Thursday, June 19, 2014

Planning Vacation, part 5

More, ;ater

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Planning Vacation, part 4

The entire trip would take 10 days, by my planning. If I deleted northern Florida, the trip would take only 7 days. However, I would miss one people mover, one streetcar, one commuter rail, and one monorail. You notice that I did not include Disney World, in my original plans. It was not really worth the time and money, for just the monorail. I am not a big amusement park person.

If I delete Nashville and Memphis, I only loose one streetcar, one monorail and one commuter rail. However, it will take 8 days. Nashville's commuter rail would be lost. As to Memphis, we have a lot, not just streetcars and monorail, However, we could add it to our out and back to Chicago, later. Of course, I may never take that trip, but it could be hoped for.

So! my original Tennessee trip plus two scenic railroads, turns out to omit all of Tennessee except for Chattanooga. I can live with that. So the new trip plan includes Chattanooga, Atlanta (including Stone Mountain), and coming across Florida. One other thing, a stop around, Savanna, GA would break up the trip, nicely.That will give me a chance to see their River Street Streetcar.

Now that I have my plan, I did look ahead to see about souvenirs. In my discussion of them, I collect on trips a mug for each attraction, city in which I explored, and state that I visited. I don't collect one in states that I just pass through or cities that I just watch trains, for the most part. However, if it was more than just train watching or passing through than, of course, I will get one. For train related attractions, such as scenic railroads, railroad museums I will get a patch for my excursion shirt and one for my display. For parks and some museums, I will get a patch just for the display. The one attraction that is difficult to decide is incline railways. I would call it a mug occasion but also a patch occasion. They are railways, but not museum oriented, unless preserved. When in Pittsburgh, last year, at the top of Duquesne Incline, there was a gift shop which had mugs but not patches. I chose the mug but found a patch on EBay. For future use I have urges on both. A patch would be best but in reality is a basic attraction. I have decided to make it a patch occasion. A mug might be gotten as an extra.

Just for fun and interest, I looked at the potential sties and looked at which I might get where. Remember, all this is just a project, projecting potential and when reality hits, I will make last minute changes.

 Shirt   Stretcher   Mug 
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Scenic Railroad, NC yes yes  
Georgia     yes
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Scenic Railroad, GA yes yes  
Tennessee     yes
Chattanooga, TN      yes
Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN      yes
Incline Railway, Chattanooga, TN    yes  
Chattanooga Choo Choo, Chattanooga, TN    yes  
Battles For Chattanooga Museum, Chattanooga, TN   yes  
Tennessee Valley Railroad, Chattanooga, TN    yes  
Point Park, Chattanooga, TN    yes  
Rock City Gardens, Chattanooga, TN      yes
Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, TN        yes 
Atlanta, GA     yes
Stone Mountain, GA   yes  
Stone Mountain Scenic RR, GA yes yes  
S.A.M. Shortline, GA yes yes  
Florida     yes
Savanna, GA     yes
Vacation is planned, dates to be announced afterward to protect myself, as you might see.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Planning Vacation, part 3

So! I have set start and now need to look at finish. A Google Map search, for directions from Memphis to home, takes me though Atlanta GA. From what I would like to see, as far as railroads are concerned, there is a people mover at the Atlanta Airport. We find that public transit also included MARTA. I label this form of rail as third rail. Like Metro in D.C. It is similar. When I began planning, I first learned of proposed streetcar, under construction (back in February). It was proposed for start up in May. This would be great, to watch and video fresh tracks.

Near Atlanta, is Stone Mountain Railroad, a scenic railroad around Stone Mountain. The railroad is pulled by diesel but still nice to view. Not only that, they have a cable car to the top of the mountain with a great view (I like scenic views) of Atlanta skyline (I love scenic views of skylines). The only drawback is their is a carved relief on the side of mountain of Southern Civil War generals and leaders. That bothers this old guilty white liberal southern man. It is partly in guilt over the whole notion of enslaving whites. To make matters worse, we had to fight a civil war to try to preserve such vial practice. And now to commemorate such and such.

On one hand, it is history not current events. I am too old to know the realities of slavery. However, it was my white ancestors that enslaved, abused, and profited off the flesh of others. The war was history. Another way to look at it is such monuments are monuments of reflection for the forgiveness of our sins. Bringing candles and offerings of penance for an ancestral life lived wrong. A place where we wow to never let that happen again, and to do all within our power to prevent it from happening. I look upon Memorial Day as a day of penance to mourn the sin of war and our unwitting or willing complicity. I had more I could say but will put aside that for now. South of Atlanta is the S.A.M. Shortline, another scenic railroad. Another place to stop to see the train.

Atlanta would have been good, if including Stone Mountain. However, Atlanta is a fairly close drive to Tamp, FL and a drive across northern Florida through Jacksonville before heading north to home. Tampa has a plane train to enjoy. Besides that, we can see street car action in town. Jacksonville has a monorail as public transportation.

Trying to update things, I learned that Orlando was beginning commuter rail in May.....WOW. Another new thing to see.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Planning Vacation, part 2

So! I will drive across TN as my vacation, I emphasis, for the most part, will be the watching of trains: one commuter Rail, one set of light rail, one incline, and one museum. Of course, there are sites not associated with railroads. My next step is to set up getting there and getting home. In looking at Google Maps and laying out my trip to Chattanooga, My first look, add 10 minutes to the trip, I end up going past Bryson City. Bryson City is the home of the Great Smokey Mountain Scenic Railroad. From Bryson City to Chattanooga we could swing by Blue Ridge and the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad, an addition of only 30 minutes to the travel.

When it comes to scenic railroads, I have mixed feelings. I do love to see them and video and photograph them. When it comes to riding, I have the questions. Steam excursions are one thing. I will ride behind steam. Railfan excursions are another. The become fun because of the mutual interest of the riders as well as the occasional photo runby, along the tracks. My favorite is the Cass Scenic Railroad Railfan Weekend, every April. They had three days of riding with the Shays and four or five runbys on each trip. Besides these, they had a night photo session.

When it comes to Diesels, I am particular. Unless there is something photogenic, I am not prone to take the time to ride, but will chase, if I can. These two scenic railroads would fit into this last category. In looking at both, The trip to Chattanooga plus the bypass to see both the Blue Ridge and Great Smokey Mountain Scenic Railroads, would only be one day longer than the travel from home to Chattanooga, alone.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Planning Vacation, part 1

I planned out some good train watching, over the past years. These were done only as "projects'" something to do on boring evenings or when I got obsessed over watching. I have taken one as my plan for vacation. In laying out the original, I began with a location. In this case I am looking to Tennessee. I have created a list of railfan destinations so I go to that list and look up Tennessee. It contains list of shortlines, scenic railroads, Light rails, and monorails. In my interest I set aside shortlines as they are not a priority during vacation, maybe watched on a daytrip.
There are three locations that are good. First is Chattanooga where there is, of course, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Another place is the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. I remember,when I first went to Chattagooga, back in the early eighties. I went, primarily to take a Southern Steam Excursion. I got there early, the day before and decided to explore and found myself at Lookout Mountain and the incline RR. It was too late to ride it, and I had the excursion the next day so I put off the mountain another day. The day came and the fog was all the way down to the base of the mountain, so I never did ride the incline but did get to see Ruby Falls and one Civil War site.
I remember all those barn roofs with the advertisement for Rock City and think that might be interesting. My interest, other than railroads, include scenery. I use to like Civil War sites but in my recent white man's guilt, I don't seek out civil war sites but see them as my might as well sites. That is, since I am in town I might as well look at a civil war site. From Chattanooga, my attention go the the next place on my list, Nashville. Nothing there except commuter rail. It would be a good overnight stop and it would give me the chance to video the commuter rail. A major highlight of this trip would be Memphis. It has one of the few hanging monorails in the country. Besides there is light rail, streetcars, and a few other places of interest.