Denver and Rio Grande Railroad

In the middle nowhere on CO 149 is an old-school railroad crossing sign. You have to pay attention to see the narrow gauge tracks crossing the high meadow pasture.

What’s the story?

No one knows how human geography is going to pan out long term. The man who built the tracks had big dreams of a narrow gauge train over the mountains to Denver. I, personally, wish his dreams had come true, but instead we got the Cold War, and the Interstate Highway system. That man could not have known how it would eventually go with the automobile (or passenger planes), or that horses and trains were not going to be the foundation of human transportation forever. He could not have known that — in the future — a small mining town butted up against a cliff would not become a thriving metropolis, that its rich vein of ore would be exhausted or that the bottom would fall out of silver. The train ran well into the 1980s. 

And I could not have known the geography of my own life that would bring me to Monte Vista, Colorado, or that I would live across the street from — and be friends with — a man who loves trains so much that he and his brother collect old train cars. I could not have known that his wife and I would stand in the rain one lovely early summer day waiting to see a small engine cross that mountain pasture with my neighbor as engineer, blowing its horn, sounding for all the world like a big engine, echoing a time gone by.


P.S. Obviously, I took the video with my phone. In the video my friend asks me about my iPhone case which looks like a watercolor box that’s been used. I do lose it sometimes when I’m painting and have all kinds of colors out all over the place. :p