, that’s all for my brief visit to Lake Charles today. It’s time to head back eastward.

A Wrong Turn, Learning From The Mistake, And A Near Miss

I took a wrong turn off of I-10 coming into Eagan and went southward on a dead end road that dead ended near the bayou. I had never been there before, and I learned of something new, though I would soon learn that it may have cost me more than a little bit of time and gasoline.

I had intended to take Highway 91, which I ended up taking anyway.

About 67 minutes after the prior picture, here I am in Crowley, at another rice mill.

Apparently, I just missed the Acadiana Railway train leaving the mill to go back northward. Had I not made that wrong turn off of I-10, although it was a good mistake given that I learned from it and went to some places I hadn’t been before, I may have been able to arrive in town just in time enough to have gotten a a glimpse of the train.

I talked to some gentleman who lives in a house just west of the track and just north of West Hutchinson Avenue and asked him if the train had passed, and he said that, yes, it had, at about 11:00. He knew that it still ran on Tuesday and Thursday.

No matter, though, because I am most Satisfied by the knowledge that it still maintaining the Tuesday-Thursday schedule, which will be useful in the future when I try to come dedicate a morning to chasing this particular train.

I really need to eat better. I ate from the Taco Bell in Crowley.

Next, I headed west a little way on US Highway 90 until I got to Midland and turned south on Louisiana Highway 91.

I somewhat wished that I was a little bit closer to Lake Arthur because I might go sit in the park over there. I’m not really sure what I’m going to accomplish at Gueydan, but we shall see.

A Sedating Diversion

But Gueydan is not where I next stopped.

Morse is.

There is this neat park and walking trail right where the Midland Branch railroad line was.

I really wish that I could have seen the neat trains that passed here.

The current branch to Abbeville, which itself has been dormant for more than two years since the closure of the rice mill in Abbeville, was part of – and, by some, still is called – this Midland Branch.

This next view is just to the west of the right of way.

The track would have passed right through where this pavilion is and between the two rows of trees.

This was a railroad from New Iberia to Eunice, and the funniest thing about it was that, even though it was an SP branch, it crossed the SP mainline at Midland.

You can see where the track was in the road crossing there.

The rails are still there!

The track was removed 40 years ago!

This branchline connected with the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad at Eunice, at least until about 1976.

I would love to see a train with a Rock Island boxcar mixed with some SP hopper cars moving along this line.

Oh, well, this is little Morse, Louisiana.

It’s very USian.

This was originally a railroad from Eunice to Gueydan.

I think that it was about in 1901 when a line from Gueydan to Abbeville was built, creating the Midland Branch.

That makes sense, because it would be weird to design from the start a branchline that crosses your own mainline.

I just tried to relax a little bit while I was here.

The air was cool, the shade was nice, and this was just something different.

Oh, well, so long, Morse; maybe I will return some time.

Finally, I am in Gueydan.

That’s a neat little place.

I wonder what the story behind this place is.

That’s all for the pictures today.

I may go to this other “Anytime” to avoid the obnoxiously noisy one closest to me.

Maybe I will get some better pictures this train season.

We shall see!


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