Making Tracks An American Rail Odyssey By Terry Pindell Soft Cover 1990 399 Page For Sale


Making Tracks An American Rail Odyssey By Terry Pindell Soft Cover 1990 399 Page

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Making Tracks An American Rail Odyssey By Terry Pindell Soft Cover 1990 399 Page:
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RailroadTreasures offers the following item: Making Tracks An American Rail Odyssey By Terry Pindell Soft Cover 1990 399 Page Making Tracks An American Rail Odyssey By Terry Pindell Soft Cover 1990 399 Pages I SPENT most of 1988 riding long-distance passenger trains through- out America. I traveled them all-all twenty-one Amtrak routes, thirty thousand miles-through all but three states, with debarcations in virtually every major city in the country and special visits to some smaller towns with strong memories of a bygone era. When I first began this odyssey, I had no idea what I was looking for. I wanted to see the country from a vantage point that today is not well known, to immerse myself in the mode of travel that dominated the greatest eras of the country's growth, to see if the rail routes would lead me to integration of past and present, of history and headlines, of mind and memory. I wanted to travel the entire country without ever eating in a fast-food restaurant, spending money in a mall, driving on an interstate, or waiting in an airport. I was inspired by William Least Heat Moon, who discovered America by following the blue highways, and by Dayton Duncan, who rediscovered the west by following the route of Lewis and Clark in a VW camper. I aspired to extend their explorations by riding the steel rails. The object of my quest emerged as I traveled. The view of the American landscape from the rails invokes the theory that history progresses through revolutionary leaps rather than slow evolution. Once people left the shores of the Atlantic, it was the routes of the railroad that radically shaped the face and drew the map of America that became, for a time, a reference point, a platform for the next leap. Since the heyday of the railroad, we have leaped again; but the routes of the railroads delineate the shape of America at the last still point before we embarked on our current trajectory. I discovered in my travels that I was seeking the remnants of this platform, like looking for the germinal railroad station in a city where all travel now runs through the airport and interstates outside of town. I finally found what I didn't know I was looking for-a lost grail of our American selves that sobered me with the price we have paid for our success. I also found something I wasn't looking for: the people who travel by train. The decision to take the extra time to travel by train implies a certain set of worldviews and priorities that indeed define a subculture. Only a small proportion of these people are what one would call rail buffs. Rather the steel-riders represent a colorful spectrum of American life united by a common willingness to slow the pace of their lives, to defy modern travel convention, to see their country by taking "the road less traveled." Take the lounge-car testimony of one steel-rider over that of a herd of travelers by air or concrete-he has seen the country and he has something to say about it. So here are two stories: one of the historical American landscape defined by the passenger rail routes that shaped it; the other of the people who travel those lines today. I might have written two books, but for the delightful surprise that, so often, the two tell the same tale.
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