Monday, October 6, 2008

New MOT*: The Railcar

I was perusing the Travel section of the NY Times online, when I learned about a new mode of transportation- railcars. I'd never heard of them before, although in the past few months I've come to realize that there are a lot of vehicle that can use railroad tracks. Trains, obviously, but also rail riders- a type of pedal-powered cart- and the classic "hand car," as demonstrated by Kermit and Gonzo in this clip from The Muppet Show:

But back to the railcar- they're basically golf carts that run on rails. Until twenty-five years ago they used them to inspect the tracks, but now people ride them for fun. You can see the whole NY Times article here. There's even a North American Railcar Operators Association. I think I'll get in touch with them and see if they can help me get a ride for the URT**.

Also, I'll be talking to Dick Wagner tomorrow. He's the founder of Seattle's Center for Wooden Boats, and I think he'll have some interesting insight on using oceans, rivers, and lakes as part of the trip. In a recent email to me he wrote:
The water is the globe’s best freeway system and we have ignored it too long.

I think he's onto something, and maybe he can ever give me a ride in the one of the Center's boats. They have some sailboats that have already been around the word a few times, and they also have this cool steam powered boat:

* I'll probably be writing "mode(s) of transportation" a lot in reference to the Un-Road Trip, so I figured it was time to start an abbreviation.

** And I guess I should abbreviate Un-Road Trip too. Is this too much too abbreviation too soon? Let me know...

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