17 August, 2008

A weekend without trains (well, sort of)

Whew! Well, this weekend is over and it was a heckuva busy one. It actually started on Thursday, with our drive all the way to Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY. We got lost between the Lincoln Tunnel & mid-Town Tunnel in Manhattan, of all places, thanks to a frazzled traffic cop. I tried to make the turn I needed to, but you know them... go any which way but the way you need. That added a frantic, pre-rush hour race around multiple, crowded streets in mid-town. About an hour later, we got in to bumper-to-bumper traffic from Queens in to Nassau County, as the sky first hazed, they greyed, then darkened with tremendous lightning and downpours, with large drops smacking the windshield so hard, I thought they'd crack. We had pouring rain for about five hours.
After a brief but suprisingly nice stay at a Days Inn (with free wireless internet, so I could go on the Model Railroad Forums, http://www.mrrforums.com/), we had an eye-opening day at the US Merchant Marine Academy, where I graduated from and where my son has gained an appreciation of and enthusiasm for attending, we drove to my sister's in NJ. Again, the downpours accompanied us from Queens all the way to my sister's place. That made for a fun 'commute'.
After another brief stay, along with extremely edible bagels & pastries for breakfast, we headed south down the good ol' NJ Turnpike, where several hundred thousands of our "closest friends" joined us in a crawl down to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Once across, we high-tailed it away from I-95 and over to Rt 301, which was virtually deserted (except for State Troopers in Delware and Maryland). We were able to cruise through some pretty rural areas, occasionally seeing some trains (a tank car unloading here, a grain hopper being loaded there). There was a beautiful crossing over the Rt 50 Bay Bridge, with cool breezes and bright sunshine. We finally got home in the afternoon, after some stops for food & shopping down before crossing in to ol' Virginy! A nap after all that driving was in order, falling asleep to the Scotty Mason/Model Railroad Podcast (in like five minutes).
Today, after church, we spent three hours going door to door (hearing the occasional Amtrak going south to Richmond, or north to DC), getting approval from the homeowners for my son to do his Eagle Scout Project. So, not much trains from the hobby perspective, but I never let trains get too far out of my mind. And so goes a long weekend for the Train Fanatic! ;)

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