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Way Down in Santa Teresa

Trip to Santa Teresa to film a tie gang working new the New Construction site was impressive. Jumped on a local flight from Flagstaff to Phoenix to El Paso. I travel alone to southern NM because the Paper Rocket team is busy and we hadn’t booked Kahlil yet. He enters the picture later on in Act II. From the airport I directly go to the job site with loose directions given to me like follow the dirt road until you see us. I find them. It is a large crew of Navajos installing new rails that will probably need to be replaced in 4-5 years.

The workers return to their motel after quitting time and that’s where I catch them outside talking to ask more direct questions about the work. At 10:30pm the Foreman for the New Construction pulls up and says he will talk at breakfast at the Village Inn in morning if I am up then.

When I find him it’s 2am and the restaurant is mostly full of Friday night people returning from the bar. The restaurant is a mix of young crowds totally obvious to the Foreman who sits alone at a table. Then another RRer joins him.

One worker is from Klagetoh, AZ and his name is Darrell Begay. What? Another Darrell on a tie gang. We do a short interview in the crowded restaurant to describe the day’s work ahead.

It’s 2:30am and I forget to turn on the microphone. Take two please! It was a striking image seeing these two men sitting unnoticed getting ready for life on the tracks. They zip out of the restaurant unnoticed.

The tie gang gather for their safety meeting in an empty lot miles away from the city. This is another documentary topic to follow the tie side of the railroad.

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