Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Whistle-Stop. Toot Toot.

After flying out to Los Angeles for the Democratic debate scene, I decided to take the train home. It was a once in a lifetime experience to see the dramatic scenery as the train sped from state to state. I enjoyed talking with people at meals in the dining car and in the observation car. Downside – over two days with no Internet! It’s impossible to understand how Amtrak does not include this on the ride. It is only days away from 2020.

In the "Good Ole Days" it was common for presidents and presidential candidates to make whistle-stop tours where they would campaign, making short whistle-stop speeches at numerous train stations.  One of the most famous railroad cars used in the United States for whistle-stop tours during the last century was the Ferdinand MagellanCustom made in 1928 by the Pullman Company, it was officially known as the "U.S. No. 1 Presidential Railcar." The car was used by Harry Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower. First lady Mamie Eisenhower rode it from Washington DC to Groton CT to christen the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. It was brought out of retirement for one day for Ronald Reagan who used it in 1984. 

Every major stop I was out making an appearance, talking with people and singing a few verses from 2020: The Musical. Each of these stops lasted about 15 minutes.

Los Angeles, CA

Albuquerque, NM

La Junta, CO

Kansas City, MO

Chicago, IL

I had planned to make appearances while I was on the Wolverine train from Chicago to Ann Arbor. Unfortunately the train left late, which meant major stops along the route (Michigan City IN, Kalamazoo MI, Battle Creek MI and Jackson MI) lasted about two minutes each, which precluded leaving the train. A group of disappointed fans in Michigan City wanted to board the train to meet me but the conductor told them there was no time. The conductor seemed amused when he relayed their good wishes to me, pleased to have a "celebrity" on board.

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