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Gunfights...Touists and The Canyon Day 2

Hump Day for me on the Grand Canyon Railway...Day 3 on the rails straight ahead.




Once again...it was up early to catch the train to the canyon with train cars full of happy passengers from all over the world.  My call time at the train is 9:30 each morning with my guitar and boots and hat.  I went a little early yesterday to watch a bit of the daily gunfight they have OK Corral style right in front of the train before everyone boards for the two and a half ride to the rim of the canyon.  You can see from the picture...at least one poor cowboy got shot...which was followed by laughter from the crowd. Ya had to be there kind of thing.




I made my way to the train which had extra cars hitched up to it for the journey so we had more folks to play for than we did on my first day which was Monday. 


I was told this by the other musicians as we all gathered and tuned up and were assigned which rail cars we would be playing on.  Five shows to the canyon.  Five more in all.  10 shows!  Yep...it's a bit hard on the vocal cords so I'm doing my best to do what they've told me...hydrate...and pace myself.  But...I do sound a bit like Froggy this morning which means I may have to stop singing my original tunes and break into Johnny Cash songs today.   So...the deal is....you take your guitar and your bag with CD's you sell through narrow hallways and interconnecting doors from one car to the other.  Sometimes there's a dome room upstairs you go to and play...then down and play a room...then you move through the next set of doors trying very hard not to bump your guitar or stumble while the train is rockin' and rollin' down the rail and through the pines and open country that's right outside the windows.





Once again I met folks from all over the world on the train.  I also met a couple more folks who went to college where I went which is fun.  I'm meeting several Central Missouri University grads.  Who knew.  There was a nice couple from England and I had a great conversation for the guy who is the "play by play" guy for the NBA San Antonio Spurs.  He's been their announcer 18 years.  So I met another guy who's never had to work a day in his life.  And of course the train is full of folks who are retired which allows them to make this trip in mid September.  And they all seem to be pretty happy about that.



The train arrives right on time as always at the canyon.  I change into some comfortable walking shoes...off with the cowboy hat and on with a cap...and my friend John Carpino who's also singing on the train yesterday takes me to a little canyon cafe for lunch and educates me even more about the history of the place.  John's done this a long time.  Turns out their is a cemetery and library, and museums, mule barns and of course gift shops to see educate yourself about.


With lunch over John does what a lot of veterans do on the train.  He goes back early while the train is empty and finds a comfortable spot in one of the luxury cars that's now empty and gets a little snooze before the next set of 5 shows.


Me?  I take a walk.  I wanted to check out the famous Tovar Hotel and Restaurant which has a patio that hangs right on the rim.  If you look...just off the front door you're seeing the edge of the Canyon peek over the low rock walls.








Inside Tovar some critters are hung on the wall.  Big critters.  I may have lunch at the Tovar during our stop today.







Peering over the rim of this place truly is unreal...at least for me...everytime.  It's just hard to explain for those who have never been what it looks like exactly.  Takes your breath away literally.








With a cloud or some rain or some snow...the canyon can take on different looks of color and shade and shadow.  I can't even imagine how many pictures have been taken of this place through the years.  I know I've worn out my cell phone camera the past two days alone. 










I go back to the train early to get a little rest myself.  They rotate entertainers on the train.  John Moore the Mayor...sheriff....Central Misssouri grad...books the entertainers and he has a list of probably 15 or 20 folks he can use at any time.  Some of them play every week...multiple days and have done so for years.  And there is always someone new for me to meet everyday...all of these guys interesting and talented and those conversations are great.




Before we know it...it's time to go to work again playing for the tourists who are back on the Grand Canyon Railway for the trip back to Williams.  Folks are a little more laid back now after spending 3 hours at the canyon but all smiling.  One lady liked my songs so much she wants to book me for a show in Florida.  I asked her to send me a note after it dries a bit down there and they get power back.  I'm selling my CD's as I go along...so some of those folks will get a few more laughs later when they listen...I hope.  And many of them tip...sticking bills in your vest pocket as you move past them with kind words to say or more.


For instance...I sang "Safe Haven" a few times yesterday which is about Hillary Scott & The Scott Family's father-grandfather-father in law from cancer.  Twice...folks stopped me to show me their picture of their grandfather they had lost.  Amazing.  Another lady showed me a picture of the Twin Towers she had after she heard me talk about my experience on 9/11.  And because I've lived several places...there are always folks to talk with about those places and experiences. 


At 5 pm daily...the train gets robbed.  And it's pretty funny stuff.  The tourists eat it up.


Promptly at 5:45 the train pulls into Williams.  My friend John and I stop at a local craft brewery where John plays sometimes with a great name as you can see.  Something cold...then we trek back to the Wild West Junction where I bed down and grab dinner and listen to some other musicians entertaining a bus load of folks who were in from Norway.  Nice way to end the day in north AZ.




Back in my room before hitting my pillow I call home and catch up with my wife Kathy who snapped a pretty cool picture herself near our home.  I'm seeing mules out here...she's got goats at home...and she loves them.  I'm hoping I won't get back home Saturday and see this herd on our front lawn.

Day 2...more memories to log in the memory bank...and day 3 begins shortly.  All aboard.






Have a great Wednesday.

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