Amateur Hour (Pug Ironhorse novels Book 1)

Kipling’s India: Uncollected Sketches 1884–88
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The dark, deep shadows, the glistening sides, and the snow-capped peaks, with their granite faces, the stunted growth of pine and cedar, all render the scene such as he has painted it. Buss, whose medical skill may have been better than his poetry, preserved the memory of his visit in verse:. Coal had been discovered there and was rapidly replacing wood for fuel on the Union Pacific locomotives.

They complained of burning eyes and sore lips caused by the clouds of alkali dust swirled up into the cars, and thought Bitter Creek and Salt Wells appropriately descriptive names for stations.

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About sunrise the train arrived at Green River for a breakfast stop, and for the next hundred miles everyone looked forward to the moment of crossing into Utah Territory, the land of the Mormons and their plural wives. Wahsatch was the noon dining station, and every passenger from the East who stepped down from the train peered expectantly around for Mormons, but the What Cheer Eating House looked about the same as all the others they had seen.

At Ogden, passengers awaiting connecting trains frequently had to spend many hours in a long narrow wooden building which had been erected between the tracks of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. In addition to ticket offices and a large dining room, sleeping rooms furnished only with curtains for doors were available upstairs. In the evening a blinding snowstorm came on, and the wind, howling fearfully with a rushing mighty sound, shook the doors and rattled at the windows as though it wanted to come in and warm itself at our blazing wood fire.

Upon boarding the Central Pacific at Ogden, the firstclass passengers found themselves in Silver Palace cars instead of Pullmans. The Silver Palaces were attractive with their white metallic interiors, but although they were outfitted with private sitting rooms and smoking rooms, they lacked the luxurious touches which travelers from the East had grown accustomed to in their Pullmans.

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Passengers complained that their berths were not as roomy or as comfortable, and some said the cars were often too cold. Eventually the Central Pacific had to give up the Silver Palaces because transcontinental passengers resented having to change from their Pullmans.

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Alkali dust swirled in streets filled with freight wagons drawn by long mule teams hauling supplies to miners in nearby Pine Valley. Chinese workers discharged by the railroad had established a colony here and were much in evidence around the hotel. In summer, passengers choked on dust if they left the windows open, or sweltered in heat if they closed them.

After passing Winnemucca, the iron horse turned southward to the Humboldt Sink where the river was literally swallowed up by the desert and thereafter, instead of facing the sun, continued a southwesterly course to the Sierra. The bracing air of the Sierra, however, was a perfect restorative for the weary travelers. With two locomotives pulling the cars, the train slowly climbed the winding canyon of the Truckee River, rising eighty feet to the mile.

Pine and fir replaced the dreary desert sagebrush, and then came a spectacular view of Donner Lake encircled by forested mountains. The guidebooks told the travelers all about the gruesome tragedy of the Donner Party during the winter of — From the summit of the Sierra to Sacramento was miles, a drop from 7, feet to thirty feet above sea level. According to William Humason, fifty miles of the descent was made without the aid of steam.

The wheels were nearly red hot. In the darkness of the night they resembled discs of flame. The guidebooks warned timid passengers not to look down upon the awful gorge of the American River two thousand feet below, and John Beadle said that although Cape Horn offered the finest view in the Sierra, the sight was not good for nervous people.

Almost as fascinating as the scenery and the rollercoaster ride were the Sierra snowsheds built by engineer Arthur Brown. When passenger service began, these sheds—built with sharp sloping roofs against the mountainsides so that deep snowfalls and avalanches would slide right off them—covered forty miles of track between Truckee and Cape Horn. After numerous passengers complained that the walls blocked their view of the magnificent mountains, the Central Pacific responded by cutting windows at the level of those of the passenger cars.

The result was a series of flickering scenes somewhat like those of an early motion picture, but even this pleasure was denied Sierra travelers during the snowy months of winter when the openings had to be closed again. The chimney of every engine goes fizzing through it like a squib, and the woodwork is as dry as a bone. There was little they could do, however, against the forest fires which sometimes swept across sections of sheds.

And sturdy though the structures were, an occasional mighty avalanche would crush one of them.

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The train on which Lady Hardy was traveling was delayed all night by the collapse of a shed while fifty male volunteers from among the passengers went ahead to clear the tracks. The snowsheds not only covered the main track, they also enclosed stations, switch tracks, turntables, and houses where workmen lived with their families. Children were born in this eerie, dimly lit world where without warning a huge boulder or avalanche might crash through the roof, where trains derailed with disastrous results, and at least on one occasion wild animals escaped from a wrecked circus train to terrify the inhabitants.

As snowplows were improved, some sheds were removed, others were replaced with concrete, and the army of workmen declined to a handful of lookouts and track walkers.

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Although passage through the Sierra was their introduction to California, most westbound travelers did not feel that they had truly reached that golden land until their iron horse brought them down into the blazing sunshine and balmy air of the Sacramento Valley and the flowers and orchards of the Queen City of the Plain. Until they transferred to the cars of the California Pacific, which took them to Vallejo—where again they had to change, this time to a steamboat running down the bay to San Francisco. After the Central Pacific completed its subsidiary Western Pacific to Oakland in , the journey was easier, although they still made the final crossing by boat before reaching San Francisco and the Pacific shore.

After a week of noise, dust, and locomotive smoke the first act of those travelers who could afford it was to register at the magnificent Palace Hotel and seek out a quiet room and a warm bath. And what were the feelings of travelers after they had completed their first journey by rail across the American continent?

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Those from other countries were impressed by the grandeur of the Western land, and of course they made comparisons with their own nations, sometimes favorable, sometimes unfavorable. They found travel by train across the West less tedious because they could walk about in the cars and stand on the platforms to enjoy the passing landscapes, yet at the same time they complained of the lack of privacy. They praised the comforts of the Pullman cars, but deplored the necessity for constantly changing trains.

"The Iron Horse"

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They confessed that before the journey they had feared the rumored American defiance of rules and regulations and recklessness in regard to speed, but they were pleased to find that American railway men held human life in as high regard as it was held in their native lands. American travelers on the other hand were more concerned with feelings of national pride.

After crossing the vastness of the American West, the endless unclaimed fertile lands, the prairies and forests, the broad rivers and towering mountains, they felt that they had seen a new map unrolled, a new empire revealed, a new civilization in process of creation. In the first years after the Civil War, the salvation of the Union was still a glorious promise of destiny.

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In their first flush of triumphant pride, they viewed the railroad as a cooperative venture shared by the builders and the people. The disillusionment would come later, as would their doubts in an everexpanding empire. For Americans and foreigners alike, there was a deepening sense of wonder at this final link in the encirclement of the earth by steam power. In reaching the Western sea, the iron horse had shrunk the planet. All Rights Reserved. It's Father's Day, and Ed is wondering when he'll go to the movies again.

He and John discuss how the ninteen-seventies have influenced them, whether it is possible to like both Ferrante and Knausgaard, the similarities between a list of poems and a list of snacks, and the unhinged horribleness of the present-day Lucky Charms elf, who is no longer played by Cormac McCarthy. Ed's bored in the suburbs but is preparing to enjoy parades on the land, sea, and air. John has had a traumatic experience at the post office.

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News News for News News for News. She is also happy to note a number of other alums are in the same issue. She publishes in fiction, poetry, and drama. It forces me to be deliberate and present in my process. Episode We Stared at the Dog Biscuit. Submit your poems!

Nevertheless, they manage to talk about the rappers of upstate New York, propose a reality show in which Arnold Schwartzenegger visits fruit festivals, sample kava, and debate the laws governing pool-noodle ownership. Episode Raised Creamy. Ed is lost and alone in the sub-suburban wilds of Vancouver, and John is slightly less anxious than he used to be in his clean house.

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They hold forth on the pleasures of summer, fear of foreign travel, the names of babies and old women, sheriffs on horses, and bringing a toddler into a cave and turning out the lights. Ed has moved into the Reflections in the Park apartment complex, and John's AWP cold is gone, so it's time to talk about John's Armenian Pastry Shop dream, Lincoln Michel's misremembered shaggy dog joke, reheating french fries with steam, Nell Carter, repeating yourself, cheese disappointment, and erotic feelings for the waitress on the cover of Supertramp's "Breakfast in America.

Episode Nutty Grindz. Ed and John try to decide in this episode that also features an abortive zoo trip, a missing bacon web page, New York eateries, a movie of a novel, contorted mannequins, and sending grandma's collector spoons to India. It's been a long three weeks of leaky roofs and pinkeye, but Ed and John are back to talk about vaporwave music, makin' a livin', fried chicken, marriage patois, brewpubs, and Ed's dreamlike reading before the Seattle village elders. Ed's wide awake for a change, and he and John discuss Spotify, why people don't say what they want, pop album nomenclature, popcorn preparation methods, and what trains should and shouldn't do in songs.

John and his friend Skoog 2. Episode Butter Is Too 'Picy. Ed is back from Minnesota and is looking for information about the conclusion of the Super Bowl. John is trying to start a commonplace book and has solved the problem of work meetings.

They discuss highly organized murder, Rachel Cusk, midwestern cuisine, quoting writers in conversation, and free ebooks. Episode Dr. Pepper's Less Credentialed Cousin. Ed starts out quietly, but gets gradually louder, in this episode featuring stolen cars, novel revisions, cafe con leche, bowling alley food items versus bowling alley snacks, the four points of view in fiction, and possible locations for the Okey-Panky AWP meetup.

It's early for Ed, as usual, and that puts him at a disadvantage, like the giraffe that doesn't realize he's in a race with Carl Lewis.