Happy November everyone. As I start to write this entry, Unites States of America is suppose to be celebrating it’s Veteran’s Day. Growing up in a very nice pocket community of Saint Louis, Missouri, I was brought up to always honor those that served both living and dead. I stand beside that theme today and give everyone that has served and currently is serving a great big THANKS!!. I also pause also to give wonder about these United States of America during these interesting times. Companies, schools and other organizations seem to not understand want giving employees time to reflect on special holidays such as Veteran’s Day or Thanksgiving. More and more companies are requiring employees to work on the long established holidays both federal and so-called family holidays. Businesses try to pass off the reason for opening as that’s what the public wants. While that may be true since, the word family is hard to find nowadays.
Ok, I will move off my high-horse for now and on into our recent wanderings.
This year’s On The Road trips has come to an end. This year’s trips were some of the most entertaining and educational trips I have ever taken. Since our mid-August trip to the Kansas City Northern Railway in the northern part of Kansas City was a pleasant surprise. The volunteers do an amazing job of taking care of three park trains, and a wonderful tunnel, a very nice bridge. During our visit, we had plenty of conversations with visitors. The trip over to KC included a rainy, interstate drive. But the day was not all lost, the sun did come out and made for a great visit, but, alas, the rain returned as we headed back east.
The next weekend our Wanderings allowed us to take some of our friends with us. We were headed to Valparaiso, Indiana. but before arriving I thought that we should stop by and check-in on the Park Forest RailPark and Flossmoor Brewery. I will say that both are in great shape. We got to use our Illinois I-pass again on the toll roads. Still think, we one of few people in Missouri that has a Illinois Toll Pass. Valparaiso is university town. It is also the home of Taltree Arboretum, which a great place. The arboretum uses as their welcome center a freshly built depot which also serves as the entrance to the one of the largest public railroad gardens in the midwest. We were given a quick tour of the arboretum , then brought back to the railroad garden for the Let’s Talk Trains program. I started setting up the broadcast equipment and got a broadband signal then tried log into the show’s switchboard, but, could not get through. not sure why, but the had another host run the board from his house. It was a very interesting show as most of them are. I don’t like to pat myself on the back, but, I plan on them being interesting.
September was a quiet travel month for Mrs. Shuttletrain and I. The only trip was 50 miles in-town to the Museum of Transportation for it’s Go By Train event. We did our broadcast from the back deck of the Barrett Depot. We interviewed MOT staff and the new NRHS President that is a volunteer at the museum and turns out a longtime friend. Just wish I would have known that he was just elected NRHS President. But I am glad the interview was just focused on MOT. I am still amazed at the MOT and it’s collection. I am glad that it belongs to St. Louis County as one of their parks.
The first weekend in October, we went to Corinth, Mississippi to visit the the Anniversary of the Battle of Corinth. The Battle was fought over the importance of the railroad in Corinth and it’s Crossroads. The town was also having a BBQ contest. Great Food. The Museum at the Depot is more of a community history than a railroad history museum. I was a little surprised by that, but of course, a little biased. The National Park Service Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, is a great place to visit. It does mention the role of the railroad in several of it’s displays.
On the way back north, we stopped off at Memphis for the 100th Anniversary of Memphis Central Station. While the biggest Celebration was the day before. We still got to see the Amtrak Exhibit Train for the Seventh time. I am always grateful to see Amtrak salute those that have worked and continue to help America’s Railroad. We got home like we normally do on a Sunday night, but, for some reason it just felt a little different. I still don’t know why I got that special feeling and may never know.
The last Wandering of October, started a little earlier that normal. Because we were going to meet half of the Pacific Northwest host of LTT, at the airport in Kansas City. We drove to Kansas City on Thursday morning arriving about 230 just in time to check into hotel and then go to KCI to meet Bob Alkire, the Lynnwood, Washington host. We brought him back to the hotel, checked him in, then let him clean up up before dinner at the Power and Light District, which the night before had thousands of screaming KC Royals fans. We ate dinner at the Gordon Biersch brewery, which Mrs. Shuttletrain and I have been to before, but, to our amazement is a national chain. The food was great as usual, but the extra company was a great boost. Thanks Bob. Afterwards, we walked around a little, taking pictures of the District and the Kauffman Center at night. We finally got or other host KC Nathan off work, and he agreed to show us a KC railfan spot. We drove to the KC Bottoms and watched over ten trains go by in about ninety minutes. We then turned our attention to Kansas City Union Station where the Southwest Chief was bringing in the Amtrak Exhibit Train and the Norfolk Southern Exhibit Car for the Big Centennial Celebration of Union Station. The next morning headed over to Union Station to set up for the New Expanded Union Station History exhibit dedication ceremony. I had started sending emails to the staff at USKC over a year before that weekend, as I wanted the LTT show to featured media partner. It took over 30 emails of back and forth. They had just signed a new contract with local Time Warner Cable system for their internet, wifi. We I tried it for the show. It was a strong signal, BUT, the system could not handle the bandwidth that we needed. So halfway though the ceremony I got our contact at Verizon Wireless to turn on the extra switch that I had them install for Saturday’s events a day early. Thanks Verizon.
After the ceremony, we took a tour of the new exhibit and it’s APP. Then headed over to the Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant in Crown Center for lunch. After lunch, three of us walked over to the offices of KC Streetcar for a very special tour of the line as it is being built by the Project Manager. Andy was very detailed in his descriptions of what was happening along the line. We even got to get out in several places and see up close what was happening. Thanks Andy,
Next, it was up the hill to the National WWI Memorial and a another quick walk through. since we have been there about 60 times with friends we led on their first train trip to KC. This time we just looked for railroad related items or displays. We found a few. Our visit challenged the archivist , to think about WWI and Railroads. During our visit, we tapped a interview with the archivist. We learned a whole bunch of new knowledge there. We headed back to the hotel for a break and to wait for KC Nathan to get off work again. Dinner this night was in the FreightHouse District across from Union Station at Jack Stack’s Restaurant. We left about 1030 after being filled to the brim.
Saturday came early, the day that I had been planning for for a year. We arrived at 830 in the morning, to set up for the Re-Dedication Ceremony. When we arrived, the stage had been moved inside since the weather was supposed to be cold and windy. The A/V staff looked like they were running behind, but since our show was going to go on with or without us ready, I hurried to get set up and get a signal from their audio board. the Union Station Special Events Director was barking orders to the A/V, adding videos to their presentation. So lots of things were in disarray. The Ceremony started and went off with a hitch. The KC Mayor was there, as was, the Jackson County Chief Executive. I was supposed to interview them on the LIVE show after the ceremony but, the PR people forgot to reach out to them like they were suppose to way back when I first reached out to them. So I just took the mayor’s speech and ran it during the regular LIVE show. The regular LiVE show featured four of the sixth hosts. Mrs. Shuttletrain, Bob, KC Nathan and me. We each took turns interviewing guests and I think it worked out ok, I do wish that we would have a PR person nearby that would have made sure or guests were nearby when it was time for their interviews, instead I spent a lot of time fetching them. But again it worked out. After packing up, we wandered through the special exhibits and train displays. Then it was dinnertime, at Pierponts, the Old Lobster Pot Restaurant. It is one of fanciest restaurants in KC. Dinner lasted two hours again. Mrs Shuttletrain and I headed back to the hotel, while Bob and KC headed out to railfan again. We used the time by ourselves to unwind and enjoy nightlife that is the KC Skyline.
Sunday morning, Mrs. Shuttletrain and I headed over to Crown Center to the Hallmark Gold Crown Headquarters store to get our 2014 Christmas ornament and Christmas Cards. Then met up with Bob, and drove him back to KCI, and headed back east towards WashMo. It was a fun trip and I enjoyed meeting Bob for the first time, although I wish that his wife could have come too, but, she headed to Canada for a Skating Weekend. Maybe next time.
The next time we wander with you, it should be from our new 2015 GMC Canyon. They are building it the week of 17th November. So we will visit soon.