Only 36 hours left until we board Amtrak for our cross-country vacation sojourn, first via the Capital Limited to Chicago for the weekend and then the Southwest Chief to Santa Fe. Although we do get away to the other big cities of the Northeast like New York and Montréal pretty often, we usually only go for a short weekend. This is the first long trip we've taken in several years. I am, accordingly, pretty excited.
Before we even decided where we were going, we decided to make the trip by train. We are both rail fans, and the idea of making a trip across country seemed like both an interesting experience as well as more in-line with some of our core values relating to transportation. We wanted to see what travel is like in a much slower, but much more sustainable trip. Chicago was a natural jumping off point, as most of the countries rail lines pass through, and both of us like the city and wanted to spend some time there anyways.
My interest in New Mexico comes largely through my interest in general in Stateless Nations. Although, taken as a whole, the settling of the United States was, of course, a colonial act, there are only really a few places in the country where the populations of people living there were great enough for them to remain a force in intervening years; Hawai'i, Alaska and Nuevo México being the most apparent three (and not accidentally, the last three states admitted to the US). Even today, the state is roughly 45% Spanish-speaking, 45% Anglo and 10% Indian. I find this intersection of varying populations extremely interesting, especially as, like Québec, the state can be said to function both as a sort of internal colony, but also enjoying all of the powers and freedoms that any other state would have. Of course, my main interest is to see how this is inscribed in physical space.
I hope to blog relatively frequently and (though to be honest I haven't been feeling the photobug lately) to have pictures uploaded as we go.
Now let's just hope that the rain in the midwest stays down long enough for the train to get through Iowa and Missouri.