Saturday, July 26, 2003

Yesterday was great. We went to the Strasburg Railroad, in Lancaster County, PA, for a 40-minute ride on the steam-powered train. Since they run trains every half hour, that is the only place in the world where two steam-powered trains pass one another on a regular schedule. :o) We ate in the dining car on the train, and got to see the VERY picturesque farms surrounding the area. One of the farms is the home to the Amazing Maize Maze, which looked like a lot of fun.

We thought we'd hit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania first, then the Maize Maze. But there was SO much to see in the museum, we figured that it'd be better to leave the Maize Maze for another day. In particular, I enjoyed going INTO the several train cars and cabooses :o) that were open to the public. I finally found out what a caboose is for: it's the place where the engineer did his paperwork and could sleep. There was lots of paperwork because the engineer was responsible to keep track of which cars were picked up or dropped off. The cupola on top was where the train's flagmen could watch for problems with the train, be it mechanical issues or hobos trying to hitch a free ride. And, as a handwritten note posted in a yellow caboose said: "NO not all cabooses were red". LOL, I guess someone got tired of answering that question a zillion times a day. :o)

Anyway, trains are cool. Mark and I both have some interest in them: my great-grandfather worked for many years for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In fact, I still have his 25-year service pin. Mark's family also has railroad connections: his grandfather worked for the railroad and followed the job from Chester County to Willow Grove, PA, where Mark's family still lives today.

We wrapped it up with dinner at Miller's Smorgasbord, which was great. I've never met an Amish smorgasbord that I didn't love, lol. Speaking of which, if you ever have the opportunity to try dried sweet corn, DO IT. I absolutely love the stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day, and I think that Mark and Hat Trick did, too. ;o) I have a bunch of photos to upload, and I think it's time I invested in a second camera battery. For the first time since I got the camera, I actually exhausted the battery completely. Thank goodness this issue didn't crop up until LITERALLY the end of the day, when I was trying to get a shot of something interesting from the vantage point of the parking lot as we were leaving. I think it's the indoor flash pics that did it -- when I am at a hockey game, I don't use the flash and the battery lasts a lot longer. However, two camera batteries should be enough for even me. I hope. ;o)

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