The big trip to Colorado was the start of a four day journey following the Long brothers in mid-November. Why are they replacing rails in the winter season in Northern Colorado? I guess we will find out.
A two camera shoot started at Lupton, AZ at 7am. Clifford was packed awaiting his brothers arrival to carpool. We planned to follow them from AZ to Colorado. While waiting to leave Clifford gave us a tour of his house, a really impressive 2-story house that he is building on his days off. You read that right. He is building his own house on his days off from the railroad. Clifford is collecting various tools and materials with every paycheck to build another section.
Clifford explains that very bit of this house was built by him and his sons, with occasional help from his brothers who are trained in different trades. He said they put up the all the walls in one day. Each floor is 1600 sq. feet. When all finished the house will still not have running water because the area is not serviced by Navajo Housing Authority under the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Like many Navajo families, he does not know when running water will come to the area.
But not having water does little to deter Clifford from finishing his house. The stairs were made by taking a sample at Home Depot and copying the design. No one had seen stairs before in the surrounding home, more or less made them, so the problem was solved with a 4 step stair stringer. Then extending the pattern to 16 steps. Done.
When the other brothers arrive, we begin the caravan to Colorado near the Nebraska border. The Long Brothers pile into one car and stop twice only for gas. I can see already you have to trained your body to drive, drive, drive.
The trip took 10 hours from the high desert to high plains without once looking at a GPS. Taking the most direct route is important and that included the back roads. Railroaders have their favorite various routes that cut minutes off their travel and know when to pass through the larger cities on the freeways and when to avoid during rush hour.
But on this voyage, we opted for a two lane highway. We arrive at 9pm because the snow slowed us down. At one point in the drive, there was no visibility on the road.
Call time set for 4am which means we have to be out filming at 2:30am. Here we go people.