Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A new experience

Day two of the convention was one I really was looking forward to! We were going to ride a steam engine pulled excursion train. We got up at 5:30. What a vacation! We boarded a bus to Grapevine to ride the Grapevine Express.

There was no air conditioned car on this train. One was a really open
car. It had a roof and some rails to keep you inside, but that was it. We chose the next car up. It was probably built in the 1920's. I don't think the seats had ever been refurbished. I'll get back to that later.

The train was supposed to leave at 9 I think. This trip became a blur after a while. One of the things the rail fans like are the "run bys." This is where they troop off the train, plot through the weeds (and bugs and snakes and the like), to form a line to get pictures of the train steaming by them - as though they were just standing there and , wow, a train came by.

At 8, two of the buses were late because there was an accident on the freeway. It wa
s announced there would be a run by before the train left - at 9. People piled off the train and formed a line! The photo is a closely cropped image of that line because I don't want to show faces. It was still a little early and this was just a small part of the line that finally formed. Now place this same line along a rail road easement, and that will give you a picture of what the later run bys looked like!

These people are not just local hacks they are serious photographers. I snapped this picture the
night before at the barbeque. His equipment is not anywhere nearly as good as some of these folks. But it's
lot better than my little point and shoot Kodak!

We were able to experience some "rare miles" that the train doesn't usually cover. We went east from the station which is not part of the regular passenger experience. They scheduled two run bys. These required the photographers to climb up the embankment along the easement.

Returning to the station, the engine was turned on the turntable so we could then head west along the line that is usually traveled. We ended at the old Stock Yards which is a place I would like to visit again. It seemed to have some really cute attractions.

We finally returned to the station about five. My knees were screaming at me by this time and the 1920 vintage seat was a permanent feature of my backside. I headed for the first bus only to be told that one was going to be last, and we had to go to another. That other was two buses ahead. When we got to it, we were told it was full - which I knew!! So we got on the middle bus and headed back to the hotel.

All in all, it was fun, but that was the FIRST time I was more than ready to get off a train. I usually have the attitude that the trip is more fun than the destination. Little did I know what was ahead of me later in the week!

Lady Bug is bugging me to go upstairs to work on crafts again. She finally found that the little beaded friendship pins are fun! Yea! I can get some of my work done for the craft sale at Round Up in three weeks.

See you tomorrow!

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