November 27, 2017
SHIRT, SHOES, NO SERVICE …
Hey friends. All of my best laid plans for Skyping and blogging and social media-ing my away across the country ended abruptly upon boarding The Canadian. There is NO internet service. Wish I could bring you aboard but that will have to wait for station stops.
The trip is off to a good start despite a 3-hour delay in departure. We set sail at 1:30am instead of 10pm so I boarded the train and promptly went to bed after a brief solo pilgrimage to the dome car to kiss the CN Tower and the City of Toronto goodnight and goodbye.
Having no internet connection was initially quite unsettling. I had plans to connect with friends along the way by phone and by text. I had plans to finish grading assignments for my online graduate course etc. etc. etc. Now what? I look out the window. I talk to people. I play my guitar. I play with words. Rub some lyrics together to see if I can start a song.
Played my first ‘show’ in a very impromptu manner. I was off in search of the service manager, Dan, and I found him speaking with a few folks. One of the women saw my guitar and requested a song or 2. I obliged. And so it was I met Joan, a wonderful 83 year-old woman who LOVES music and LOVES to dance. I offered song. She offered story and, in this way, everything I love and believe about train travel unfolded. Joan danced to ‘At the Drive thru’ (true story) and got a fine ovation from the (small) crowd that requested everything from Fred Penner to Neil Young.
Just arrived in Winnipeg. Time to leave the train and walk over to The Forkes for an espresso. I broke all performance records yesterday. My ‘official’ job is to play 3-45 minute sets per day. I ended up doing about 8 shows when all was said and done. The people wanted live music. I delivered.
More to follow …
P.S. I’ve included a video of riveting footage of Northern Ontario as seen from the window of the train. Rocks and trees. Trees and rocks. It was quite mesmorizing with the snow falling.