Dreaming about summer this summer

Posted by Chase Gunnoe
on Friday, July 6, 2018

A trio of Fletcher International GE C44aci locomotives greet the morning sun at Dubbo, New South Wales, on Feb. 12, 2018. Chase Gunnoe.
 4 months and 25 days ago today I watched a luminous orange hue gently subdue one of the most pristine night skies I’ve ever seen.  Shades of yellow, orange, and red filtered by a thin haze illuminated three tired GE locomotives that had just completed a full night’s work of hauling dry bulk freight across the countryside.

It was 6:33 a.m. at the time I captured a photo in the rural agriculture town of Dubbo. For my friends and family back home in West Virginia, it was 4:33 p.m. the day before. It was one of the most at-peace moments during the three-week tenure across Australia. 

It was also one of the more meaningful snapshots illustrating the tale of two guys journey from West Virginia who sought after trains from Sydney’s Pacific Coast to Perth’s Indian Ocean, raced across rural Victoria in a manual-drive Holden, and consumed frequent portions of raw seafood and local wines with a young woman from New Jersey who we met on the Greater Barrier Reef. 

Looking back, some parts of the trips are a blur, likely in part to the local wines, but also the sleep deprivation and trip adrenaline that combined with Australia’s heat of the summer we experienced during February’s trip.  We admittedly tried to incorporate too much in one trip, fearing life and responsibilities would keep us from ever making the 10,000-mile journey again.  

But it made one appreciate the subtle beauties of the trip and Dubbo is a fine example of such. 9,590 miles away from the keyboard in which I share this story now, a simple transition from night to day was one of the most lasting memories from the experience. Humbling and indescribably beautiful – but also simple.

No social media or news stories spilling the latest scuttlebutt, but instead, just a sunrise signifying the start of another day of railroading in Australia as the United States’ East Coast was closing its day with a late winter sunset. 

While technology and social media allows us to connect with one another from any corner of the world, a sunrise in New South Wales or a summer evening at your favorite train watching spot in the U.S. enables us to better connect with our world. 

And I hope we always find enough time to value these life treasures. 

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