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Good morning from beautiful Northern Arizona.

 

YESTERDAY

Well...I can now say I've performed on the Grand Canyon Railway...and yes..it is some kind of experience.  My musician friend who lives out here and made this happen...John Carpino...picked me up at 9 AM and led to to the train which is just down from the Wild West Junction and my "themed" China room I'm staying in.  My first thought was how much longer the train was than I thought it might be.  A ton of cars.  From the picture you can see of me all "cowboyed" up....you can see just a little of that length.  (all on board entertainers have to put on their western gear for the trip). Turns out that sometimes they have two trains make the trip to the rim of the Canyon during the day trips.

 

 

 

 

On board John introduced me to Larry and Nick.  Larry's has been playing on the train for a lot of years...6 days a week.  Nick is only 19 and he too plays a couple of days per week as does my friend John who jumps on board with his guitar every Monday and Tuesday.  Between the three of them I got quite the education.  I got introduced to almost everyone who was working on the railway...all of them just really nice folks.

 

The train rolled out at 9:30 Arizona time...and we started splitting up to play for those onboard at 10. Right off the bat I learned to get my "train" legs as one can topple and fall holding and playing a guitar if you don't plant yourself as the guys taught me to do.  You do four 20 minute shows on four different train cars back to back to back to back on the trip up...and the same routine on the way back.  Learning to walk through the connecting doors from car to car with a guitar was also a learning curve...and I'm pretty sure my guitar has few dings that will prove that. 

 

People were great.  This time of year a lot of retirees are on board.  They were suprised when I told them it was my first time on board too.  Since I've lived a few places in this country...there was almost someone on every car I played that I could relate too.  Two different couples were from Northern Kentucky...and they remembered me being on the radio there so that was a great conversation just to name one. 

 

I was so busy concentrating on singing...I rarely looked out the train windows to catch the scenery.  But that all changed when we stopped at the Grand Canyon on a three hour layover. 

 

Man the Canyon is incredible.  One truly can not capture it on a camera although you can see that I surely tried.  John led me around a small part of the rim...pointed out some great spots to shoot the canyon and he should know.  He's been there hundreds of times and his pictures he showed me were just amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the cool things that happened was that we ducked our heads into the Kolb Brothers little museum and gift shop and sure enough there was the book my great friend Roger Naylor wrote about those early explorers.  For more on Roger...read yesterday's blog.  But...I was proud of my longtime friend...seeing his work being so recognized...deservedly.

 

 

 

Truly one great view after another at the Grand Canyon.  You feel pretty small.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And...you learn to watch your step on the trails as the mules here have the right away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We grabbed lunch...got back to the train to rest a bit before it pulled out again at 3:30.  You do learn to pace yourself.  The high altitude and singing to big train cars with no microphone can steal your voice and energy pretty quickly.  Four more shows to do on the train saunter back to Williams.  I found that my song "Retired" works with this crowd big time...and so does the song about the lunch meat my Mom used to put in a sack for my school lunches..."Spam".  By the time I chat and visit with folks...I only sing about three songs per car and yesterday was all about finding out which songs are going to work.  So it truly was a learning experience.

 

At 5 pm...just about 45 minutes from Williams...the train got robbed!  Just like in all those western movies back in the day. It's a regular part of the Grand Canyon Railway experience.  Nobody got hurt...the tourists all cooperated with the desert bandits and had great fun.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And right on time the train pulled back into Williams.  We unloaded...and I headed back to my Wild West Junction Digs and joined my musician friends out on the courtyard for cold drinks and we listened to a couple more local entertainers singing to the tourists.  Steak dinner...little football on the TV...and it was lights out for yours truly.

 

 

 

 

 

One for the memory banks for sure.  And here in a couple of hours...we're off again to see one of the Seven Wonders Of The World.  I'm grateful for this very unique experience.  I gotta go catch a train.

 

Have a great Tuesday!

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