Tag Archives: Depot_Inn

The Summer Tourist season is now over.

August has found it’s way to Washington, Missouri. The town’s Town and Country Fair has come and gone. So let me catch you all up on Mrs. Shuttletrain’s and wanderings over the three months. Over the Memorial Day Weekend, we set off to Northwestern Tennessee, to visit the South Fulton, TN Railroad Museum. The Museum is in the back of the town’s city hall. The Museum is staffed by real-life railroaders. We enjoyed seeing their collection, and taking with three staff members about their memories. Next, we headed to the town of Union City, Tennessee. We visited with the mayor of Union City at his television station. Not sure that a television station should be a mayor though to remain objective. Afterwards, stopped off at the town’s railroad station which houses the County Chamber and Economic Development office. Spoke to the ECO Director about railroads and railfanning in the town. Checked into the Hampton Inn. This Hampton must be a re-brand because it had all outside room doors and a very small breakfast area. I would hope that the owners would close down and move to a new building near the Discovery Park of America. That was real destination of  our wandering that weekend.

The Discovery Park of America, is true wonder. Built in the northwest part of Tennessee near it’s border with Kentucky. It seems to be in the middle of nowhere. The park is way larger than it appears from the roadway due to berms hiding the place from the main roadway. The location sits next to a future Interstate.The science center, living history, gardens facility is just so wonderful.The exhibits inside Discovery Center range from dinosaurs to space exploration. The tower rises about the building allowing visitors a great view of the place and it’s surroundings.

The Pioneer village shows the careful planning that went into the thought process. The Railroad Depot Area has a steam engine, three passenger cars a caboose on loan from the city. The depot itself is a replica of a nearby station from the past. It has lots memories inside. Very nice detailing. Did I mention it also has a G Scale train running around it inside?

We left DPA and headed back towards home, but ended up in Cape Girardeau, Mo  for the evening. The next morning we traveled to Bollinger Mill MO State Historical Site. We walked the mill and over the covered bridge. It was a very neat place. MO State Parks takes very good care of the place. Mrs. Shuttletrain suggested that we visit Elephant Rocks State Park. We tried too at least. The place was packed, No parking anywhere. So we headed to Arcadia, to visit the soon to be Amtrak station. e found out that nothing has been started, no platform or loading area or even a waiting room. And if you ask the Historical Society volunteer inside, they don’t want the waiting room at all. Just wonder how many people will use the new station considering the train will stop there in the middle of the night. No big cities in the vicinity. We left after walking through the museum and headed back to WashMO.

The next weekend, for the Let’s Talk Trains program I aired the interviews that I had recorded in Union City. Then went outside and tried to clean our roof gutters. Mrs. Shuttletrain had a wildlife pet control company over while I was hosting the Let’s Talk Trains show, for a squirrel problem. Why do I mention that? Well, as I was cleaning the gutters I needed a screwdriver, which I had Mrs. Shuttletrain retrieve from the garage. As she was entering the garage, she saw a squirrel and screamed for me to come get rid of the squirrel, forgetting that I was still up six feet on a ladder. She screamed again in panic, so I started to climb down off the ladder, the center of gravity changed and the ladder and I went sideways. I fell between our two cars. and cracked three lower vertebra. I checked myself over found no bones sticking out and found my way to the bedroom. Took some pain pills and then fell asleep. Two days later after the swelling went down called the doctor and he sent me to get x-ray. In the meantime, Mrs. Shuttletrain’s Aunt had died in northwest Illinois. So we traveled there on a Wednesday night, then went to the funeral on Thursday and came back home on Thursday night. The next morning, Friday we then traveled the other way to Springdale, AR for the NRHS National Convention Banquet, since LTT was a sponsor of the convention. The 5 hour drive down was tough. As soon as we arrived in the hotel room, found the bathtub and proceeded to soak in hot water Then went to the banquet, and had a great meal and listened to the CEO of the Arkansas Missouri Railroad. Great speaker and even better railroader.

The next day, did the LTT show from the Springdale train station with one of the show’s special guest host, Skip Waters. Skip is a board member of the NRHS. It was a delight to finally meet him. That night went to one of the seminars about Arkansas Railroading through the eyes/camera of John Barriger. On Sunday, left and headed back home to Washington.

Got home and went to a spine doctor, who confirmed that I had three cracked vertebra. He told me to wear a ortho back brace for the next three-four months. So that is what I am doing. I does make it feel better. Our next wandering brought us to Bowling Green, KY. The Historic RailPark and Museum is our host this time. I was amazed at how beautiful the building has been restored. The station has a museum is the bottom third of the station and part of the top floor as well. They have a double decker model railroad layout on the ground floor. Very cool. We set up from the LTT show, under the old passenger platform, and under cloudy skies. As the show progressed, the sun came through and warmed thinks including my neck up very well. After the show we walked through the rolling stock, packed up and headed back to the hotel.

The next day, we visited Mammoth Cave National Park, and viewed the steam engine and combine car that was used to bring visitors and supplies to the area in the golden years of railroading. After seeing the visitors center, (because of my back could not go down under), we headed to IN, to see the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home National Historical Site, taken over from the State of Indiana, construction looked just like the George Clark NHS, also a former State of Indiana park.

We stopped off in Illinois to visit a friend from the garden railway club, then headed home.

I decided to stay home and rest my back for a couple of weeks, except, for my annual visit to the APRHF Silver Rails Country Lookout Point. I am always amazed at how many trains go by that place and how fast they go. After co-host the LTT show, we headed over to the Depot Inn and met up with APRHF board member Tom Anderson, to discuss so show stuff and APRHF stuff, along with the new Silver Rails Wine Trail. It is going to be really fun. Can’t wait.

We leave La Plata, and back south towards Columbia, and meet up with our best friends, who live south of Columbia for dinner and ice cream. I is always a great time when we get to hang with them. After visiting with them for over an hour, we make our way back to Washington. Traindog Ajax got to come along and eat some pizza and enjoy lots of trains too.

The next week, was my birthday week and as usual, I had a couple of invites for dinner, which Mrs. Shuttletrain & I gladly enjoyed. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends in person and on Facebook and Twitter. I had over 900 well wishes. Glad the came via electronic way, or my mail person would need shoulder surgery.

The first Saturday, I went to the Central Missouri Railroad Assn. Train Show and Swap Meet. I hosted the LTT show from there. I got to speak to people from the club also spoke to a member of the Wabash Railroad Historical Society.  Very interesting day without having to travel too far. The next wandering back to my second home of Kansas City and the Kansas City Northern Railroad, for a LIVE broadcast, then the weekend of the 23rd, head to Taltree Arboretum in Valparaiso, IN and their Railroad Garden Can’t wait.


We that’s it for this time. See ya soon.

Spring has sprung!! Finally….Wanderings start becoming more often….

When I last left all of you, it was February, very abnormal one at that. I had two Let’s Talk Train shows  under my belt. The first was from the National Transportation Museum in St. Louis County, Missouri. and then month later I moved east on the Union Pacific Jefferson City subdivision to the Kirkwood Missouri train station and interviewed two old friends. The mayor of Kirkwood, MO, Art. McDonnell and the StationMaster Bill Birkhalter. Both very interesting. men. At the time I did not know that the mayor was up for re-election two months later. Don’t know that at the time. But good thing for the city was that he was re-elected. Art ran the community grocery store before retiring last year. He and I got a chance to catch up about old times before the show. It was fun.

St. Patrick’s Day marked the third monthly podcast that i was the host. This was the one that I really started to be nervous about back in December. I was asking State of Illinois officials to come on to my show. I was glad that they agreed to. I even got the Midwest High Speed Rail Association Director to come on and give an update. I filled out the show with the first model railroad club of the month, my old Big Bend Railroad Club based in Webster Groves. MO. Great group of folks. Have made it back to the layout twice now. Living out the childhood all over again.

The end of March, brought the UP 844 back through Washington, MO for the Shiloh Limited. Since I visited Shiloh with my Boy Scout troop 301 when I was kid and more recently as adult. My wife, Pam and I went there on one of our first trips as a married couple way back in 2007. I was really good to see the local newspaper, a republican thinking paper, the Missourian, come out and offer some much support for the stopping and servicing the train in Washington. Even the Downtown Washington INC. group was really interested in generating support for people to come and watch a living legend.

The last Saturday, I got to start off my 50th birthday celebration, four months early. I got to join the main Let’s Talk Trains host, Chris Guenzler , two of his railfan friends,  Winston and Christy Walker, my best man, Mike Strong and my great wife Pamela; on the Columbia Star dinner train. The Columbia Star runs from just north of Columbia, Missouri to just south of Centralia. Missouri. The rain boards at 6:30 pm on Friday and Saturday and 11:00 am on Sunday for brunch. The leaves the trans-load area promptly at 7:00 pm and 11:30 am respectfully. The food is great. A five course meal is served, with drinks extra. The train has floodlights, so you can see the countryside as you travel back and forth. The train consists of two F-7’s, one on each end. (the train does not have anywhere to turn around.) then two dining cars, followed by the kitchen, (an old baggage car), then two more dining cars. I got to find how much Chris really knows about trains in America. He has ridden over million miles on the rails. My friend, Mike was amazed that a person could ride that many miles on a train. I just may make a true railfan out of him yet.

I had to work at Enterprise that week, since I had just gotten new position as an Information Management/Global Distribution Systems agent. Pam and I left everyone and head back to Washington, Mo…getting home at 11:30pm. It was hard going back to work knowing that Chris was hosting a Railfan Picture Event in La Plata, Missouri that week. But it gave me a good feeling knowing that on Friday night, I was meeting Pam and AJAX, our dog, and heading up to La Plata to stay at the Depot Inn and Suites to be with Chris and another show host from Kansas City, Nathan. We would all go train spotting on that Saturday morning before doing the Let’s Talk Trains show from the La Plata train lookout point. I was glad AJAX, made friends with Nathan and Chris quickly. Why AJAX even laid down at Chris’ feet during the show. We had dinner again with Chris that night at the Red Rooster in La Plata. Which has some OK food. Chris, Pam and I headed back to the  LaPlata Amtrak station to let Chris board the Southwest Chief back to California so that he could go back to work as a substitute teacher in Santa Ana area. We stayed over night again, and then early in the morning when back out to the lookout point to watch trains again. All toll during the weekend, we saw over 250 trains either in person, thru the webcam in the rooms or just hearing them travel through the town.

Since it was Easter Sunday, headed to church,  then back to Wright City, Missouri to Pam’s sister’s for Easter brunch…followed by Easter dinner at my aunts and uncles in north Saint Charles, Missouri, then back to the good olde homestead in Washington, Missouri. The weekend was very relaxing, almost felt like week were gone for a week.

The next couple of months are going to be very busy. I am hosting the April 21st from the Washington, Missouri station with guests from Oklahoma Department of Transportation, The Midwest Model Railroad Association convention folks and the Boeing Employee Model Railroad Club and a corporate PR guy from Boeing listening in to make sure the guests don’t give out any trade secrets. May, finds us at the Route 66 railfan center in Pacific, Missouri. June, we’re at St. Louis & Iron Mountain railway in Jackson, Missouri. Rochelle, Illinois is our host city for my July birthday show.  La Plata, Missouri is the host city for the August show., September has me doing two shows. My regular third Saturday, from my home city of Washington,. then a week later from the National Historical Site Steamtown USA, in Scranton, PA. October is Live Steam month, with both the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific and the St. Louis Live Steamers. November is from Kansas City. 2012 ends with a show at the Missouri Botanical Garden Express. Sound good huh?

Stay tuned…More soon.