He’s Eclectic to say the very least. He’s passionate about loads of old stuff. Boler Trailers, old buses, old farm equipment..mines, farms, make it old and Chris is fascinated. Probably why he puts up with ME.
He also climbs like a billy goat along with his effervescent “Lady Connie”, can write incredibly long blog posts, finds missing people and fixes old telephones. Yup, he’s an enigma. Chris managed to finagle a trip on the Locomotive from Forestburg, Alberta, north to around Camrose. It’s something he’s wanted to do for a long, long time. I was elected the be the chase car, albeit there wasn’t a ton of chasing to do. The train averages about 10-25 miles per hour. Some independents bought the train, Chris could correct me on this… operate it as a small, local line of about 125 miles length for hauling grain, etc. Here’s a link to the Battle River Railway Page for the specifics.
We were told to be at the point of departure by 7:30 AM, and we were. Got into the Rail Office had some coffee and then it was off to the building where the Locomotives were waiting. I know nothing of trains but this thing was absolutely gigantic! We got the nickel tour and soon enough they were ready to leave. I had loaded my backpack with all two tons of gear and brought along the Fuji XE-2 for the ‘bang-em-out’ shots. I never used my big stuff.
Chris tossed his key to me, asked if I was OK, we’d keep in touch by ‘text’ and soon they lumbered out of sight. I’m telling you, it was cold, bleak, wet, thoroughly miserable and dreary out. A perfect Pain In The Ass day to stay in the Motel. No worries, John.
We took Chris’ car up there… easy on gas and a ‘stick’. I KNOW how to drive stick, had a few of them over the years, but then STUPID came a calling. I put the key in the ignition, foot on the brake and the car won’t start. Try again. still not feeling the love. Try again it’s getting colder and colder. No luck, this is not going to be my day, slumped, frozen solid over the steering wheel, windows completely fogged over. The prospect of spending a very unpleasant day in a small car, playing frozen fish fillet was not going to happen but I, in my infinite ‘Duh’ moment, had no idea what to do to remedy the situation. Then I decided to call Jim, the owner of the ‘Forestburg Motor Inn’. Helluva’ a guy. God Bless Cell Phones, even on the Rogers Network which completely blows out west.
Jim-“Where are you?” John-“At the Grain Elevator.” Jim- “Okay I’m on the way.”
In about 4 minutes Jim shows up get’s in the car and fires it right up in three seconds flat… “How long has it been since you’ve driven a stick?” Me- “Quite a long time.” Jim-“You have to push in the Clutch”.
Sometimes? You just can’t FIX S-T-U-P-I-D.
As the old saying goes… “All’s Well That Ends Well.” Chris was all snuggly in his toaster oven hot Locomotive, living his dream. Me? I was all snuggly with a few shots of Maker’s Mark and a warm Motel bed. Still I managed to grab a couple of shots of these behemoths. You can’t begin to comprehend the size of these until you’re climbing all over them. They took the lovely Yellow and Blue one. I took the clean white bedsheets and the nice, warm comforter.
John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots