Home on Whidbey is a family blog revolving around Fran, Ed, Brad, Yessi, plus puppy Benton, and our family, travels, friends, neighbors and community. Thanks for reading.


Tehachapi Pass

Yesterday Brad reached Tehachapi Pass, historically most noted for it's railroad engineering feat. Today the trains still run but new history is being made with wind farms.  The Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line was constructed from 1874 to 1876, and is mentioned as one of the seven wonders of the railroad world.  In researching the seven wonders of the railroad world there doesn't seem to be a comprehensive list, but some of the mentioned railroad wonders include Chunnel (tunnel under English channel);  Feather River Canyon (including Williams Loop, Clio Trestle, Tobin Twin Bridges, Pulga Bridges, Keddie Wye and Spring Garden Tunnel); Central Railway of PeruThe Zig Zag Railway, Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia; Cincinnati Union Terminal; Huey P. Long Bridge; Pennsylvania Railroad's Horseshoe Curve; Darjeeling-Himalaya Railway; Moscow Subway; Colorado Narrow Gauge Circle; Sammering Railway in Austria; and on and on.

As I read this list, as it applies to the USA, I feel sadness.  We developed one of the most awesome railroad systems in the world, the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800's, yet we've let our train system deteriorate and be dismantled, little by little, piece by piece, until it's just a fraction of its past greatness.  I hope I live to see its revival, but I think I must leave that to Brad.

One of the things Ed and I like to do is ride Rails to Trails.  As we ride we are both grateful for these beautiful bikeways but, at the same time, lament the loss of this country's trains.  A couple of years ago we rode the Hiawatha Rails to Trails bike trail in Montana and were shocked to read that it was still an operational  train route as recently as 1980.  That same summer we also rode Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes,  the Spokane River Centennnial Trail, and the George S. Mickelson Rails to Trails in South Dakota, all  providing great bike riding, beautiful natural beauty and bountiful history.

Then, this past Mother's Day we rode the Snohomish County Centennial Trail, still in operation as a train route as recently as 1987.  The list, of course, goes on.  Trains no longer running but outstanding bicycle and walking paths opening.  The yin yang of loss and gain.

But, back to Brad.  He was at Tehachapi yesterday, but has probably hiked on by now.  On the other hand, for the first time in his six months of tramping, he is suffering from blisters on his feet.  He might have decided to stop, sit, and heal or he might be pressing on.

The gang of six hikers -- Tripod, Charlie, Hannah, Brad, Aaron, Mark -- continues to redesign itself.  Aaron split off a while ago to be in the company of a new woman he met.  Tripod comes and goes.  Brad split off a week or so ago to hike single for a spell.  Now Charlie has split leaving Mark, Brad and Hannah together.  It's fun how the group splits and regroups allowing for alone time and reconfigured group time.  The dance of the PCT!

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