A Short Collection of Wandering….
Welcome back everyone. Glad you could join my wife,
Mrs. Shuttletrain and I as we continue wander around that big country of ours.
We have been very busy on the homefront this year,
but, I will discuss that a little later. The American Passenger Rail Heritage
Foundation’s Let’s Talk Train program that I am a host of started off very
strong. The month of January, I hosted twice. The first episode was about how
riding trains helps universities and their students. The second episode was
live from St. Louis Union Station featuring the new owner that had just
purchased the station complex along with the hotel. We found out lots great
information about his plans for the property and bring trains back to the
station both excursions and model trains. Mrs
Shuttletrain and I went to the World’s Greatest Hobby show in downtown St.
Louis. We wanted to get more information about garden railroading there. It was
a very large show. I am not sure why I have not been to trains shows like that
February’s LTT was about Amtrak’s plans for some of
their biggest stations. The show was very interesting and informative. I had
only planned to do one show in March, but, a scheduled host got sick and asked
if I could host. My wife and I had previously planned to go to the winter
meeting in Carlyle, Illinois of the Gateway Garden Railroad Club (GGRRC) to
find out some more specific information about G Scale railroading. I agreed
with the sick host that I would ask the GRRC if we could feature their club on
the show. They said yes and let’s us take over their
conference room for two hours while we did the show. It turned out that the
episode was the highest rated show in the last three years. I was shocked. We
were hooked on the GGRRC too. We both joined the club the next day. The members
of the club are so knowledgeable and have become great friends.
My regularly scheduled show of March was the
railroad collection of the Smithsonian Institution. It was another great
episode. I took April off from hosting
as my mother-in-law passed away and felt that I needed to spend time with Mrs.
May rolled around again and found Mrs. Shuttletrain
and I finding that our historic house had developed a serious water issue
affecting our foundation. We decided that since we were going to have to grade
out the side of the house, why not replace it with a garden railway. We had
seen lots of great layouts at botanical gardens during our travels around the
country. We have picked landscapers, concrete and electrical contractors. We
now have to start building a plan with the city engineers to come up with the
best solution. The May Let’s Talk Train show for me was about Railroad museums
the Georgia Railroad Museum and the Houston Railroad Museum.
June arrived a bit too cool for a summer month. My
plan for the June Let’s Talk Trains show was about Trucks vs
Trains…why can’t they get along. My thinking was that trucks are currently
taking over our roads and causing to prematurely fall apart. The solution was go back to a more intermodal operation. I wanted the
American Trucking and the Association of American Railroads to come on the show
and debate what the best options were, but, alas…they did not respond. We still
had a great show. I even had one of the hosts as a guest and give his input on
Ok, then July came….and boy I was ready, after
all…it is my birth month. The Fourth of July weekend we headed to the southeast
for a wedding of Mrs. Shuttletrain’s nephew. She decided that we could go to
Georgia a couple of days before the wedding. So we packed up and headed south.
We were about an hour outside of Nashville, Tennessee when the skies opened up
and it preceded to rain all the way to the hotel. The next morning it was still
raining, but, we headed off to Dalton, Georgia. The Let’s Talk Trains hosts all
decided that we should get out and meet our audience, so I scheduled a meet and
greet in Dalton. I forget that we would be traveling through a time zone that
we would lose an hour. Since we had spent the night before in Nashville, TN, we
arrived at one o’clock local time instead of the previously announced noon. I
felt bad, but, there were still twenty people there waiting and who decided to
watch the trains till we arrived. I am really discovering how railfans really
enjoy the show and look forward to it each week.
We stopped into to the Dalton Visitors Center and
spoke to the representative, who told us about the railfan center and the
viewing area. We tried to eat at the Railroad restaurant but they were closed.
Nonetheless, we moved on to Waycross, Georgia for the night. We arrived just as
the rain had stopped, the darkness and wet streets
made it difficult to see all the people that were lining the streets for the
town’s fireworks display that would be starting about 15 minutes after we
arrived. We found a KFC and ate dinner as they were trying to close but were
gracious to let us finish and even gave us better directions to our hotel. We
arrived at the hotel and the smoke was very overwhelming. We were very tired
and fell asleep quickly.
The next morning, we packed up and headed to the
southeast railfan’s heaven…Folkston, Georgia. We arrived at lunch and found a
local restaurant to have lunch, knowing that our stomachs would have to watch
out for certain foods. Overall, the food turned out very well cooked and we
enjoyed it. We stopped by the Rail watch platform and visited with the railfans
for awhile. Then it was time to head over the museum and set up for the Let’s
Talk Trains program. We would be taping the show air a little later that month.
We interviewed the current and former mayors whom are still great friends. The
convention and visitors bureau director also came by and spoke to us. We interviewed
some railfans and learned why they come to Folkston. If want pictures, go the Let’s Talk Trains Facebook page. After the show, we stayed around for awhile
and watched trains too. Before long it was time to head further south and west
along Interstate 10 and arrive for the night in Bonifay, Florida. The next
morning headed to Fort Walton Beach, Florida for the wedding. Did I mention
that it was still raining? It rained for most of the trip. The wedding was a
great beach wedding, and it was like the Gods’ where shining on the bride and
groom because the rain stopped long enough for the ceremony. Of course the
reception was in doors, and after another long day we took cover in the hotel
room to close our eyes for the night, all of five hours. The next day we drove
back to Washington, Missouri because Mrs. Shuttletrain and I both had to be
back at our regular jobs the next day.