One of my fondest memories of the Alaska Railroad happened on an early winter morning. My dad and I were just leaving Girdwood and were on our way to Anchorage and outside, a blizzard raged.
Snow was flying every which way and I remember distinctly the feeling of being scared, not in control in the midst of Mother Nature's storm.
Not a car was in sight and if it wasn't for the swirling snow illuminated by our headlights, blackness would surely engulf us.
All of a sudden, a train whistle sounded in the distance. To our left, a beacon of light shone brightly alongside us.
There we were, alone on the treacherous road, and all of a sudden, this massive comforting train joined us along the Arm and we rode into Anchorage together.
To this day, I credit that train for keeping us on track during that storm.
See, I'm not the only one in my family with a love of trains.
My brother, aside from being a classic young boy who played with model trains as a kid (and as an adult) used to be a firemen aboard the 1880 steam locomotive in Hill City, SD.
My mom is loco about trains. If you couldn't tell from the Whistle Hill development (where two train cars now reside and are being converted into businesses), you would be able to identify her adoration of choo choos as soon as you mention something of the train sort.
And then my dad and sister are along for the ride.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that in a closet of wonder (my closet), I would have an appropriate autumn skirt with a choo choo scene on it.
A skirt that I simply had to wear in front of our freshly re-painted Alaskan Railroad train car, #602!
Seeing it all come together is making us giddy, for visually, things are finally moving along. It's also reminding us of our time stamp, for in order to make it work by December, we have to stay on track.
Just like the train rumbling through the winter storm keeping us company, we're going forward, full steam ahead.