Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day 1: Reflection

All in all a good experience. I did make a mistake in the schedule and thought that there was the second excursion. Even before taking pictures, I took a stroll into the gift shop. This is a railroad destination so I got a patch for my excursion shirt. It is also a destination so I got a patch for my wall display. OK, I got a mug, for my collection of mugs, but it was a extra, not standard souvenir.

Reflecting back on The Great Smokey Mountain RR, there would be some possible changes. In reality, I prefer to watch or chase rather than ride. I left Bryson City and went through the gorge to Blue Ridge. I spent the night half way between Bryson City and Blue Ridge. I found the gorge pretty and watching the rafters and kyakers was fascinating. If I had the chance to go again, I more likely arrange to take the gorge trip, just for the fun.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Day 1, Great Smokey Mountain Railroad

My plans are always changing, being fine tuned. In the end, it is just a plan subject to change as I go. As I begin day one, I note that I have started each day, in my plans, at 9:00. However, my day may start earlier, therefore more might be done than planned. Day one actually started at 7:45 rather than 9:00. I got things done faster and earlier than I gave myself allowance.

This meant that I arrived at the Smokey Mountain Railroad, around one o'clock rather than 2 as originally been speculated. The trip of the Gorge was due so I took some pictures around the place:

Than the Daily Excursion returned and I got video:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Planning Vacation, part 6b

When it comes to railfanning, I am as much a sportsman as anything. There is nothing more thrilling than the train chase. Even when I go and stand beside the tracks, waiting for a train to pass, it is a form of chase. In fact, most railfan excursions have all the elements of hunting. We have targets to hip, trains to see. Very often it is watch here and get to another place to watch there.

I have other interest, as well. I do pay attention to "Public Art:" Sculpture, painting, architecture, public space layout, and (yes) graffiti. When I see it on vacation, I will take pictures and will talk about it in this blog. I guess, in a sense the rock sculpture of Stone Mountain is public art, although I am ashamed of the subject matter.

Stone mountain has the sky ride which I find interesting and the high view. In one picture file on my computer is the category :High view at Cass. View of scenery over the valley and mountains of WVA (from nearly 35 years ago.) Remember the view of Pittsburg from the mountain or the view of Boston from the Prudential Tower.

Of course, there is my love of Skylines, cityscapes. In this way the top of Stone Mountain will give the high view and a high view of the skyline of Atlanta (so I am told). And of course there is the Stone Mountain Railroad.

I have done more detail planning, such as my time spent in Chattanooga. Most is centered around how best to get the most of my time, more than a real detail plann.

(to be continued)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Planning Vacation, part 6a

Initial planning for Vacation 2014 began early in the winter, maybe earlier. I went through a number of out and back excursions for train watching. To that I added a few week or two extended railfan trips. All this was simply to keep my sanity on cold winter nights, alone. Most were merely project with no real intention of doing. I told how this evolved for this vacation. It started as a excursion across Tennessee. When it decided to take this trip this summer, I added Atlanta, GA because Google Maps put the fastest return trip from Memphis, as being through Atlanta. From there the evolution of the excursion developed. Even in the last several weeks, there was further refinements and changes made. I did add the Memphis stop to the Chicago out and back. And, soon, I will be packing the car and heading out.

These are the last minutes preparations for an unmarried railfan and his vacation. Remember that I have other interest in addition to railroads. In fact, this vacation is more railfan than I usually do. Being alone, I have certain things I do not like to do. Amusement parks are one. I might find their park train or monorail or streetcars interesting, but that is not enough for me to spend a day's admission to enter. If there is a way to see them without going in, I will. Remember my video of Tweetsie RR, last year. For that reason, I have not planned any side trips to Disney World, while in Orlando.

I use to love Civil War sites, in my younger days. I do have many slides of Appomattox, seeing that I went past there  between my home (at the time) in Richmond VA and my Grandparent's in Lynchburg VA. There are other sites I would love to see. But, now I am a suffer from single white man's guilt, which makes Civil War Sites not so interesting. When I go by them, it is more an act of repentance than anything else. That is why it took me so long to decide to go to Stone Mountain. It being almost a shrine to that part of American Shame. I am not talking about the war but the main cause: the enslavement of humans in bondage, based on race.

(to be continued)