Monday, June 11, 2012

A Few More Bits and Pieces from the Tracks

These shots are from our last leg of rail travel.  We re-boarded the train in Gainesville, GA, about a hour late, just after 10:00 PM.  We passed the time waiting by watching all the freight line activity going on.  A nice thrill to have hundred car freight trains passing within twenty feet of you a near top speed!  After getting back on we tried to settle in for a night on the train.  We had to try and sleep in our Coach Class seats.  Suffice to say not the greatest night of sleep ever.  Some of the people around us apparently had no intention of sleeping or at least not until shear fatigue knocked them out!  I (Harlan) was really glad for my cup of coffee in the morning.

" I hear the train a comin'...."

We might look comfortable, but.................

We rode out of Georgia, through both the Carolinas (at night) and watched the sun rise in very picturesque Virginia.  So orderly, neat and clean there!  They're almost as "perfect" as we are in Lancaster County :}  

Breaking the fast

Look closely

Everybody has to wait for us (and get their picture taken!)

Our train crew working very hard

Arlington, VA
After Virginia we entered Washington D.C. where we stopped for a bit in Union Station.  There they changed out our diesel locomotive for an electric one.  Speeds increased from there on.  It's quite a challenge to take a picture of something when zipping by at something like 90 miles an hour. 

Union Station

Amtrak diesel locomotives

Li'l' rail rider

Cool bridge in Baltimore

Serious urban decay in Baltimore

What is it about the cities starting with a "B"?  Baltimore & Birmingham  both  falling apart some places
 In Philly we got off the Crescent at 30th St. Station.  An impressive place, by far the busiest and grandest station we saw.  From Philadelphia we boarded the Keystone for Lancaster, PA, our final destination!
30th Street Station

Downtown Philly as seen from the front of the train station

Memorial to fallen WWII soldiers

Almost there!

Startin' to look like Lancaster County!

"We're done and we're home!" - Outside the Lancaster, PA train station w/ our welcoming committee

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bits & Pieces from the Rails

A car-carrying freight car

One of many sport fishing boats next to the tracks in Lake Pontchartrain, LA

Getting on or off the train is so much more free-form than flying

Zack playing Solitaire time on the train

Old rail car parts and other scap along the rails in Birmingham

The wrong side of the tracks in Birmingham, AL 

Rails and Trails voluntary Park Ranger (they do Santa Claus on the side!)

We passed a massive facility that either constructs and/or repairs all types of U.S. military tracked vehicles

From a bygone era


Snack car galley 

Sugar cane?

Union Pacific freight engines

One of the smaller Gulf Coast cities of TX or LA

Rice fields we assume

Busy freight junction in Gainesville, GA

Norfolk Southern Engineers (yes, those are women driving that train!)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Side Trip to the Marches

Monday evening, June 4, we again jumped off the train for another 48 hour break after a day's ride up from Hattiesburg, MS.  We stepped off at Gainesville, GA just northeast of Atlanta.  We spent the night at the Holiday Inn, then picked up our rental car for the drive to Madisonville, TN where Sharon (Harlan's sister) and Bill March & family live.  The drive is through some beautiful countryside and parts of two national forests.  

The first part of the drive up was somewhat diminished by rain and an interesting condition that befell our three kids.  Each and every one of them (thankfully not all at the same time) decided that breakfast could not stay where they had originally put it!  The combination of extremely windy roads, overdoing it at the breakfast buffet on foods they are not conditioned to and lack of sleep was apparently just a little too much. It wouldn't have been too unusual for this to happen to one of them, but all three?!  Not a real neat "hat trick"!  Oh well, thank goodness we've learned to be more or less prepared for such things.  The "sea sickness" blew in quickly and thankfully disappeared just as fast and nobody was the worse for wear :}  

Train leaving Gainesville w/o us

We had a fine stay with Bill, Sharon, Faith, Danielle and Josh.  Our kids were thrilled to hang out with their cousins.  We enjoyed a very beautiful drive back to Gainesville.  This time we were completely able to enjoy the drive with no distractions!  Beautiful super green mountains and meadows with a cobalt blue sky.  So nice to see thick and lush forests after becoming accustomed to the more frequently anemic forests of Honduras. 

Another great place to rest after long travels

Cousin reunion

Productive and pretty March gardens

Janelle swiping blueberries AGAIN!

Bananas in Tennessee.  Really?!

Fam. & van (liked our rental, came w/ Sirius sat. radio!)

Drove through two National Forests:  The Cherokee & Chattahoochee

Dense greenery!

Ahhhhhhh......border crossings are so easy some places!