Why The Cumbres And Toltec Scenic Railroad Is Evil

There are times in one’s life whenever one must do what he does not want to do. Times in one’s life when he must keep his mouth shut, and times when he must go on a train ride. This last Sunday was one of those times for me.

As you might expect, my exploits to Chama started the same way all evil on Earth begins: In the form of a fishing trip. One needn’t look at movies, songs and poetry to realize that getting anywhere near any body of water is a dangerous thing to do, both for yourself and, of course, fish (for example, Pittsburgh). After all, was it not while fishing in “The Perfect Storm” that the captain of a fishing vessel died at sea, or while the albatross plagued the protagonist in that one poem I once read in high school that I got perrennially bored and had to read the poem as a sea shanty to keep myself awake at night?

And so, it was on our trip to Rutheron that my mother asked if I’d like to go on a train ride, and to which I sort of made a grunting noise because I had the stomach flu at the time. But nonetheless, I went, to satisfy childhood memories of getting on a steam train. I even got to sit near the front.

This is my story.

Yeah, you keep believin’ you’re doin’ real work, Trainy-boy.

This train hasn’t seen real work in 40 years.

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is a railroad which began from the ashes of the Rio Grande Railroad and which, phoenix-like, succeeded in bringing the old narrow-gauge (read: unusable) tracks to life.

Ha ha! I was kidding, of course. In reality, it is a fantasy train, the type of train that yuppies go on so they can gawk at deer and go “Awwww! How cute!” for six hours straight. I, of course, came prepared. I wore the best camouflage I could find in five minutes. My camo included:

  • My best wolf shirt (with three wolves and a sexy woman on it),
  • A wolf medallion (to complete the ensemble),
  • A fishing ballcap (for the sun, and to look like the steamy, sexy fisher-man I am),
  • A pair of brown moccasin shoes you buy for like thirty dollars at Target.

And so I was off to see the beauty of Chama, the way only I could:

I think the train car was my old school bus…

I think the train car was my old school bus…


On my car, there were many people: For example, two sexy ladies wearing flip-flops and the standard Billabong T-shirts. At least, that’s what my mother told me. I, on the other hand, was too busy watching bees as they scurried across the top of the train car, knowing that they wanted a piece of me, and I might have to kick some ass out of these Cheerio’s honeybee wanna-bee’s.




Anyway, as the train shuddered to life, I watched the scenery go by at the pace of continental drift, the typical speed of scenic railroad trains. You definitely get your money’s worth:


Oh yayyy, that prairieeee.

Oh yeah, that prairieeee.


Most of my pictures were like this. I liked that, because it wasn’t normal. You know, you look at trains like this, and you expect the typical majestic-mountain range like you see in postcards and such. It wasn’t all like that.


Nature kicks Man’s ass every damn time.

Nature kicks Man’s ass every time. You know, not like Nature really comes down and kicks Mankind’s ass like we expect, but in the sense that eventually Nature always wins, as this telephone pole suggests. The old glass things they threaded the telegraph wires to have been stolen, and the pole itself is dangling out the side of the hill. My personal favorite photograph, it reminded me of the Miyasaki movie Nausicaa: Of The Valley of the Wind, in that it has that Death to Humans And Their Evil Civilization chic to it. Damned humans.


A trestle in the background. The death rate in 1890 was much higher than it is now. Discuss.

Plainly smoky.

Smoke in the background. Clearly the best part of a train trip: Getting to actually watch as you pollute the Earth with dark filth, and it’s all because you wanted to take a damn train ride for $150.00.

Sorry, I’m just a bit touchy because the soot ruined my wolf shirt. Damn those train engineers and their… well, you know, their… uh… things.

Because graffiti is always cool.
Because graffiti is always cool. Even when you want to strangle the punk-ass that wants to scrawl his filthy malformed name all over the place.


In about an hour and a couple miles of actual movement, the engineer apparently got sick of having squirrels and butterflies kamikazeing into the train. I know I was. I saw a mosquito the size of Rosie O’Donnell on the train, or Rosie O’Donnell dressed as a mosquito, I know they’re both blood-suckers. But anyway, so he stopped at this quaint little station. It’s called Cumbres.

A little birdie told me.

A little birdie told me. He told me good. But I couldn’t answer, since murder is still illegal in all fifty states, even if it’s for the bulletproof reason that the engineer stopped at a station for fifteen minutes and wouldn’t let anybody off the train.


Yes, we passed by this water tower. There’s a track next to it, you just can’t see it real well in this photo.

Finally, we stopped midway for food at a little station called Oseon, which was apparently once actually a small town, as opposed to a breeding ground for blood-sucking insects as it is now:

In Oseon, lunch is always simple: Turkey or Meatloaf?

In Oseon, lunch is always simple: Turkey or Meatloaf? Choose turkey, by the way, I saw the little mud-hives on the roofs of the station, and all I can say is, they weren’t turkey dens. Also don’t choose the “Country stew” for the same reason. Turkey and salad, that’s the way for me. It tasted pretty decent. You could tell it was definitely turkey, and that was quite good.

Top-Hat Man makes an appearance.

You see all kinds on a train like this. Here’s a man doing his best impression of Wacky Pervert Mayor Man. There was another guy, Wacky Pervert Gold Prospector, but I didn’t get a picture of him. Eat Shi’ite.


Clearly the staff at the Cumbres “&” Toltec are deranged perverts who get their jollies from pinning up little stuffed bear dolls in the sight of small children. I heard grown men talk about their experiences on the railroad at night, and all I can say is, it seemed like a life-altering experience for them from what they said. You have been warned.


As I left this land for Chama once more, I was frightened to see others go far further up the trail than I had. It was frightening, true, but an educational experience. Some don’t learn their lessons the first time. I expect that the night ended for these poor souls with a happy-happy jolly dancing party with the staff, still wearing their suits with the kind of pride dressing up as a railroad worker can give. I was happy to get back to our little cabin at five o’clock, and take a nap, and try to calm down my stomach. And as I look over these pictures, I remember the yuppies, the sexy ladies, the fat ladies, the badass conductor dude with the handlebar mustache, and of course, the little brat that kept whistling his God-forsaken whistle every three seconds for the entire second half of the trip, and I realize the kind of journey I’ve went on. You know, a train ride.




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