Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon
1. The mosquitoes hurt less the longer you go.
2. You are oddly proud of the symmetric salt crystal pattern on your back.
3. The condom you've had in your wallet for over a year is probably no good anymore.
4. You bum a smoke off a bald man dressed in leathers and ask, what’s going on? He replies, I try not to. You wonder if there is anything to that.
5. Shredded tire on the shoulder looks like a giant eagle’s feather.First you imagine how big an eagle must be to fit that feather.Then you imagine how big its prey must be to match.You determine the eagle must be the size of a large truck. The prey must be the size of you.
6. Rumble Strips
7ii. You want to peel the cracked pieces off the ancient lake bed, scrub away all the dead skin and feel clean again.
10i. The Grands Tétons are pronounced The Grand Tee-Tawns.
10ii. Boisé, Idaho is pronounced Boys-ee, Idaho.
10iii. Dubois, Idaho is pronounced exactly how it should be.
10iv. You remember when you were 14 years old and ordered minestrone soup as mine-strone, and all your friends laughed.
11. You thought you’d be afraid of snakes but you aren’t.
12i. Prairie Dog
12ii. Mountain Lion
13. The train is 4 minutes late. You can think of two countries where that would be unacceptable. You wonder if there are any more.
14. Arco, Idaho
15. You fall in love with the baggage handler at the train station.
Your interaction lasts no more than three minutes.
You forget what she looks like as soon as you board the train.
16. You die and are reincarnated as a drug sniffing dog, and oooohboy does that bag smell good.
17. You fall asleep in the open air on top of pine needles and rusty red soil. A small plane flies overhead. In the quiet still of the woods, the noise is perverse. In all other cases it is comforting.
19i. You prefer the poetic ‘Texas Gate’ over the pragmatic ‘Cattle Grid’.
19ii. Texas Gate
19iii. Cattle Grid
20. You pick the same bathroom on car 3 because it's the largest.
You go to urinate five times on the eight hour train ride to Vancouver.
You notice exponential degradation of cleanliness and quality.
The floor around the toilet becomes unbearably sticky between Seattle and Everett.
You wonder whether all the other toilets on the train are equally filthy. You continue to use the same bathroom.