Sunday, February 17, 2019

North Creek and Saranac Lake

This follows up on my response to Pat's comment about my previous post.

Below is a picture of the Saratoga & North Creek train I rode in October of 2013.   You ferroequinologists out there may notice that our lead locomotive was a BL-2.  BL stands for Branch Line, and the sloped long carbody gives the crew a view in both directions, for safety when operating in either direction without turning the locomotive.

Number 52 was reportedly built by Electro Motive Diesel (EMD) in 1949 for Bangor & Aroostook, worked for a while in Wisconsin, and sat at a museum in Green Bay before going to Iowa Pacific Holdings, the "then" operator of the S&NC.  But they (both Iowa Pacific AND the BL-2, as well as other equipment) are reportedly gone from the railroad, leaving behind a bunch of very rusty rails.

The scenery on this line is outstanding.  It has high bridges, hills, rivers, lakes, and magnificent autumn colors. 

Too bad the railroad is no longer operating...everyone could enjoy a trip on the S&NC, particularly with seats in the lovely dome car!

Now for another trip back in time, as well as a venue change to the Adirondack Scenic Railway's northern branch, from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake - a distance of about 9 miles.   I rode this all-coach train back in August of 2016.   Nice engine, well-kept equipment.  In 2017, the State of New York denied permission to run while legal wrangling over rail-trail status of the line continued.  Trains did not run in 2018 either, and sadly, it's uncertain whether service will ever resume.  The tracks may actually be removed.  (And as everyone knows...once they're gone, they're gone forever.)

Here, my train simmers at its layover in Saranac Lake:

Following is a picture of yours truly, taken at Teddy Bear Park on Flower Lake in Saranac Lake, NY.   A couple on a boat, with two large, rather hungry-looking and mightily-unhappy Dobermans aboard, docked just out of the picture.  The owners seemed to be having a problem controlling their dogs (the lady was being dragged around by hers.)  I got this picture and immediately beat feet out of there, to make sure my day didn't morph from "very good" into "very bad."  An ambulance ride to the hospital because of a dog attack would surely have messed up a lot of things...

Segue to yesterday: I was walking out of the just-closed post office in my home town, wearing my usual outfit of stirrup pants, pantyhose, turtleneck, flats, jacket, and my purse.  As I walked back to my car (there were only 2 cars in the lot and mine was one of them) I heard a woman's voice call out "Ma'am!"  I turned around to see a young lady in the other car looking at me as she asked:  "Ma'am, is the post office closed?"  "Why yes, Ma'am - it is."  "Oh, OK, thank you, dear!" "You're welcome, hon!"

I guess I "passed."  It's always fun!

More later...


Monday, February 11, 2019

A bit of Ferroequinology from the 1970's:

Came across the following interesting sight, derailed in the snow in rural PA during the 1980's.
The raillroad sent an engine from a nearby terminal to retrieve the train, which was blocking grade crossings in town This locomotive sat there, engine idling (so it wouldn't freeze up) for a few days, till they could marshal a wreck crew to come put it back on the track and drive it back.

Most likely the cause was ice (more specifically frozen slush) in the grade crossing flangeways at the crossing just behind the locomotive. This occasionally happens in cold weather. It causes the locomotive's wheels to ride up on the ice, instead of staying on the rails. And then they can lead the locomotive wherever they want to take it. In this case, right into the ditch.

A week later all that was left was the tamped-down snow from wreck equipment and footprints in the muck at the site of the derailment. Ice was gone from both the road and the flangeways.

Pictures below refer to the following: with the rumored demise of the New River Train in West Virginia, and perhaps the last steam-powered mainline excursion train (Cheyenne Frontier Days Train from Denver to Cheyenne),  excursions such as these may well be on the way to "passing into oblivion."  So we look to the past for our history.

The following pix were taken in connection with (and from) a double-headed chartered steam excursion on the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the late 1970's.  Locomotives were ex-Reading #2102 and ex-Grand Trunk Western #4070.  And these two pictures were taken from one of the open vestibules on the train, as it climbed upgrade at  the Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, PA.

The steam engine "stuffed and mounted" at the curve (PRR 1361) was removed and replaced by a diesel, and repairs were made at the Altoona shops to enable it to Pennsylvania in 1987.  Due to an axle problem, it failed in service in 1988, and hasn't run since.  Right now reports are that it has been returned to Altoona and is being worked on by a small crew of dedicated people.

On those long excursions, it was fun to walk the entire length of the (often 20-25 car) train, and note the varying states of repair of the fleet of "former railroad-owned but now all privately-owned" vintage passenger cars, their varying decors, and in many summertime cases, how many had working air conditioning.   That was sometimes an issue, if the windows were sealed.

I wonder how many of them still exist today?  I'd venture that most have either been donated to museums or are languishing on sidings somewhere...

And lastly, "Old meets New" in Western Pennsylvania...the excursion train on a siding, waiting for an early Amtrak train (the remnant of the old Broadway Limited) to pass:

I was privileged to be able to ride and chase these excursions, and the memory will live with me "always."


Friday, February 8, 2019

Surprisingly, No issues...

Time for my next nail salon appointment...and since I wear sandals home, I waited for a 50+ degree (F) day to have them done.   Sandals in snowy 20 degree weather isn't the best (or most comfortable) style.   Definitely would be an attention-getter, particularly when I go to the store afterward.

Wouldn't you know...this time, two neighbor ladies (who are familiar with both me and my wife) were having their nails done.  One was there when I walked in.  When she was done she stopped by my nail station and said hi, then left.   The other came in shortly thereafter, and said hi as she sat down for her manicure...

The fun part was she and I both were seated next to each other at the pedicure station...and though she knows my gender, we talked about grandkids, the weather, the traffic, commercial airlines, and just about everything else.  It made the time pass quickly for both of us   Nothing was said about my gender...or my wife.  Just a compliment on both my manicure and pedicure.  I wonder what the neighborhood gossip will be?

My nail tech was wearing a very pretty set of acrylic/gel nails.  Couldn't resist checking them out. Middle fingers were yellow, all the rest bright red.  One finger on each side of her middle fingers had two cute yellow, black and white flowers on the red background.  A very nice look.  I complimented her, and asked if she had done them herself, but she hadn't.  She could have done one hand OK, but the other hand wouldn't have worked at all.

I'll give her credit - she checked to see if I wanted mine done that way this time.  Sadly, I had to say no...  "But it would be perfect if you were going out of town!"  Right she I have three styles to try!  All-white with a flower on each ring finger, black or dark gray with an airbrushed diffuse light gray stripe on thumbs and ring fingers, and today's pattern.  Girls have so many decisions to make!

Here is my finished pedicure:

You wouldn't know (unless I told you) that about a third of my left big toe nail is (or maybe was, since it can't be seen and is hopefully growing back) was missing!

And my manicure:

As you can see, my fingers are definitely pink, and shiny.  I like them...and they go well with stirrup pants, flats and my long hair...  Got to show them off a couple of times the next day, and they were well received. 

However, no comments from the home front.  On the manicure (or the flats - finally wearing this pair a bit more often.)

That's a good thing.

More later...


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"Your nails are too shiny..."

As you may recall, my fingernails have been done in various shades of pink acrylic, with a shiny gel top coat, for a long time.  And toes now in various shades of brown.  No bare nails for this girl...

Nothing has been said about my finger nails in months...  Well, not until this trip.  We were sitting (alone) at a restaurant equipped with bright recessed ceiling lights, quietly eating our dinner, and I heard the comment "your nails are too shiny - those lights reflect in them as you move your hands."  I pointed out that they have been that way for a long time, and she had not mentioned it previously.  A bit of hesitation, and "Well they've been too shiny for the entire time."  Then I pointed out those bright overhead lights aren't everywhere we go, that I like the way they look, and also that they have not caused any problems for either of us in daily life.   In addition, "I now keep them much shorter than I used to, which should be a plus..."

As I suspected might happen, that subject least for the time being.  And nothing was said about the pink color.  We'll see what happens, after my next visit to the salon...and they're still shiny.

This fine specimen... a resident of the aquarium in Chattanooga, where we stopped on our way through town during our trip.  I sure wouldn't want to confront him  (or her?) in the swamp...


Sunday, February 3, 2019

More about the trip

As stated in my previous post, we recently visited our son and his family down south, in Tennessee.  For this little excursion, Mandy stayed "at home in the suitcase."  Thus, there's not much about which to comment.  My attire was my typical everyday outfits: stirrup pants, tights, turtlenecks or polo shirts untucked, and flats.  Not to mention everyday clues to my feminine persona: long hair, nails, purse, women's winter coat, etc...just no makeup.

And my attire caused no major issues.  I was sometimes "miss-identified", particularly when out with D_I_L and wife.  They didn't mention anything after we were addressed as "ladies."  But that was probably less than half the time.  Rarely did I hear "Sir."  The rest of the time, it was simply "no gendered greeting at all."   It's nice to know that my daily attire can still cause me to be seen as female to casual observers.

While visiting with the kids, I caught a nasty sore throat and cold.  It put me substantially "out of commission" for a couple days, and is still hanging on now that we're back home, despite 2 doctor visits (one there, one here), a prescription for some non-antibiotic meds and a course of antibiotics - new ones to me.  Of course, given my "poster child status for medication side effects" I developed some, requiring a different course of antibiotics.    Hopefully things will straighten out soon...this is not fun.

We were able to get out and back home before the worst of the cold weather hit.  Incidental comment: reports are that Hell (Michigan, about an hour west of Detroit) froze over.  Again.  And during the recent cold snap and snow event, the roads here got bad again.   Two inches of snow is a lot over here on the Delmarva.

An annoying thing in Maryland is that nobody knows how to deal with snow.  The driver of an older Camaro insisted on tailgating me (so close I couldn't see his headlights) for doing 35 in a 55 zone (on icy and snow-covered main roads).    He finally passed, fishtailing as he laid on the gas when he went by.

I wonder if he even had a clue as to what would have happened if I had to slow down rapidly to avoid a collision while he was on my tail?  Probably not...but the resulting rear-end collision would have badly damaged both cars, and been his fault.  No matter - driving like he did, he probably had no insurance anyway, so mine would have had to pay off, raising my rates for the next 5 years since I would have had a claim.  And he'd have gotten off Scot-Free, to do it all again, to somebody else.

Where is Spring?  The groundhog says to expect an early spring.  We're quite ready....


Friday, February 1, 2019

Still around...

January is always a busy month for us.  We often attend a meeting in a city several hundred miles away, and also go to Tennessee to visit the kids.  But this year, plans got changed due to the weather.  With the threat of freezing rain in the direction of the meeting, we elected to skip attending.  And instead, we went to visit the kids when the weather broke in our favor.   The only "fly in that oatmeal" was the absence of our son...he was out of town on business.   So 2 out of 3 had to do.  We spent lots of time with D-I-L and granddaughter.  That was fun.

Enroute, we noticed some snow-covered hills near Chilhowie, Virginia, along Interstate 81.  Hence the below picture, which is the closest we can get to "snow-capped peaks" here in the east.  Before you ask, we have no clue as to what the cause of the house fire was...but if the place were still intact, it would be a perfectly lovely estate.

If only...

Don't know what the silver antenna is that you can see behind the house...maybe an amateur radio operator's antenna?

Gasoline in Virginia was very much less expensive than in Maryland, and in Tennessee was even less expensive than Virginia.   Below is the price we paid in TN.  Back home, it had been $2.16 and in VA, $1.99.   So the trip was less expensive than it could have been!

The kids have a whole gaggle of cats.  Though we're not "the catty type," they definitely can be cute when they're being good, and not antagonizing each other (or depositing dead mice from the woods on the doorstep, to impress their owners...)

How can you resist a picture like this?

Even though we're not into cats as pets, they are simply adorable!

More later...