Sunday, October 28, 2018

NOT a pedestrian crossing!

For the second time in a month, my drive home in Hanahan was interrupted by a passing freight train.

"Passing" would have been ok, but it slowed, then slowed more and finally lurched and shuddered to a complete stop and stood still.

It was totally blocking the Remount Road crossing in North Charleston.

Traffic backed up as motorists waited to see if it would be a short wait.

Some people on foot - and a few on bikes - also shuffled and stood around while waiting to see how much of a delay it would be.

Several weeks ago, a freight train had come to a stop a little after 4 pm at this same crossing and cars backed up all the way out onto Rivers Avenue and almost to North Rhett on the other side.

I knew Fire Station #3 is on the other side of the stoped train and hoped they were not called to respond to an alarm on the Rivers Avenue side of the tracks. They were not.

But I did see several people, obviously not willing to just stand around indefinitely, actually get down on hands and knees and crawl beneath the stopped freight cars and scamper away on the other side.

 YIKES! How insane!

I actually wished that I had my camera with me instead of just my phone cam. I wanted to record this dangerous insanity to alert officials!

Yesterday, also a few minutes after four, a long slow freight had stopped and I was second in line as we waited to see how long we would be stuck there waiting.

Dang, it was another 20-25 minute wait.

Patience was running thin and the car in front of me roughly pulled a U-turn and headed back toward Rivers Avenue.

I also saw pedestrians were moving closer to the stopped cars.

Uh, oh, here's where it gets crazy again!

Ah, but this time I had my camera with me.

A young lady appeared, stepped gingerly across the couplers between two cars, hopped down on my side of the train and continued on her way.

Others started climbing up on the couplers, stepped across and dropped down on the other side.

Their wait was over and yet, the train still just sat there as motorists fumed and motors were turned off.

More cars were pulling out of line behind me seeking an alternative to just sitting in stopped traffic but at least this time I did not see anybody crouching down to crawl beneath the stationary gravel-filled freight cars.

It started to look like a CARTA bus situation as bikes were hoisted on shoulders and the riders attempted to climb up between the cars.

They dropped down on the other side, away from my view, and pedaled away.

Some bikers were helped with their rides and other did it alone.

The train sat perfectly still for 15-20 minutes.

I guess these walkers - and bikers -  were confident they had conquered and overcome an obstacle in a "safe and prudent" way.

I disagree, but, at least I did not have any bloody photos of people being injured due to a series of bad decisions.

Bad planning by the railroad for blocking a major highway so long - and so often  - during a high traffic time.

And totally insane activity by impatient pedestrians who are lucky nobody was thrown off the freight car couplers and seriously injured.

Or had fallen under the massive wheels!

I hope this is not going to be a 4:00 pm daily event on Remount Road.

Fire engines and ambulances were totally blocked the entire time the train was stopped.

Who is monitoring this?

I hope this blog will call attention to a serious situation that should not be allowed to continue.

I showed one photo to a friend who laughed and said: "People have been hopping freights ever since railroads began."

These people were not "hitching a ride." They were just feeling inconvenienced by the stopped train that was blocking their path.

They took a serious chance of being injured.

Or killed.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Please forward it to any officials you feel should be aware this is happening. More than once! Thanks!

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Friday, October 26, 2018

I'm really wired....

So, I have a neat little exercise room downstairs in my dad's old workshop.

His huge shop fan is pushed in front of the open double doors to suck in a torrent of cooling wind when I am doing my 3x or 4x a week exercise routines.

The shop is not air-conditioned and summer temps make it a challenge to head down there.

Lots of sweat as I do about an hour of strenuous routines on the machines.

I am really serious about my diet, my weight and muscle tone.

My doctor was concerned about a slight rise in my blood sugar and sent me to see a dietician, a delightful nurse at East Cooper Hospital.

She explained I could continue to eat most of my favorite foods but less frequently and in smaller portions.

Well, there is more to it than that.

The new emphasis is on fruits and vegetables. "good" fats, protein and  less "empty calories."

Fortunately, I had several cans of salmon which are high in what I need and I enjoy making a spinach salad with a boiled egg and chopped tomatoes.

My "gym" is set up so I can stream Netflix and Amazon Prime movies to watch on a tv monitor as I do 30-minutes on the treadmill.

I don't "run" but do a steady walk at 3 mph for a half hour.

I can gradually increase the "incline" of the machine to add more stimulation and actually spend a shorter time walking.

The images on the tv make the time pass faster and I recently signed up again to have Netflix send me several DVDs a month.

 These would add some of the newer action films, ideal for exercise time.

BUT, I did not set up a VCR to watch them.

I had a small screen DVD/CD player and tried using it. but "small" was not a great solution.

AHAH! My laptop has a nice size screen but was a low-end machine and lacked a built-in  DVD player.

A quick trip to Wal-Mart and I came home with what I thought was an external DVD player.

Hmmm, it seemed to be missing a connecting cable.

Rather than going out again to buy a cable with a USB on each end, I rummaged through an old - but massive - collection of cables and connectors I had stored downstairs.

Wow, there were cables here not needed for over a decade.

All had been bought when required but later assigned to the rubbish bin.

Well, actually in an old piece of soft luggage.

I pulled up a chair and started untangling cords and putting similar ones in small stacks.

Amazing how many different power sources had accumulated.

I found some that were difficult to even recall what they powered!

Well, the search was not fruitful. These all were pre-USB and useless for this project.

I went online and specified I wanted an external DVD/CD player to attach to a laptop. Amazon came through with a unit that included an attached  USB cable and cost half of what I had just paid for the unit I am returning to Wal-Mart.

An interesting journey down memory lane when items changed quickly and old methods were replaced with newer versions.

Uh, that is STILL happening!

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