Life of Carmen, Politics & Activism, Upaya Zen Center

Albuquerque Amtrak blues

I rode the Rail Runner from Santa Fe to Albuquerque (with bike), then Amtrak to Gallup, New Mexico. To visit Ruth-Claire on the Navajo rez, just over the state line in Ft. Defiance, Arizona. In Albuquerque I pedalled the sturdy Diamondback over a long red bicycle bridge spanning the wide Rio Grande, spectacular in fall colours with the Sandia mountains rising up behind. Before I left Santa Fe someone told me the place was “an armpit” – and such is the view, of most any place, from behind the wheel of the cage. Albuquerque is really a rad town, as only a town explored by bike can be.

And the train through the desert, well!—isn’t that just the way. No billboards or strip malls or gas stations, no interstate monotony. Just me in my glass spaceship gliding along the rails, fully exposed to the horizonless mesalands and the intimate backsides of cities and towns. Children waving, dogs barking, horses and graffiti and laundry flapping on lines. Blues guitar soundtrack with low trainwhistle and steel wheels soft chunkachunk. Flying free.

8 Comments on “Albuquerque Amtrak blues

  1. Man, that went round in my head for 5 minutes till I remembered:

    Life is sad, life is a bust
    All you can do is do what you must
    You do what you must do, and you do it well
    I’d do it for you, honey baby can’t you tell?

    which was in a cardboard box somewhere in my teenage consciousness, and still all sparkly when you blow the dust off – not that life is a bust of course, happy songs with sad lyrics, you just listen to what the voice is telling you not the words –

    when those lovely little moments happen I very seldom reach for the camera, thinking “gotta share this”. Well thank you for sharing that blast of sunshine – that’s got to be the best way to go in America!

  2. i agree carmen — possibly the best part about taking the Amtrak is the lack of interstate corporate visual markers.

  3. i like waving at children who are waving at me. well, they don’t even have to wave first. i generally love waving at children.

  4. Sure makes me wish we had rail travel up here! Legitimate, viable rail travel – even out to the Fraser Valley for starters. sigh. And not that lock-out, worker-busting fraud of a rip-off co. that is Rocky Mtn. >:p Way to ride the rails, Carmen! Sounds like a fun trip. Seems like you’re having a good time down south! Ride on..!

  5. i just booked a ticket for home on feb 9, albuquerque to vancouver – $203! which includes train to San Luis Obispo, then i’ll stay overnight there at the hostel and go for a walk on the beach, then SLO to vancouver next day. If I went direct it would be $184 – what an outrageous deal.

    the way amtrak works is, fares go up as each train fills…so it gets more expensive as the date approaches…(good idea)…but you can reserve online and cancel any time before the trip with full refund. so if you think you MIGHT want to do the choochoo thing…book it now!

    a couple of years back i did amtrak from vancouver to toronto for $212. there’s just no more enjoyable, beautiful, relaxing and CHEAP way to travel. Of course i am small so if i get 2 seats together i got me a comfy bed…but i hear that sometimes you can get cheap deals on sleepers at the last minute, if they’re not all booked.

    I am jus hoping and for the next big spike in oil prices to come very soon, so that the north american rail revival will happen sooner rather than later (it is inevitable but oh, so overdue).

    amtrak is the USA’s best kept secret. toot toot!

  6. “I am jus hoping and for the next big spike in oil prices to come very soon” made me smile all the more.

    How many of us think along the lines of “peak oil?! Woo hoo!” The big danger is that fracking, tar sands and deep drilling will push back peak oil by some decades. I don’t think a lot of people get that.

    Thanks for the train info!

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