Categories
Photography Travel

Clark Fork

My mother is anxious for me to see all of the beautiful places she’s discovered. By the time I return home, I’ll be ready for a good long rest, tweaking the A-listers and writing code.

Today I headed the opposite direction and drove just out to Clark Folk about 29 miles away. Unfortunately, the day was so beautiful that I ended up following dirt roads hither and yon. What’s the good of having a rental car if one doesn’t make full use of it?

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In the town of Clark Fork, I passed a little gift shop and didn’t pay it much attention until I noticed that the sign that said they sold marbles. Marbles? I pulled in and spent a wonderful hour looking through the shop at all the odds and ends, including marbles and antique bikes, and talking with the owner. I took photos of her store, and she gave me several sample marbles, imprinted with logos with cute little wood stands. I asked about the hand crafted marbles, and she picked out one of her favorite marbles and brought it and me out into the sun so I could see it. It was called “Fire and Ice”.

Did I buy it, of course I bought it. Fire and Ice, how could I not buy it. My excuse is that it’s my birthday next week, but I needed the color; I would have bought it even if I didn’t have a handy excuse. And no, my plane ticket is purchased, so I won’t be forced to hitchhike home.

But no more cute little gift shops.

Categories
Travel

Babble Meadow

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

My train leaves in about 8 hours and I’m not going to try to nap before taking it. Instead, I’m going to write, about this and that, until I have to close my computer and pack it.

My mother did order DSL through her phone company for me to use because she didn’t want me to be cut off from work while I was in Sandpoint. It’s uncertain if it will work on her wires, and if it doesn’t we might try cable. Regardless, my time is going to be occupied with other things for a time, so these rambling weblog posts might be the last you’ll hear from me for a while. Perhaps when I return, I’ll have wonderous photos of the Snake River and other points to show; a nice change from Missouri.

I’ve tweaked the looks on the site, just enough to refine the header, resize the content and so on. I rather like the header, though I am using a transparent PNG image, which means that it looks solid white in IE. I’ve decided, though, that as long as the text is readable in IE I’ve met my obligations to that browser.

And I can’t even describe how much my back hurts. Luckily, the train seats are supposed to be fairly comfortable. And there is a lounge where one can get drinks. Alcohol does act as a muscle relaxant. I have a feeling though, the best pain killer will be vast vistas, and my camera.

Categories
Travel

The theory of relativity explained

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I called Amtrak to ask about the mysterious extra hour in the schedule, due to Daylight Savings Time ending, and the very nice lady I talked to said that the train actually does stop around 2 in the morning, and waits for time to catch up.

So at 2 in the morning, somewhere in the badlands of North Dakota Minnesota, a lone train will slow and then stop–sitting for an hour on the tracks among the scrub and coyotes, the starry night and the cold, bitter wind.

(Which I guess goes to show that fact is stranger than science fiction.)

Categories
Travel

Don’t mind me, just carry on as usual

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Different perspectives can cloud our perception of what each other is saying. For instance, Amtrak’s baggage rules state that I can take two “carry-on” bags, as well as a “personal” bag on to the train with me. I gnash my teeth and roll in ashes before putting on the sack cloth because of this limitation. I grouse and snit and snarl and point snide fingers at declining ridership and mumble about ‘not providing customer service’, because to me a carry-on is a back pack or a small overnight bag.

But then I actually stop to really look at the dimensions of what Amtrak considers to be a carry-on bag: 28 x 22 x 14 inches. I got out my ruler; my main suitcase is 28 x 21 x 11 inches. Oh. In other words, I can bring on the train what I originally planned on bringing on the train before I got caught up on Amtrak’s use of “carry-on”.

Oh.

Categories
Travel

The theory of relativity

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’ve long been fascinated by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity; the concept of curved space and our galaxy being a marble flowing down and around holes punched into the void via black holes and other objects we probably haven’t even imagined yet.

Most particularly the concept of gravity and speed and their effect on time: imagine it, that you could go fast enough to have time slow until it seems to stop; or until you flatten into goo–no one knows the absolute truth.

I’ll be able to see the Theory of Relativity in action this weekend. According to the train schedule, the Empire Builder always leaves Chicago around 2 in the afternoon and gets into Sandpoint around midnight. However, Sunday morning Daylight Savings Time ends, which means we’ll turn back the clock. But the train still gets into Sandpoint at the exact same time.

I’m trying to figure out what aspect of physics is in play. Do we slow down so that time can pass us by? Or at the dot of 2 in the morning, does the train stop so that time can catch up?

Questions of time aside, I’ve decided not to get any kind of internect connection on the trip, but will instead explore my old town, the new parks, and catch up on my reading when I’m not helping my Mom. When I get back, I’ll be starting a new job: working for Broadband Mechanics with Marc Canter.