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Borrego Springs, CA

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Expanding my horizon

I was off fairly early this morning to drive in to visit the Folkston Funnel.  The Funnel is a very busy place for trains.  All the trains headed from Savannah to Florida, or coming from Florida to Savannah and points beyond have to funnel through Folkston, GA.

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Folkston is a mecca for train lovers.  70 trains a day funnel through this small Georgia town.  I was hoping to understand why people watch trains by talking to them at this train viewing platform complete with picnic tables, a bathroom, a charcoal grill, and internet access.

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Yesterday I visited the Chamber of Commerce and was given a train schedule.  I chose to come this morning before nine so I could be prepared to see the Tropicana Express from Florida bringing oranges north from Florida.  I was hoping to see the white cars which I assumed would have oranges painted on them.  I was also told a local train enthusiast named Cricket would be there on his cart.

Well folks, no one was at the platform.  It was chilly and the wind was blowing hard.  I waited for about 45 minutes, but the orange juice special never appeared.  Nor did Cricket.  I did see one train, though.

IMG_1643 (2)                                                                                   It came…

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                                                                It went… with horns blasting.

                        Sorry SAM, I’m still at a loss as to what the draw is to see and hear noisy trains.

_MG_1650Across the tracks from the platform is a red caboose in the woods.  Whatever happened to cabooses?  I never see them at the end of trains anymore.

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                 There’s also a nice mural across the tracks depicting the trains and a fierce alligator.

I did a little grocery shopping in town before heading back to the rig to gather my thoughts before a telephone interview.  The National Elk Refuge in Wyoming is a very popular Nat’l Wildlife Refuge for RVers that are into the volunteer lifestyle.  For every open position, there are many applicants, so it is rather competitive.

I made it through the first cut and had my interview this afternoon.  I think it went well, but then you never know.  I was on a speaker phone with several brown shirts in the room at the refuge.  However, only the volunteer coordinator did any speaking.  I find phone interviews harder than face to face interviews.  You just can’t read facial reactions over the phone.  I was honest when she asked me how I felt about 32 hours/week.  I’m not crazy about it, but knew it going into this application process.  I told her that once you do your four days, then do your laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping, it doesn’t leave you much time to visit and enjoy the area.  I’ll find out whether or not I’ll be offered a position a week from Friday.  This was the first day of interviews, so there are lots more people for her to speak to.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

32 comments:

  1. I give you lots of credit in trying to watch trains. They may be fun for some folks, but I'm sticking with you and your great wildlife pictures.

    If you have more than one caboose, do you have cabeeses? ;c)

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  2. If it is to be then it will be. Good luck!!!

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  3. Cabooses probably went away so they wouldn't have to pay the guy to stand on the back and swing that lantern. Hope you get the spot in Wyoming. Will make for some interesting reading.

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  4. Bummer about the train. If you get a chance, try again. You never know what you might see the next time.

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  5. Sounds like an interesting position, and one that you would be very good at. Considering your knowledge and experience and how well you do in less than satisfactory circumstances, you'd be a really good candidate for them. I hope they prefer honesty, and I hope you get it.

    Sorry about the trains - an interesting morning that wasn't to be, I guess.

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  6. The caboose used to be the best part seeing a train, IMHO. I hope you get the Wyoming volunteer job!

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  7. I did watch trains one time at LaPosada in Winslow, Az. LaPosada is one of my very favorite places in the country and they have lots of trains and a very nice viewing platform. I thought it was so interesting to see all the Chiness cars go by...language in Chines on the side...if you ever get a chance I will join you there. Good luck on the job..maybe take the summer off??

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  8. When we leave FL to return to Indy in a few weeks, we MAY be near Folkston and the east side of your swamp. Then you can talk to my husband who could (and has) watch trains all day which is why I always travel with a good book! Train watching is an acquired taste... Wyoming would be a great spot for you. Dione

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  9. I'm with you on not getting the train thing but I am sorry it was such a crumby day that no one showed up to explain it all to you.

    I admire your honesty in the interview. 32 hours a week for one person seems a lot to me too. Better to have a good fit than to be sorry.
    Is this refuge one of those that gives 32 hours to a couple to split but a single has to do it all alone??

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  10. Why do I sometimes have to resister to have my comments published. I find that a really annoying step. At times, Google is a real pain

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  11. Now for the rest of my comment.

    Cabooses have been replaced by an "end of train device." They don't need a salary, health care or paid vacations. Nor do they need a roof over their head or maintenance.

    The Tropicana train carries OJ not oranges. We Floridians know about stuff like that.

    Good luck on the process to get a spot at the National Elk Refuge.

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  12. When I was a kid and spent the night with my cousins my Uncle would take us to get a Dr Pepper at a drug store soda fountain and we would go watch trains. I'm not sure what the attraction was except it was free and it entertained us for a while. We would read the sayings on the box cars and count the cars. My dad never took us anywhere so it didn't take much to entertain me.

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  13. Good luck, Judy. I just pulled the refuge up on Google maps - what a great location!

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  14. How appropriate ... a train is going by Maxwell even as I read this post; horns tooting ... of course. Sorry, your train watching experience was a bust. There's a spot in Banff National Park called Morant's Curve for the photographer who used to come here to take pictures of trains. We went too ... not necessarily to see a train, although we did see several, but rather to see black bears munching on berries. Now that's something I would sit and watch for hours.

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  15. Hope you get the position so we can take a trip to meet you!

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  16. Good luck ;) I love the trains. I don't like them blaring by with their horns blasting but they do that to warn people they're a comin! lol

    I love hearing the whistles in the background or watching them climb a mountain ... interesting what tweaks someone's likes.

    I grew up with a huge train station in our little town ~ I would stand in wonder at all the busyness ... where were people going ... was there another place besides where I lived? lol

    I was so glad I had the opportunity to ride the trains before they became obsolete. loved the dining cars and the ricket rickety clackety cackety clackety clack sound... ahh

    I like Refuges too ;)

    LOL Tammy! ~ "Cabooses probably went away so they wouldn't have to pay the guy to stand on the back and swing that lantern"... ahhhh progress

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  17. Spent the first 15 years of my life living beside railroad tracks. Saw lots of steam locomotives & diesel trains. The magic kind of wore off a long time ago but an airplane overhead catches my attention every time.....

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  18. I hsve always loved trains, and used to ride them to my grandparents farm in the summer, requiring a change of trains in Louisville. Trains represent great freedom - traveling all over the country just as RV's do today. The diesels don't have the same cachet that the old steam locomotives had, and the sound of the train whistle in the old days was just wonderful. Also back in the day a kid could watch a train going by and wave to the engineer, and the engineer would wave back.

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  19. When I was little we would always count the train cars as they passed. All the trains I see these days have a 2 or 3 locomotives in the front and instead of a caboose they have a locomotive at the back....I guess it's used to push those long trains.

    We will all be waiting to near about the summer job....good luck!

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  20. I love trains but don't understand the hype about this place if all you saw was
    one plain ole train. :)

    Hope the job comes through for you sounds like it would be quite the place.

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  21. I've always loved watching the trains... The Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) RR. track ran along our back yard when I was a kid. Now, when we get the chance (getting rarer and rarer) to see trains, we count the engines, check out the cargo, read the graffiti and especially see what lines they belong to. I'd like to sit at that station and watch awhile.

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  22. Sometimes being a railfan is an aquired trait. give it another try on a warmer day when there is more train traffic,,don't know what day you went, but toward the end of the week the traffic is always higher. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

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  23. It's hard to find knowledgeable people for this topic, however, you seem like you know what you're talking abοut!
    Thanks

    Ϲheck out my web page; Chemietoilette

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  24. Watching trains isn't fun any more since "they" did away with the caboose and the guy in the caboose who always waved to you! Kind of like a lot of things these days.

    RE: the Wyoming Elk Refuge -- Yowzers if you get the nod. If not, then a better place for you is around the corner... and needs you more!

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  25. 32 hours does seem a lot for a volunteer position. But I know you'll find an exciting place to land, regardless of where you go next!

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  26. First of all, anyone who does not choose you for a volunteer...well, it's THEIR loss..Secondly, I find nothing at all fascinating about the gazillion trains running LOUDLY through our back yard , but I still do love an old Steam Engine...And last...Den's Great Aunt snagged an old caboose from the back track (she lived just down from us) and made her home in it...It is still there, under the house built over it...amazing.

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  27. Well, honesty is number one. You didn't blow smoke at them....Good for you.

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  28. Remember the old Twilight Zone episode with the guy running down the street yelling “Where is everybody. Where did everybody go?” I always think of that when I get somewhere and no one else is there.

    We have volunteers at Laguna this year that have volunteered at the Elk Refuge for several years. They told us that this is a good year to apply because a lot of the volunteers aren’t coming back due to health issues and various other reasons. Good luck to you. That Refuge is on our list of places also.
    Teri
    Markteri.blogspot.com

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  29. Remember the old Twilight Zone episode with the guy running down the street yelling “Where is everybody. Where did everybody go?” I always think of that when I get somewhere and no one else is there.

    We have volunteers at Laguna this year that have volunteered at the Elk Refuge for several years. They told us that this is a good year to apply because a lot of the volunteers aren’t coming back due to health issues and various other reasons. Good luck to you. That Refuge is on our list of places also.
    Teri
    Markteri.blogspot.com

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  30. I think that "Train Spotting" is one of those niche hobbies that some get very excited about but most of us don't really understand. I've seen video of folks getting incredibly excited about spotting a particular engine that most of us would simply think of as just another train. Kind of like birding???

    Mark

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  31. Couple things. 1. You hated the train that went by our house when I was growing up. So I am a little surprised you would drive to a place and wait 45 minutes for it. I believe you prolly saw a ton of trains in Chi-town as well. B. I thought you retired? Thirty 32 hours a week is BS. No one should be volunteering almost a full work week to earn a campground spot. I kind of hope they don't offer you the position. Just sayin. Have a nice day mother.

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