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Training Days

A train, 7 days, 6 cities, 2447 miles, 1 Capital short, and 1 Convoy tee

Story by OLIVERS May 2nd, 2016

At the end of a bitter winter, OLIVERS sent their new Movement Kit to us in Chicago and told us to meet them in California.

We spent the next week traveling across the United States on a train. As a professional photographer and filmmaker, Ben and I travel most weeks. The airport, hotel, borrowed couch, and rented car have become as much our home as the address on our tax return. But this trip was different.

We saw Omaha, rented mountain bikes in Denver, met up with friends in Salt Lake City, and finished up in San Francisco. But more than the cities, the experience was in the travel itself. Rolling through wild America at 55 MPH, the curved glass of the observation car creates a subtle separation that makes the images flying by surreal. The Rockies rose and fell, the Truckee river chased us, and Gore Canyon fell out beneath the tracks.

5 days on a train, looking out on a part of the country most of us only ever fly over, we got a sense of scale that’s hard to grasp from the seat of an airplane, to say nothing of our desks. My mind went to the heroes that first made the journey, the groups that traveled out west looking for opportunity. I thought about Ansel Adams and Jack Kerouac. In the Mountains and Canyons, I thought about the millennia of forces that shaped each crevice and peak. I can’t say much about the food, the tiny bottles of Cabernet, or the reclining seats. I was happy to get back to a mattress in Chicago, but ask me to trade the hours staring silently out the window, and I’m not buying.

Footnote: Photography by John Philp Thompson and Dylan Nord. Video by Ben Derico.