My other sites:

Following Louisiana's & Mississippi's Historic Railroads
http://oldrrs-blog.blogspot.com/

My Ride Reports
http://my-ride-reports.blogspot.com/

Finding the Lumber Mill Railroads http://lumbermillrrs.blogspot.com/

Following the Historic Rails of Mississippi http://mississippirails.blogspot.com/

Amtrak Pictures Part 1

About 10% of my shots come out worth a darn. Then, those have to be touched up a bit.
This is the first group of Sunset Limited, Amtrak Line shots that fall into that category.
It is too bad that this blog is suppose to depict better photos because the others were in
good locations but no matter what I did, they didn't get gooder or even better.
Shots and short explanations below:

This one was taken beneath an overpass on US 90 west of Rayne.
I nailed the engine just before the shadow marred its face.
It was a rare timing marvel.
This was taken at long distance from Alligator Point above the Vermilion River trestle.
In the forefront is the E.Vermillion St. crossing.
The one behind it is the river's.
West of Crowley, stopped. A less than common one engine and short train arrangement
made this somewhat unique.
The picture isn't that good but the location is.
This slab is that of the old Crowley Southern Pacific depot.
Just before arrival at the Lafayette, La. depot. The tin building is the Gerami Furniture warehouse.
At the Lafayette Depot.
North of New Iberia, La.
East End Lafayette Yard.
Rayne, La. It is crossing the old bed of the Opelousas Gulf and North Eastern RR,
later the Texas and Pacific's that ran between Crowley and Melville, La.
West Switch, Lafayette Yard
Washington St., New Iberia in the rain.
Crossing the historic Jefferson Island Branch bed in New Iberia.
In the foreground is the lead to the beginning of the old
Missouri Pacific route to Port Barre (Frisco St.).

Patoutville Junction west of Jeanerette, La.
The other engine is Louisiana Delta 2009, affectionately known as "Mz Utah".
Westbound exiting the Baldwin Bridge.
Above Cade, La.
AMTK 66 is a specially painted engine commemorating the birth of Amtrak, maybe.
There are 4 such painted engines.
Trains Magazine has an article which featured this hard working unit.
Pulling a special train of historic cars.  West Switch Lafayette Yard.
That was shortly followed by a confrontation with a Norfolk Southern crew.

In the rain at Camp Pratt below Cade, La.
Stepping back.
A rare 3 engine set at the Lafayette Depot.
Waiting at the Lafayette Yard, East 101 Switch.
New Iberia, La.
Old Spanish Trail west of Midland, La.
West Switch, Lafayette Yard
I distinctly heard "Hit the starter again". {Note that he had the "hood" open.}
Cade, La.
Hanson Canal Rd., New Iberia, La.
Wax Lake Outlet Bridge, east of Franklin, La.
Same
Down and Dirty, Alligator Point, Lafayette, La.

That's it until the next batch.


Tuesday's Eastbound Arrivals


 Train 1 entered the Lafayette, La. Yard.
I understood the train behind this one tell Train 1's crew that it would "catch the switch".
 
  By the way, the Train 2 crew-person had a female voice.
Possibly the sweetness of the the Train 1 crewman was due to this factor.
This train came to a halt after it had cleared the switches right in front of the office to await the 
outbound crew. The track warrant would be on board.
 I ran west to Debonair Rd. to catch Train 2 coming in, the one that would "catch the switch".
 The presence of CSX engines on these rails has a story. 
The source of the CSX engine is probably through New Orleans.
 The trains approach the yard slowly. Debonair is a great place for photography in the afternoon.
 I pursued it back to Pecan Grove Rd. This is the west mouth of the Lafayette Yard.
 I noticed something orange on the front of the lead engine.

 The Kodak's zoom worked reasonably well, this time. 
Ralph was obviously looking for the switch.
 Adding his hat and sunglasses were needed.
 He found it and marched off to take care of business.
 The purpose of these pictures was not to invade Ralph's privacy. 
They are being shown to help the layman understand what dwarfs man is in the world of these behemoths.
L&D RR 2009 aka Mz Utah, waited for the smoke to clear 
before proceeding to the yard from the BR Branch.
I went home.



Johnny Ramone and The Ramones


 I questioned how I should start this page.
I should go easy.
No
The Ramone's music is Smash Mouth Rock and Roll
No quarter.
No excuses. It is Alive.
I can't understand how anyone could dislike the Ramones.
They are not threatening, they don't spit and safety pins are what holds their blue jeans together.
So, make some coffee and take a look. You may have missed them in another life. Don't do that again.
Must View You Tube Links
It's Alive (The Rainbow)

 77 First Part England

 77 Second Part England

  77 Third Part England
More later.

I'll start by concentrating on the lead guitar player.
He was a clean living, country loving Republican.
The others are a little more complicated.

Johnny Ramone: Rebel in a rebel’s world
By

The Washington Times

Thursday, March 11, 2004


For 100 nights a year over three decades, punk-rock guitarist Johnny Ramone stood with his head down, face in an intense scowl of concentration, legs shoulder-width apart, hammering at his blue Mosrite with a blurry right hand. The cacophony was pure bliss, a white noise ringing that punched holes in all that was peaceful, shards of the power chords busting into little aural stars, like the lights you see when you smack your head, only in your ears.

It was such good, loud pain.

Johnny dropped his job as a construction worker in 1974 and held down stage right for 22 years as the guitarist for the most influential rock band of the last 30 years. The Ramones fertilized the punk-rock scene first in their hometown of New York City, then in England. Eventually — who knew? — that sound would form the chassis for what the corporate rock industry later dubbed “alternative” and, eventually, infiltrated top 40.

He was a rebel in a rebel’s world, though. Johnny Ramone was a fiercely Republican-voting, NRA-supporting musician in a milieu that is remarkable for its embrace of all things left.

Johnny went worldwide public with his partisanship in 2002, when the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At the microphone to give props to the people who made it all possible, he offered his own version of a Michael Moore moment.

“God bless President Bush, and God bless America,” he said, clad in his trademark T-shirt, ripped blue jeans and leather jacket.

“I said that to counter those other speeches at the other awards,” Mr. Ramone says in a phone interview. “Republicans let this happen over and over, and there is never anyone to stick up for them. They spend too much time defending themselves.”

Johnny Ramone is at an easy point in his life, where “Blitzkrieg Bop” can be heard at sporting events as rev music and where the Ramones are widely cited as one of the most influential bands in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.

They never had a hit single, and none of their 14 original studio albums ever went gold. The Ramones did it because they loved it and had something to say.

“It was a job, and I was just doing my job,” Mr. Ramone says now.

The Ramones were so far ahead of their time that Johnny Ramone makes more money each year, thanks to Ramones tunes used in advertisements, discerning record buyers paying their debt to history and the increasing number of Ramones reissues.

“I’m just honored that people still like us and people are still nice to me,” he says, 55 years old and very retired in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, Linda, and their three cats.

He sold his guitars and amps when the Ramones finally got out of the van after 2,263 live shows.

L.A. is 3,000 miles from Queens, N.Y., where he was raised as John Cummings, but he is never far from his legacy. People still know him when they see him, even though he disputes his own celebrity.

“I really can’t believe that my career has gone like it has,” he says. “I don’t need much more money, and I thought that when I retired that nobody would want to talk to me anymore. Then I did, and people still want to talk to me.” He pals around with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, tooling about in his black Cadillac DeVille, “a good American car,” Johnny says proudly.

He is an avid film buff, and he watches two flicks a day — sci-fi, horror or anything intense — and his private collection numbers 4,000.

He reads mostly books on film and baseball. He still buys music, “old rock ‘n’ roll, ‘50s is my favorite,” he says. “I also get some early ‘70s stuff, punk stuff, but I think I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel now.” He won’t play any Ramones, but Linda does.

“Constantly,” he says, with a weary resignation.

“Yeah, the first five albums,” she says. The two click on politics though.

“I grew up a Republican,” she says. “My family was the only Italian family in Queens that voted for Nixon instead of Kennedy.”

Johnny was driven right by a youthful revulsion against, um, face-ism. “It was in 1960, the Nixon-Kennedy election,” he says, recalling his first inclination toward the right. He was an only child of Irish heritage in a working-class neighborhood. Families on his block voted left, pro-union. “People around me were saying, ‘Oh, Kennedy’s so handsome,’ and I thought, ‘Well, if these people are going to vote for someone based on how he looks, I don’t want to be party to that.’”

For his news now, he hits the Drudge Report and Newsmax.com, Fox News’ “Hannity and Colmes,” and “The O’Reilly Factor.” He listens daily to Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved. In L.A., people spend a lot of time in their cars, and he uses that time to educate himself, he says.

His list of favorite Republicans should humble the Republican National Committee, or at least get him invited to a GOP fund-raiser: Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Charlton Heston, [actor and close friend] Vincent Gallo, Ted Nugent, Messrs. Limbaugh and Hannity, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Wayne and Tom DeLay.

He relishes agitating his left-wing peers — and has since the band started in 1974.

“Oh yeah, they really get upset,” Johnny says. “I remember in 1979 doing an interview for Creem magazine with [famed rock and roll scribe, now deceased] Lester Bangs and telling him that Ronald Reagan will be the next president. He was really mad that I liked Reagan, who was the greatest president of my lifetime. So I turned it around on him and asked to see his commie card. In fact, ever after that, I would ask him for his card. I think he had one, really.”

The other day, when Stray Cats bassist Slim Jim Phantom was complaining about his tax bill, Johnny reminded him that the charges would be higher if President Bush hadn’t gotten his tax cuts passed. “I told him he needs to vote Republican to keep his taxes lower … and donate to President Bush’s campaign,” he says.

“I try to make a dent in people when I can,” he says. “I figure people drift toward liberalism at a young age, and I always hope that they change when they see how the world really is.”

He has found few allies in show business, but one stands out as a fellow renegade and conservative: Mr. Gallo, an actor, director and musician. “What’s radical about saying you are for the poor?” Mr. Gallo, 41, demands. “Johnny Ramone has never been like that. He is incredibly authentic as both a musician and a person. I respect him not because we agree on a lot of things but because he is an individual.” They bonded over [former New York Yankees star pitcher] Ron Guidry, cinema and politics.

Not that Mr. Ramone’s friends must pass an ideological litmus test. He still holds ideological hopes for the relentlessly liberal Mr. Vedder. When the Pearl Jam singer impaled a mask of Mr. Bush and slammed it to the stage at a Denver concert on the heels of the Iraq invasion last April, Johnny Ramone let him know that he thought it was a stupid move.

“I got serious with him and told him that he was alienating people,” Johnny says. “And I got him to see the point.” When Johnny Ramone tells you something is uncool, well, it is.

Harnessing chaos, humor and danger, the Ramones created the template of the rock ‘n’ roll revolution that was punk rock.

Even then, though, Johnny’s conservative side showed. When the band wanted to record “Chinese Rocks,” a song co-written by bassist Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny disapproved of the reference to a strain of dope that was prevalent at the time.

Ditto when the other guys in the band came up with “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” a tune disparaging Johnny’s beloved Mr. Reagan. (Sample lyric: “You’re a politician / Don’t become one of Hitler’s children.”) Both times, he lost. After all, a band is a democracy.

“But I really enjoyed upsetting them,” Johnny says of his former bandmates. “They called me the Rush Limbaugh of rock ‘n’ roll one time in a Village Voice interview. But, hey, they were just old hippies.” Two are dead now: Singer Joey succumbed to cancer in 2001 and Dee Dee to a heroin overdose in 2002. Longtime (but not original) Ramones drummer Marky still plays around in the underground scene.

Like so many other right-wingers. who are fed up with the media establishment, Johnny tunes in to the radio every day for some roiling rhetoric and to the Web for some news that doesn’t seem to make the local newspaper.

“Hey,” he says, perusing Newsmax.com as he speaks on the phone, “what’s going on with these illegal aliens now?”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/mar/11/20040311-085521-1823r/#ixzz2FEdMFRug
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter



Ramone died in 2004. This article is adapted from Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone (Abrams Image; April). © 2012 Johnny Ramone Army LLC.

For all my success with the Ramones, I carried around fury and intensity during my career. I had an image, and that image was anger. I was the one who was always scowling, downcast. I tried to make sure I looked like that when I was getting my picture taken.

When I was younger, I was ready to go off at any time. My wife, Linda, and I would go out to the Limelight in New York, and I would see people and be able to freeze them with a look. People were even too scared of me to tell me that people were scared of me.

I never felt out of control. It was just the way I lived my life. I was the neighborhood bully. I even beat up Joey, our singer, one time, before we were in the band. He was late to meet me—so I punched him. I was 21; he was 19. We were meeting up to go to a movie. There was no excuse for being late.

Tommy, Dee Dee, and I would go out to the clubs, which is really how the band got started. We were all friends. We had the same musical tastes, and we liked to get dressed up. Those were in the glitter days.


Johnny Ramone:

We lived in Forest Hills, and my parents were working class all the way. My father was from Brooklyn, he had three brothers, and they were all tough guys. They’d sit around our kitchen table and drink and talk about things like construction work and baseball. So, with all that macho stuff, they weren’t all that happy when I started to get really into music.

Tommy, Dee Dee, and I would go hang out at this place on Bleecker Street called Nobody’s. One night, the New York Dolls were hanging out there. They were already a band, but I hadn’t seen them yet. I pointed to Johnny Thunders and told Tommy that he looked cool. Tommy said that the band was terrible. But I knew, looking at him, that there was something there. To me, it’s always been about the look.

Tommy really wanted us to form a band, and he would be manager, and it would be this primitive thing. I’d say, “Oh that’s ridiculous, I want to be normal.” But he kept bugging me, and finally it turned into “Oh, now I have to actually do it?”

I wasn’t a rock star, but I liked to dress well. I was six feet tall and weighed about 150 pounds, so I could wear a lot of things. I didn’t spend a lot of money on clothes, but would always find stuff I thought was cool. I would get my clothes made at Granny Takes a Trip. I would have them make me velvet suits; I wore snakeskin shoes, chiffon shirts. I was working a construction job, and my life was putting on my jean jacket and going to work with all these union tough guys, then going home, changing into whatever clothes I was into at the time and driving into the city to see a show.

I went through phases. In high school, I always looked toward Brian Jones to see what he was wearing and then tried to find the closest thing. I thought he was one of the best dressers in rock and roll. Corduroy pants and corduroy shoes and striped shirts and striped T-shirts. There was a two-year period where I would wear jean jackets with no shirt, jeans, a tie-dyed headband, and a tie-dyed scarf around my waist. I always wanted to be the best-dressed person anywhere I went.

We were a three-piece, and it was bad. Dee Dee still couldn’t sing and play at the same time. As Dee Dee and I were getting better on our instruments, Joey kept getting worse. Tommy said we needed more rehearsing, but I realized that Joey just wasn’t right. I said, “Tommy, we need to get rid of Joey. He can’t play drums.” But Tommy said, “No, he can be the singer.” I wanted a good-looking guy to be the singer. But Tommy said, “No, it will be like Alice Cooper. It’ll be good.”

At that point, we were still dressed in partial glitter. I had these silver-lamé pants made of Mylar, and these black spandex pants I’d wear, too. I was the only one with a real Perfecto leather jacket—what the Ramones would later be identified with—which I had been wearing for seven years already. I also had this vest with leopard trim that I had custom made.



We were still evolving into the image we became known for, but it was trial and error at first. I’d give Tommy a lot of the credit for our look. He explained to me that Middle America wasn’t going to look good in glitter. Glitter is fine if you’re the perfect size for clothes like that. But if you’re even five pounds overweight, it looks ridiculous, so it wouldn’t be something everyone could relate to.

It was a slow process, over a period of six months or so, but we got the uniform defined. We figured out that it would be jeans, T-shirts, leather jackets, and the tennis shoes, Keds. We wanted every kid to be able to identify with our image.

Some bands blow it before they even play. The most important moment of any show is when a band walks out with the red amp lights glowing, the flashlight that shows each performer the way to his spot on the stage. It’s crucial not to blow it. It sets the tempo of the show; it affects everyone’s perception of the band.

Now all the mental notes I had been taking over the years came into play. No tuning up onstage. Synchronized walk to the front of the stage and back again. Joey standing up straight, glued to the mike stand—for the whole set. Keeping it really symmetrical. It was a requirement we adopted, a regimen that started immediately when we’d hit the stage, to make sure you immediately go into the song and not lose that excitement before you even start.

I’ve always thought you’re better off playing shorter. Ramones songs were basically structured the same as regular songs, but played fast, so they became short. When I saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium, they played a half-hour show. I figured that if the Beatles played a half-hour at Shea Stadium, the Ramones should only do about fifteen minutes. You get in your best material, and leave them wanting more. I don’t think anyone should play for more than an hour.

I mostly went to our shows alone. I’d go out to CBGB and I’d think, “I’m surrounded by a bunch of assholes.” People thought I was unfriendly, but I wasn’t. I just didn’t like the people I was around. I didn’t have anything in common with them. We were working; CBGB was where I worked. When I was a construction worker, I didn’t hang out with those guys after work either.

Rock and roll is an unhealthy lifestyle. You have too much freedom, and there is a lot of pressure to produce. People who don’t know how to handle the situation take drugs. I didn’t. I went back to my room with milk and cookies. The fans lined up outside the nearest 7-11 in any city we played, knowing that the Ramones van was going to head over there right after the show. I wanted to get back to my room and watch SportsCenter on ESPN.

When we started, I believed that if you were good in this business, you would succeed. But it doesn’t work that way.

We wanted to save rock and roll. I thought we were going to become the biggest band in the world. I thought the ­Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and the Clash were all going to become the major groups, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and it would be a better world. It would be all punk rock, and it would be great.

There was a big hype about punk rock taking off, but it didn’t happen. In England, they promoted punk rock, and everybody had some hits. Promotion was what it took, and that never happened in the United States. We turned to Phil Spector as a last resort to get played on the radio.

Spector had been after us for a while: “Hey, you want to make a great album?” Right from the start, he was abusive to every­body around him except us. He was also painfully slow. This was not how I was used to working. I didn’t want to be living in a hotel for two months doing a record.

Spector would make us think we were going to change studios every day, so we never knew where we were going in advance. At the end of each session he’d say, “I’m not sure what studio I want to use, so call me tomorrow and I’ll let you know.” But we never moved. We’d be at the same place every day, Gold Star Studios. We’d call and he’d say, “Okay, we’ll be at Gold Star.” Yeah, that’s what we thought, since that’s where our equipment was set up, but for some reason he always wanted us to think we might move. He was crazy. He’d scream at the engineer. He never ate and never slept. We suspected he was doing cocaine. One day, our soundman came by, and Phil started in, “Who the fuck are you? Why are you here?”; the same thing over and over, for half an hour. We said, “Phil, this is our soundman.” But he wouldn’t stop. “Who do you think you are anyway? You’re nobody.” It was awful how badly he could treat people.


After a couple of days, I reached the breaking point. He had me play the opening chord to “Rock ’n’ Roll High School” over and over. This went on for three or four hours. He’d listen back to it, then ask me to play the same chord again. Stomping his feet and screaming, “Shit, piss, fuck! Shit, piss, fuck!” I couldn’t take it anymore. So I just said, “I’m leaving,” and Phil said, “You’re not going anywhere.” I said, “What are you gonna do, Phil, shoot me?” Here’s this little guy with lifts in his shoes, a wig on his head, two bodyguards, and four guns—two in his boots and one on each side of his chest. After he shot that girl, I thought, “I’m surprised that he didn’t shoot someone every year.”

The album End of the Century turned out to be good, but we didn’t have a hit. It charted in England, No. 8 or something, but who cares about England? We were American.

I've always been a Republican, since the 1960 election with Nixon against Kennedy. At that point, I was basically just sick of people sitting there going, “Oh, I like this guy. He’s so good-looking.” I’m thinking, “This is sick. They all like Kennedy because he’s good-looking?” And I started rooting for Nixon just because people thought he wasn’t good-looking. And then by the time Goldwater ran and he starts talking about bombing Vietnam, I said, “This sounds right to me.” I was in favor of bombing the enemy into oblivion. Same as any war: If you want to be in it, win it. I didn’t understand why we didn’t just bomb the place out of existence.

At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when I made my acceptance speech I said: “God bless President Bush, and God bless America.” That sure set them off. This wasn’t long after September 11—I was always so gung ho American, I felt that was a real attack on me.

One of the things I am most proud of that we did was a benefit at CBGB for the New York Police Department so they could get bulletproof vests. This was when New York wasn’t safe at all, before ­Giuliani fixed it up. We even had protesters outside the club, those commies.

The most unlikely place I was ever recognized was on the trading floor of the Stock Exchange. I walked down there and everybody knew who I was. They were handing me phones and asking me to say hello to their friends. I talked to everybody. That was in the nineties. I thought, “All these ­Ramones fans work on Wall Street?”

The band trusted me to get them as much money as I could, and we did fine. They never said a word to me about it or questioned me. I would say, “Money is our friend. It doesn’t do anything to you. It is good.” I used to say that all the time.

We made money over the long run while we were still together. I think that when we really got going, we paid ourselves a $150-a-week salary. When we came back from a tour, we each would get another $1,000. And then we started getting merchandise money, which was more than our regular salary. I was trying to watch the money. I figured if I could save a million dollars, I could retire. We weren’t getting rich, any of us.

Anheuser-Busch approached us in 1994 and bought a song for a commercial. I thought it was terrific. I liked seeing the commercial, and people would ask me how I felt about it, and I would tell them it was the easiest money I ever made. I never looked at it as anything bad. Sometimes something like that can be lame, but for beer, which is very American, it’s good.

I made more money after we stopped than I ever did while the Ramones were active. We made a lot of money from merchandising, and the records sold better than ever. Maybe everyone really does love you when you’re dead.

My favorite quote:
  "I don't dislike people, just the ones I'm around", Johnny Ramone.

Black Helicopters and the Last Chance Chase


This is inner city Lafayette, La.
More than a place where historic architecture has disappeared, 
it is  where the remnants of old railroad branches have likewise vanished.
Once the rails of the Alexandria Branch could be clearly seen crossing Cameron St. 
They are seen no more.
Still they  linger in the grass and even extend, still  somewhat usefully,  to the north 
a short ways.
I found a few pictures by Michael Palmieri which help explain these ruins.
Down the page is a great one.
Below:
Yes, it's a switch tree.
Very rare. Leave it alone!! 
 Just skip through these these next few shots if not interested.
This ride report meanders until it finally finds direction.
ARSE (Association of Rail Searchers and Explorers)
monitors this site and downloads these valuable contributions.

For those who dig rail archeology, this is the last bit of the "Alex" before she hit the 
main drag into the Lafayette Depot and joined the Sunset Route. 
I know, this is old stuff to you  loyal readers ....but ....
Look, there are some beginners in class today, let them catch up.
 Looking north toward Alexandria, La.
This place is like the pyramids of ancient Egypt.
It just hit me that there is an Alexandria, Egypt. Wow, that is a numbing coincidence.
 The bones of the pharaohs  lie about. Watch your step, you will trip.  Falling
into another hidden bone can be painful.
Winter will  let them emerge once again.
Or maybe I'll bring my Weedeater.
This is looking south across the aforementioned Cameron St.
Fresh blacktop has masked 2 sets of rails.
One, is this one, the Alex Branch, the other serviced a warehouse.
 
Now this is the Michael Palmieri  link to the past, maybe 1978 or so, I forgot.
I did the black and white change for several reasons.
An explanation:
The Alex Branch had an arm that swung west to the Sunset Route as it descended south.
Behind the train are the rails shown above.
In other words, the Alex did a straight shot into the depot, but it 
also had a track that provided entrance onto the Southen Pacific Sunset Route rails going west.
But, what are those tracks the oncoming train is crossing?
Yes, you see them. (one of the reasons for the B&W transition)

{The hidden rails in the forefront are the old depot dead end set, I'll bet}.

 The tracks crossing Alex's arm are the beer distributor's spur tracks. (and maybe something more)
The fella standing in the picture above would be standing in the left of this shot if he'd stayed there.
The rails below joined the main line in the curve between the BR Branch Junction and the Alex Jct.
 The brown boxcar is where the guy would be  standing if he hadn't moved.
Of course the next question is this: How many boxcars of beer got peelayed by a high balling train
coming around that blind corner?
Black Helicopter Photo 1.
Don't laugh, it happens.
Near here the driver of this stolen grocery cart tried crossing the BR Branch behind 
Baker Brick. Bad timing occurred. Exploding beer cans, the likes of the Parks Curve Incident,
could be heard for blocks around. The police had to break up the celebratory  mourners.
Before I close this first of 5 chapters of this ride report, 
Mark, high trestle expert and radio man,
asked me if I would show you his rebuilt antenna
which was damaged in some hurricane 5 years ago.
It goes up from there but that's all my camera would do.

No kidding, I have to hit the sack. I'll show you a hook
shot so you'll check back. Climb down carefully. 
There will be a chase in the next one and it got serious along with some other stuff.
That will be tomorrow if it rains.
Monday Morning
After a stormy night I am back at my desk to carry on with this ride report.
I sure did time yesterday's outing well.
The weather is miserable.

From inner city Lafayette, La, I rode Cameron west to the Lafayette Yard.
It could have been a library.
I'd retrace Cameron east and then down by the depot just in case I'd missed 
some radio squawk about approaching trains.
It could have been a monastery.
I'd decided to run the rails to Cade and then catch the road east to 
St. Martinville and then on home. Yipee.:(
Cade was somber.
I couldn't give in.
I'd press on to New Iberia.
In route I had a chance to get a good shot of Mz Utah
at the Elks siding. She was sleeping enjoying a Sunday nap.
 From Landry Drive I took this shot over the new growth sugarcane.
Soon, that opportunity will be gone.
The Louisiana Delta north yard is in the distance.
 Strolling down the line, three L&D engines also slumbered.
Would they sleep until Monday or be awakened after "something" soon?
 The above picture was taken from Anderson St.
I looked around and realize where I was, again amongst the bones and relics of the past.
The rails to the right did not make that turn south  in the past.
They came straight at me, right down that mowed high ground.
They were the Missouri Pacific RR's.
 This, again, is for the ARSE fellas.
"Shot Spot" is my location on Anderson St..
Above is the purple line.
Black Helicopter Shot 2
From Gonzales St. (upper right) you can see the curvature of the purple to green lines south.
That was the MP's route through New Iberia down Pershing St. I did a comparison
of  the street arrangement before and after the MP rails were removed.  A lot changed.
Now the red line. That was MP's route out to the Jefferson salt mine.
When the mine was inundated by the lake after a drilling "mishap", that customer was lost.
I would assume that loss was catastrophic.
Below is the evident right of way to Pershing St.
I'd run down to southeast New Iberia then head north to home.
I was becoming despondent.
I turned off of La.182, once US 90 and headed south 
across the tracks on Darnall Rd, turning around at Cleco
as is  my usual route.
Then I  heard the horns and clanging crossing bell. 

That was  music to my ears.
I'd be the frist in line, as close to the crossing gate as I could venture, 
which is a little too close for a sane person.
But, I nailed the oncoming beast.
 This catalyst instantly converted despondency into aggressive  competitiveness.
I needed this more than any medicine I'd been taking.
I'd have to spot him a head start and he'd need it.

I'd go north to La.182 and turn left and play the lights through New Iberia.
The curve he'd have to make was wider than mine but his speed limit was slightly higher.
 Black Helicopter Photo 3
 We emerged from New Iberia. 
I had a slight lead.
I decided to not fool around as these guys gain speed leaving New Iberia.
I've clocked them at 60 mph on the GPS.
I'd make a stand at Cade.
I didn't like the Captain Cade Rd view so I went to the depot area 
which affords a wider shot.
And ...... I blew it by a nose.


 My shot spot was at the tree, upper left.
 Black Helicopter Photo 4
After the train's passage,  in a spray of gravel and  tucked in for aerodynamics, I unleashed
my 27 horsepower upon the Old Spanish Trail.
At the Cypress Bayou dip I caught him.


It seems the train might have TAXED the trestle RESULTING IN ITS FAILURE.
Black Helicopter Photo 5
I haven't seen it reported on the news.
OVER TAXING, being a liberal failure, I'm not surprised.

I passed him.
Broussard, La. was having its Santa Clause parade and I'm sure the word was out to go very slowly
through town and make as much noise as possible.
I was headed for Alligator Pt. up the 6 lanes of the Evangeline Thruway.
Here he came. After Broussard he'd peg the throttle.
 I decided to move to the bookstore parking lot.
It worked. The American flag is at the Dodge dealership.

 I'd chase him to the yard through Lafayette. It was Sunday, I'd have a chance.

The Yard
I was there just a bit before he was.
I don't claim victory because he had unusual circumstances to deal with along with switches.
This is at the alley just before he disappeared behind those cars.
I'd have to wait until he crossed  the street before I could pursue him into the yard.

This is an example of what the crews must deal with.
Opening the door.

Walking to the switch with heavy gloves installed.

Looking at switch.
  Kicking it.
 Returning to train.
 Thrilled with this interlude, I headed home.
 But, I can't go home without visiting Larabee Pit.
L&D had left a train there. I don't know if it had a lead engine or not.
Probably it did.  I'm sure the work was continued on Monday.
The presence of the train afforded an opportunity to take a few uninterrupted shots.

 


 Then I saw it. Ties in the ground.
There had been a siding here for whatever business.
 See it?
 Larabee Pit had been the source of the fill for the trans Atchafalaya Basin railroad 
back in the early 1900's. The black line is the railroad.
Below is where I was taking pictures.
Black Helicopter Photos 6,7, and 8.
This is zooming out. The siding went to the pit.
The Vermilion River is the green line.
 Zooming further out, you can see the stretch of the
old BR Branch extending from Teurlings Drive.
to the salt mine to the east.
This one's over.  One more little bit below.
 So, back to the title.
The "Black Helicopter" part of the title came to me as I was using these areal pictures.
I'm not going into a political rant right now, but you do know Big Brother flies around in them.
The "Last Chance Chase" part simple refers to my encounter with the train in New Iberia.
The ride would have been a true dud without it.


Last chances do happen and they have to be taken, a poignant thought these days.