Friday, June 29, 2007

Badlands and Hebrew National

I’ve spent the morning just enjoying the passing countryside and chatting with my fellow passengers. We went through a section that looked like the backdrop for a John Ford movie. I noticed a reference to The Badlands on a sign we pass, but I think this must be the northern most reaches of that famed place. It was pretty as the Missouri River has begun following us – or we, it.

We passed through the town of Wolf Point, MT located in the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation. Apparently the Bureau of Indian Affairs located two tribes on the land – two tribes that have been warring for past three centuries – very clever. The only relatively prosperous thing in Wolf Point was the Indian Casino. We’ve passed a number of them on this stretch.

I stopped down in the club car and had a hot dog and root beer for lunch. We are now in Mountain Time, but I am not sure where my stomach is. I wasn’t real hungry and the hot dog did the trick. And yes, the club car features microwaved Hebrew National hot dogs, just like you can get in Brooklyn. The only bad side was the French’s mustard; you gotta have Gulden’s with a HN dog!

I chatted with another poor soul in the club car. He is traveling from Meriden, CT to Shelby, MT on Amtrak. He was on the same train from Springfield, MA and the Lake Shore Limited from Albany. He’s riding coach and told me hasn’t slept since leaving Connecticut. He was anxiously trying to find a signal on his cell phone so he can call his folks and arrange for a pickup. His service provider, one I have never heard of, was not providing a signal. BTW, I had wonderful Verizon Wireless service all of the way across North Dakota. That ended with the move across the boarder into MT. Now I am roaming and have one bar. I’ve turned the phone off and put in on the charger. Maybe I will get a VZW signal when we get to East Glacier.

The young man tells me his parents left Connecticut several months ago quite suddenly to get away from the violence, and moved to Helena, MT. I think there must be safer places a lot closer to Connecticut, but to each his own. Mom and Pop headed out there without jobs or any prospects. The most economical way for son to get there is via train and have the folks drive three hours up from Helena to pick him up. When I see him later in the day he still has not gotten the phone to work.

I ran into Boyd again. He and his wife is doing fine. He told me the lady running the snack bar in the club car used to work at South Station in Boston; she recognized him. Small world.

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