Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Family and Fostoria

Friday, June 12... M and I would be starting back toward Chicago, but first the B-family would be hosting a brunch in our honor in Massillon.

Me with my four cousins

The next generation. M (second from left) with 10 of my aunt & uncle's 11 grandkids. (K, who had joined us for the Indians game, was at day camp and was absent for this photo).

We had a great time visiting with my dad's sister and her family... we were long overdue for a visit and we'll try not to take so long before returning for our next one. Thanks, y'all!

The sun came out as we drove west along CSX's former Baltimore & Ohio main line that afternoon, and we made several stops for photos of trains in nice light. The most interesting spot was the town of Fostoria, which features the junctions of three busy rail lines. By some counts, over 150 trains a day pass through the town. Trains rolled through one after another while we were there.

A CSX switch job works on the former B&O line at Fostoria.

Plenty of company: at least a dozen other fans were on hand for Friday night at Fostoria.

Along the NS former Nickel Plate line in Fostoria.

NS westbound Roadrailers on the NKP.

Fostoria station sign and CSX stacks.

NKP lettering on railway overpass.

The other side of the bridge - B&O logo.

We spent the night in Kendallville, Indiana, and would continue toward Chicago on Saturday.

Stay tuned for the next report...


np: M watching Simpsons dvd's - Season 11

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday night with the Tribe

Tim had gotten us tickets to the Cleveland Indians game on the evening of June 11. I had only been to Jacobs Field once before -- in 1994. I guess it's called "Progressive Field" now. Whatever. We drove through some rain on our way to Cleveland, but it stopped by the time we got there.

Walking to the game.

M poses in front of the Bob Feller statue. M's Granddad went to many Indians games as a boy and was a big fan of Bob Feller... had even met him and had a book and a baseball with Feller's autograph.

Bob Feller memorial - they don't make 'em like that anymore.

The Indians aren't having much of a season this year. They've made the playoffs several times in recent years -- and even played in the World Series in 1995 and 1997 -- but this year's team is more along the lines of the Indians from "Major League." They have the American League's worst record, and in all of baseball, only the Nationals are worse.

On the plus side, Tim had scored the best seats I've ever had at ANY major league game... for around 35 bucks apiece. These would be $200 seats at a Rangers game. I guess a battle for last place (vs. the Royals) isn't much of a draw on a week night. Oh well, even with temps in the 50s and occasional drizzle, it was just nice to be at a game in some great seats.

Check out the view from our seats!

Tim, K, and M. Good times!

It wasn't Bob Feller, but we did get to see a great pitching performance from Kerry Wood, who pitched a perfect 9th -- including two strikeouts.

Kerry Wood throws some heat in the 9th inning.

Four dudes at the game.

The game went to extra innings (tied 3-3 after the 9th), and we stuck around to see the Indians pull off a win in the 10th -- in unlikely fashion. With two runners on base, Shin-Soo Choo singled up the middle. The ball impacted a bird, which altered its trajectory and allowed Mark DeRosa to score from 2nd.

Check out the links below for a video of the game's end (1:11) and a Sports Illustrated recap.



The end result was one of the more unusual finishes I've seen at a game. As Kansas City center fielder Coco Crisp said, "You never know what the heck is going to happen." Indeed. Glad we were there!

Coming next: we enjoy a family brunch, and then follow CSX's former B&O line west toward Chicago.


np: Jesus & Mary Chain - "Kill Surf City"

Labels: ,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rainy day at Atwood Lake

Thursday, June 11: We'd be spending the day with my cousin Tim B. and his family at Atwood Lake, southeast of Canton, OH. M had been to the lake during a visit to Ohio a few years ago, but I had never been. After a restful night in the B-family camper, we awoke to heavy clouds and scattered showers. Ahhh, Ohio.

M explores the lake shore...

Our hosts for our day at the lake.

As soon as the rain let up (or so we thought), we headed out on the water in the B-family pontoon boat.

We were joined by my cousin's kids and some friends of his family. What were the boys looking for?

Enjoying the ride with Dad.

We had Boaters' Beach to ourselves. Contrast with this view of Tim's kids on July 4 at the same location. I'm glad we went when we did!

M enjoys a moment of solitude.

M at the helm.

B didn't let the rain dampen her spirits.

Despite the inclement weather, we still had an enjoyable time. As I said to Tim, "hey, I'm still on vacation..." But would the rain clear up in time for the Cleveland Indians game on Thursday evening? Stay tuned to find out...


np: The Fray - "How to save a life"

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A day to drive

Wednesday, June 10: Our first stop was the power plant and Alcoa complex near Yankeetown. We had hoped to find some of the Respondek locomotives recently reported to be on hand there. We didn't have any luck with those, but we did find a high-hood Norfolk Southern geep making a few switch moves, and also some Indiana Southern geeps tied down.

NS 5155 works near the power plant at Yankeetown, IN

This would be our longest day of driving on the trip: from Evansville, IN to Atwood Lake in northeastern Ohio (near Canton), a total of close to 500 miles. My cousin and his family would be waiting for us at Atwood Lake. Our route would take us through Louisville, Cincinnati, and Columbus. It was a nice day for driving; we only ran into a little rain around Louisville. We successfully avoided the rush hours in the cities; and we enjoyed lots of nice scenery, especially along the Ohio River in southern Indiana. And we even arrived at the lake within an hour or so of the time I had predicted the night before.

We didn't have much time to check out roadside attractions, but I made an exception for this caboose -- part of Los Panchos Mexican Restaurant in Rockport, Indiana. Hmmm, Mexican food in Indiana... even if they HAD been open, I don't think we would have stopped...

power plant along the Ohio River near Rockport, IN

Barn near Tell City, IN

Driving Interstate 64 toward Louisville

Crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky

rain in Louisville

Our "Best Ambience at an Ohio Subway" award goes to this restaurant located on the ground floor of a 3-story brick house in Zanesville.

We made it... sunset at Atwood Lake. Unfortunately, this would be the last time we'd see the sun for about two days.

Check back in a couple days, and I'll show you how much fun we had on a rainy day at the lake.


np: For Squirrels - "Under Smithville"

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hoosiers for a day

Tuesday, June 9: After spending the night in Danville, IL, we crossed into Indiana and headed south toward Terre Haute and Sullivan. The western part of Indiana has a large number of covered bridges, and we began our day with photos of the Newport Covered Bridge southeast of Danville.

My first photo ever in the Hoosier state: Newport Covered Bridge

"action shot" - Newport Covered Bridge

We had our sights set on the Indiana Rail Road near Sullivan, hoping to catch some of the railroad's new SD9043MACs in coal train service. We were partially successful; we caught some INRD trains, but the only coal train we saw had UP power... and the only SD9043MAC we saw was dead at the Hiawatha shops in Jasonville. But it's always interesting to explore a new area, and we had no shortage of trains... we found CSX's former C&EI line (sold to the L&N in 1969) south of Terre Haute to be extremely busy.

One of many: this southbound CSX grain shuttle rolling through Sullivan, Indiana was one of a couple dozen CSX trains we saw or heard of on Tuesday. This was the only SD50 we caught in the lead, though...

Not long after the CSX grain shuttle passed, INRD 42 led an eastbound freight through Sullivan...

We had lunch in Terre Haute at a newly opened White Castle (man, is THAT place over-rated), caught several CSX trains, and checked out Haley Tower (on the property of the local railroad museum) before heading back south.

Haley Tower - old railroad interlocking tower in Terre Haute.

Later, we caught this INRD northbound heading up the Hiawatha line (former MILW line sold to INRD by the CP a couple years ago) at Lewis.

Pay dirt, sort of... INRD 9008 at the Hiawatha shops in Jasonville. This would be the only SD9043MAC we'd see during our trip.

We'd be heading to Evansville to tie up for the night. But first, we took time to poke around Jasonville a little more...

M took aim at our rental car on this World War II anti-aircraft gun display in Jasonville.

INRD caboose display - Jasonville, IN.

Coming next: a long drive from southern Indiana to northeastern Ohio.


np: Asylum Street Spankers - "If I had possession over judgment day"

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 09, 2009

East End Afternoon

We spent Monday afternoon (June 8) on the BNSF "Race Track" (the former BN line from Chicago through the western suburbs to Aurora.) We boarded an eastbound Metra train at the Route 59 station, rode to Hinsdale, and walked a half mile east to Highlands to watch the afternoon commuter rush hour get started.

Westbound Z train blasts through the Route 59 Station near Aurora.

"Bike to Metra" poster at the Route 59 station.

My last visit to Highlands had been in 1991 when the E9s were still in service. With a kid in tow, and Metra F40PHM-2s replacing the E-units, the experience would be a little different this time.

Ready to see some TRAINS!

Eastbound coal loads meet a westbound Metra between Highlands and Hinsdale.

Rush hour starts now: a last freight rolls through Highlands before the parade starts. With Metra trains scheduled out of Chicago every FOUR MINUTES during the busiest part of the rush, freight traffic on the East End is more or less suspended during the late afternoon and early evening.

Running "express" on Main 2, Metra 214 sails past Highlands

Cottage-style depot at Highlands, IL. Highlands is just a minor stop and many of the Metra trains don't stop there.

Thumbs-up to a successful day. Hopefully it won't be another 18 years before I return...

We caught a westbound Metra out of Highlands and rode back to the Route 59 station. We still had some miles to cover... we had motel reservations in Danville, and plans to shoot the Indiana Rail Road on Tuesday.

Crossing the Des Plaines River on I-55.

Coming next: a day on the INRD and C&EI.


np: Hank Williams - "I'd still want you"

Labels: , , , , ,