Sunday, April 5, 2015

22. Beastey Bay, and then Inland to Hazel

After stopping near Beastey, Alan's train began an overland course to Hazel.
After Irian, the train again traveled inland for a short spell, stopping at the neat (as in well-kept) little town of Contentment. Small stucco houses sat behind prim picket fences and tidy gardens with flowers, clumps of exotic succulents and tidy bushy trees. More than one garden had a strange-looking "gnome" that looked like an otter. No big trees to speak of. The narrow streets were also well-kept, with not a car, or even a pedestrian, in sight. Alan wondered who might live there.

Approaching Stonebill, the tracks again followed the water's edge, and the waves were much smaller than on the Skeleton Coast (he loved that name). Alan could see great white splashes in the distance, though, as breakers smacked into the rocks at Cape Fury.

The Stonebill stop was apparently the Beastey station as well. Several passengers got off here to board waiting pedicabs and a bus that said "Beastey." Alan was relieved that Jeremy was gone, and he could relax now that there were only a few people left in his car.

Under way again, Alan noticed fishing boats in Beastey Bay, and the town of Beastey off on a sandy point. As the train approached the Hills of Blackstairs, Alan watched salt marshes and scrubby bottomland merge into truck gardens and small farms. He noticed footpaths, busy with pedestrian and cycle traffic, leading off to several settlements, spread out to his left. Then it was all hills.

Alan went back to the dining car, which was actually a kind of snack bar with a short lunch counter. The varnished plywood and art-deco chrome trim looked original and quite classy, and all of it was well preserved. He sat on a stool and ordered an egg-salad sandwich, one of the "specials" on the small chalkboard, and a small glass of beer. Both were good! Two teenage girls were sitting next to him, and chatted something about what they'll need before walking to The Hook.

The Hook?  Alan pulled out his map and quickly found the hook-shaped peninsula to the north...Oh, so there it is - it looks like a hook!

Back in his seat, Alan began to read his novel as the rolling hills drifted by. At the Pendleton station, the two girls passed his seat, shouldering large backpacks as they got off. He was impressed that they were undertaking such a long hike on their own - they couldn't have been over 16!

After Pendleton, the unfenced grassy hills were lower, broader, and dotted with what looked like small subsistence farms: low houses and a few outbuildings surrounded by tiny fields of oats or maybe wheat. Hard to tell.  The sky was so open - no cell-phone towers, silos or power lines (except those by the tracks) to clutter the land!

He began to get sleepy, and drifted off thinking of Carla...

Beastey is only slightly larger in population today as it was upon its founding as Beasteyville in 1816.