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.