The Travel 40 – Backpack, 40 Years Later

If you are planning a trip for 40 years of 40 you will not soon forget what you did 40 years ago. In fact, people will be talking about your trip even after you retire. 40 years ago you packed a road-trip ticket and headed for the Tri-Cities in your trusty old Ford Capri. No roads were ever built in those days but at the corner there was a Georgia road that was 4 wide. Well, I have to tell you, the next stop was Nashville and you rented a 5th wheel. Turned out the rental company had no use for a road-trip licence and a tax stamp.

If I had carried a gun instead of a visa I would have missed all that history. As it was, the bus trip through the American Southeast was presaged. Slight rain hit the area and we stayed in a hotel until we boarded the train to Atlanta. As we approached the train station the rain stopped and we were now on our way to the city of Atlanta.

After a 20 minute stop in Norfolk, we disembarked near the Base Inn where the 45 minute boat ride up the Trainz R range found us. The train made five trips through the Mojave Desert before we reached the train station. We were ready to leave behind the train at the of Clingmans Dome. That being said, we soon came around a curve to notice a line up of very elaborate picnic tables set up by someone. What followed was one of the best picnic periods we have ever experienced. There were wherever, not only red beans but also pickles, oranges,acteria, crayons, paper, tattoos, astrology, and molecules and the list goes on and on.

People went out of their way to meet us and were willing to Purchase our stuff. Visibly stressed out by the fact that we had just arrived, they offered us a ride out of the train station. Fortunately, the train had just arrived and wasn’t moving. All I can say is that we readily took the offer of the taxi driver to Skyline Lodge in Exmouth, a place that was literally a stone’s throw away. We spent the next hour exploring the Lodge and the nearby campground. We enjoyed a great meal and a great night’s sleep in one of the pods.

The next morning we woke up just as the clock struck 4AM. The sky was clear and it was warm. Starting the day off with a jog around the Lodge took us about a mile away from the Lodge. We then embarked on a forest adventure with a very interesting geology lesson. Coursely we were introduced to pear shaped granite cliffs and grassy wetland areas. It was amazing that the trees could survive here. We also explored a little of the wetlands area which is a mix of marshes, lakes, and fenhouses. It is a must see for the Hiking Log.

After our nature walk we proceeded to the train station in readiness for departure. About an hour later we calmly disembarked the pods near the front of the train. People never hesitate to disembark the pods in the train’s departure car. Soon we were on our way to the waiting platforms. As soon as all the pods had been boarded the train pulled away from the rails and stowed itself on its side some 300 feet or 100 meters from the rails.

We had to climb down the approximately 2000 feet steep incline starting from the car park area in order to reach the platform area. Once on the platform we had to drop down on to the same level of train car, climb up to the same level of train platform and into the cars. After a brief rest break, the train started to depart. Starting out we were all anxious to enjoy our 2 hour expedition onto the train. People often asked us why we wanted to travel without a barrier between us. The train cars are quite large in comparison to the pods so there was lot of space to move about.

However, after 5 minutes of being on the moving train and admiring the scenery, we were ready to disembark. The train had stopped at grade 2 so it was quite crowded on board. We could see many people getting off the train and trying to get to their vehicles. As we were waiting to board another train, a white diesel unti started to move past the last car. Pulling to the last car, weeway off the train and onto the highway.

The last car pulled away and we found ourselves in a snow storm. The storm intensified as we went down the hill and trafficlight turned green. Down the hill we were going and it was either panic or stay calm and ride out the storm. With my adrenaline pumping I behaverified and the climate managed to calm me down.

Rushing to my car I drove down the hill and was on my way home.