Sunday, January 14, 2007

Chug-a Chug-a Chew Chew!

Today was a good day. It was cold-ish (not cold for January, but not warm either) and grey and rainy and foggy. The weather may not have been fun, but the day was a good one none the less.

Today Gak and I went up to Steamtown in Scranton with our friends Kat and Scott. It was cool to do a road trip like that without the rest of the family and everything. Don't get me wrong, I love my niece very much, but it was cool to have an 'adult' outing.

Steamtown is a National Historical Park/Monument in Scranton that is where a lot of steam trains are being kept and restored. It is the starting place of one of PA's largest railroads at one time, not to mention in the middle of coal country.

We went on a machine shop tour and our guide was great. He was very knowledgeable, had a lot of stores and was quite fun. It was fun watching Scott's jaw drop when he comprehended the size of some of these engines and looked at some of the machines used in the machine shop. It almost felt like you were a three-year-old next to 'normal' sized equipment.

I took several good pictures using Gak's old digital. I still haven't replaced my camera yet, but I will soon. Gak's camera is OK, but it is definitely old and I have never gotten along very well with it.

We were told there are three parts on a steam engine: those that wear out quickly, those that wear out slowly and those that don't wear out, just break. These are some worn out boiler plates, rusting away in the yard.

Here is one of the silos that are on site. I believe this one was used for holding sand. The rail cars just behind it should give you some idea of scale.
The museum, including the machine shop, is in what used to be the roundhouse of the yard. It is still used as a roundhouse at times. The site has three steam engines that are operational. Well, they try and have all three running. Right now, one is in lots of pieces because of an overhaul, one is down for 'minor maintenance' and the third was used as recently as yesterday. They do train rides during the spring and summer months. We'll have to go back at some point for that.

We took a bit of a detour on the way home. We swung over to Knobles to drive through and check out the various camp sites Kat has reserved for various times in the summer. We also drove through Centralia. This is where the entire town is being demolished because there is an underground coal fire that is going to burn for about another hundred years or so. I don't remember when it started, but it was many, many years ago. On clear days you can see the smoke and steam rising from the ground. I don't have any pictures as it was getting on in the afternoon and you couldn't tell smoke from fog today. Again, something we'll have to go check out again some time.

So, yes, today was a good day. Tomorrow I have off, which will be nice. I should be able to get a lot of things done around the house, which needs to get done. I'm tired so I think I'll leave you here. Peace to all and may you find something really cool to go see and some history to experience.

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