Vacation help, please?

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 10:02 AM

CShaveRR

K.P., Pat is my wife and co-conspirator, as always.  This trip will, in a way, be a celebration of 45 years of marriage.

Linda is our younger daughter.  For the past three years she's been dealing with Stage IV cancer.  I'd say that right now she's holding her own and doing what she can (she has a Ph.D. in Musicology, and is primarily writing a blog and other things--recently her blog got the attention of the BBC!).  There's not much that we can do for her directly, but if things should change and she requires parents/    grandparents to come out and help, we'd be there just as quickly as possible.  California...she lives in Lompoc; her treatments are centered around Santa Barbara, and she has her husband's family relatively (double-meaning) close by.


Not much more in plans yet--we found a quilt expo in Georgia that can be made on our way.  We can leave no earlier than May 21, and have to be back home by June 15.  

 

 

 

CShaveRR (Carl, 4-5):

Ah, a little bit of details goes a long ways towards understanding a family situation!

Going on forty-five years you and Pat have been married!  Great!  Marriage is a key element holding civilization together and historically when that standard is cast aside a civilization seems to for some reason disappear.

About Linda, your daughter, her sad situation seems hopeful as it presently is stable.  Cancer is a mean scourge on humanity for sure.  My sister-in-law died from it just a few years ago, so while probably of a different variant (she was a chain smoker), I can relate you and your wife’s affliction.  I hope the best for her.

Anyway, when you do get on your travels, it is hoped everyone has a super good time in both riding and off the rails!

K.P.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Sunday, May 20, 2018 11:49 PM

Well, tomorrow's May 21...and we'll be on the road by mid-morning (I hope!).

The trip is pretty well organized by days now, with only two days requiring more than 300 miles' worth of travel.  This is to take it easy on us older folk, and to give us plenty of time to stop and smell the roses (or the cotton, or the diesel exhaust) as necessary.  I'll have my railroad atlases with me, and Pat will have her directory of quilt shops.

We've given ourselves five days in Louisiana (to explore plantations, chemical plants, and the like), and two days in the Houston area.  (Still interested in knowing which area of Houston would be the best to set up camp.)  We'll go down to Galveston on one of our days there.   If Houston Ed needs an encouraging word, we'd do our best.

We added the railfan park at Flatonia, Texas, on the strength of Trains Magazine's special Hot Spots edition.  Other than that, our itinerary is about the same as the revised edition posted earlier.  

So now I'll hit the hay, and tomorrow we'll be out of here.  Updates provided en route as necessary.  

Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Monday, May 21, 2018 2:50 AM

   A few quick last minute notes:

   I can't help much with RR information since I'm kind of isolated from any activity where I live, and I haven't been keeping up with what's happening.

   Johnny mentioned Nottoway Plantation, which I think is probably the most impressive one in the area.   Oak Alley is also quite impressive:

https://www.oakalleyplantation.com/

   Sometimes I feel like a misfit living here since I've never been one of those people who enjoys eating, but when in New Orleans I'd like to recommend a couple things to try.   First, charbroiled oysters at Drago's.   They have locations downtown and in suburban Metairie.

https://www.dragosrestaurant.com/

   Then there's a muffuletta (pronounced "muffulotta" for some reason) from the originator, Central Grocery in the French Quarter.   You can get them all over town, but they vary quite a bit, and a visit to Central Grocery is in itself an adventure in sight and smell.

http://centralgrocery.com/

   Sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I'm a master procrastinator.   I wish you kids the best of luck, and I hope you enjoy your trip.

_____________

   "A stranger is just a friend you ain't met yet."  ___ Dave Gardner

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, May 21, 2018 8:05 AM

Carl, I wish I had thought of this back when you first mentioned this trip; there is a museum in Houma that is connected with Southdown Plantation/Crescent Farms--the plantation where a new variety of sugarcane was introduced when a mosaic disease was ravishing the variety of cane that was then grown. The few canes of the new variety that were planted are the ancestors of the cane that all of the planters eventually were able to plant.

You can read about this in Francis Parkinson Keyes' The River Road, which tells of life on a sugar plantation. She transferred the saga of the mosaic disease from the actual plantation to a plantation south of Baton Rouge, but gives credit to the actual location, and names the three men who did the work (one of them was my great uncle). 

Johnny

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, May 21, 2018 4:07 PM

Paul of Covington
Then there's a muffuletta (pronounced "muffulotta" for some reason) from the originator, Central Grocery in the French Quarter.   You can get them all over town, but they vary quite a bit, and a visit to Central Grocery is in itself an adventure in sight and smell.

+1 on the muffuletta from Central Grocery.  It's large enough you'd be well off splitting one.  Sitting along the Mississippi eating a muffuletta is at treat.

(also beignets at Cafe Du Monde - but don't get them to eat in your car, unless you like powdered sugar everywhere!)

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, May 21, 2018 5:00 PM

Ah, yes; the beignets go very well with the coffee at the Cafe du Monde. As I recall, I did learn to drink the coffee without adding sugar.

I do not know if it is still there, but there was restaurant on Decatur Street which listed the main course for the day on the wall--and if you did not want the main course you went elsewhere.

Johnny

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Sunday, May 27, 2018 11:48 AM

   Has anyone been in touch with Carl and Pat lately?   Looking at their itinerary, I was wondering if they were on a collision course with Alberto.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 5:14 PM

We're alive and well, with little damage from the storm.  We're two days behind schedule, though--and that will have to be dealt with by tightening the schedule later on.

We got to Birmingham Saturday night, to dire updates about Alberto.  Our original itinerary had us going to Mobile and Pensacola on Sunday. That seemed, putting it mildly, to be imprudent.  So we decided to stay an extra day in Birmingham, during which we saw a few sights (and a few trains!) around town.  

The following day, we decided to sidestep the storm by heading southwest to Meridian, Mississippi, which proved to be another good spot to find interesting freight cars, including some woodchip hoppers now owned by the Meridian & Bigbee Railroad (one was an old ICG car; the other originated on the Apalachicola Northern).

Today, as we were leaving Meridian, we noted that the center of Alberto had given Montgomery a good soaking, and had Birmingham directly in its sights.  We, meanwhile, got to Mobile and Pensacola today in cloudy to partly cloudy weather, and totally dry roads.  We might get a little rain tonight, but we're under roof.  

Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

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Posted by sfdepot on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 9:02 PM
When you're in North Little Rock, go to the depot, drive around the depot to a parking lot west of the building. There you will see trains going to and from their yards and you can sit there as long as you like. That's what my grandson and I discovered during Christmas break last year.
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Posted by operator on Friday, June 01, 2018 1:04 PM

If you get into mid Alabama, there's a number of places to watch slow moving trains in the vicinity of Birmingham, AL.  There are a number of areas right in downtown, a number of bridges right over the tracks (and if you have any interest in heavy industry, the Sloss Furnaces https://www.slossfurnaces.com/ is a great place to visit just north of the tracks).  A little west of there the Bessemer Hall of History museum in the former Souther RR station is right beside the tracks and trains tend to move slowly past there ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bessemer_Hall_of_History ) and I've enjoyed visiting the museum as well.  A little east is Irondale and the large NS Yard there.  There are a number of places from which to see slow moving trains.  Some miles south of Birmingham is the Heart of Dixie RR museum ( https://www.hodrrm.org/ ) and just north of it two lines diamond and I've seen slow moving trains in that area and again the museum is a nice visit with a train ride.  I was last in this area about a decade ago installing a new computerized hump control system at CSX's Boyles Yard (now to my knowledge shuttered) but don't think much else has changed.  There was no good public access to Boyles anyway.

73, J. Chris Hausler

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Posted by CShaveRR on Friday, June 01, 2018 3:30 PM

Thanks, Op...we're already past Alabama, and we visited Railroad Park downtown and the Sloss Furnaces while we were there.  I felt successful.

Today, I was pleasantly surprised at the action around our current base of operations...Donaldsonville, Louisiana, midway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  This morning we saw three freight trains, one right after the other.  I susect that this ws the end of a CTC siding.  We went back there an hour or so ago, and it looked like the same spot might also be used for changing crews--another freight.  I'm doing pretty well on the exotic freight-car sightings.  Tomorrow I think we're braving the heat and going to New Orleans, but I hope we have time for another drive past Avondale Yard.

I'm hoping, whenever we get to New Orleans, to ride the streetcars, particularly the St. Charles line--it was a chance that was denied to me 55 years ago during our family trip.  Funny thing...streetcars or their descendants are more common nowadays than they were in 1962!


Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Friday, June 01, 2018 5:53 PM

   If you have the time, you might be interested in checking out NORTA's Carrollton Shop.   It's where the St. Charles streetcars are stored and serviced, and where all of the red streetcars were built.   It's been quite a few years since I've been there, but I found that someone was usually around to answer questions.   I don't think that there is any construction going on now, but I'm not sure.   It's one block up (NW *) from Carrollton Ave. between Willow and Jeanette Streets.

NW -- New Orleanians don't use N, S, E, W, but up, down, river and lake for directions.  (Up river, down river.)

_____________

   "A stranger is just a friend you ain't met yet."  ___ Dave Gardner

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