Okay, so it was with his camera.
And, maybe it wasn't exactly from a moving train but from a car in a park in Whistler. Standing still. Details, details.
The point is this. Stewart, who is retired, loves train travel. In particular, the Rocky Mountaineer. If you've never heard of it - and I hadn't - it's because you're not Canadian.
The Rocky Mountaineer is owned by a Canadian company, and it travels coast to coast through Canada. The train, that is, not the company. It sounds spectacular, when you consider the natural beauty of that part of North America. Photos on the Website give you a taste of the possibilities.
For Stewart, the draw is the chance to take photos. "I have no problems traveling alone. The big thing is, I want to get pictures. I want to get pictures at 5 a.m. and be out there before the sun comes up. So traveling alone's not bad."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bucket_List
His "bucket list" includes seeing as much of Canada as he can. His last journey was an 11-day train trip from Vancouver to Whistler to Quesnel to Jasper to the Columbia Icefield to Lake Louise to Banff to Kamloops. Whew. He had to hop a coach for some portions where the train didn't go.
He went alone because his artist girlfriend was busy. But he met a lot of people because everyone's hanging together on the platform part of the train where you can shoot without taking photos through glass. So everyone clumps up, pointing out things to one another. And exclaiming, I'm sure.
Stewart pays extra to sit in a car with a domed top and a reserved comfy chair. But he didn't stay put much the last trip. "I hardly needed my chair. I was outdoors nearly the whole damn time."
The service includes a copy of a map of the route with mile markers all along the way. And the attendants announce cool sights coming up. "It's a great way to travel if you're interested in photography," Stewart says. "They're the most interesting mountain shots you're going to see."
The Rocky Mountaineer seems to attract a "mature" crowd, Stewart says. A lot of retired people. Also fun crazies. Like the three New Jersey guys who had 10 days off from work and decided to go as far as they could by train. They headed West to California and then north to Vancouver and then onward to Toronto.
They carried scanners and listened to the engineer and told whoever wanted to listen about the attributes of the train and various others. Train geeks!
Stewart also travels with his girlfriend when she can make it. There are benefits to both, he says. His advice to travelers who can't find traveling companions? "I'd encourage them to not let that stop them, especially if they're a little outgoing. But even if not, they can keep to themselves and see what they want to see."
Oh, and another great trip in Canada for Stewart? Going up to
Churchill to see the polar bears migrate. They wait for ice to form so
they can hunt for seals. You can see them via a tundra buggy. Cool! In more ways than one...
Stewart's bucket list sounds pretty action packed. I wish him more exciting times on trains. Or however else he gets to do the shooting he loves.
Photos: Of and by Al Stewart
2. From Vancouver to Kamloops