Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The view from our Hotel in Quebec City

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This is where we are in Canada! This is the view from our Hotel in Quebec City.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Susie at JFK

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Today Susie and I met in JFK airport in New York. We flew together to Vermont where we are now. The bottle of water was accidentally brought into the airport in Susie's pack past security. We are going to Canada with friends in the morning.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Day At George Eastman House

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"Kodachrome, America's Story Teller"
The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY is a place I have wanted to go many years. On Saturday June 26, 2010 I went. George Eastman was the Founder of Eastman Kodak (aka Kodak) and was a Steve Jobs of his day (late 19th and early 20th Century). Eastman, and his company Kodak, invented modern photography. He lived in Rochester, NY; the city is still the home of Kodak. According to Wikipedia:

George Eastman (July 12, 1854 – March 14, 1932) founded the Eastman Kodak Company and invented roll film, helping to bring photography to the mainstream. Roll film was also the basis for the invention of motion picture film in 1888...

As much as I love trains, I love photography more.

Eastman is such an interesting guy. A contemporary of people like Thomas Edison and Teddy Roosevelt, Eastman never married, he had no kids. The central female figure in his life was his mother. Wikipedia goes on to say:

In his final two years, Eastman was in intense pain, caused by a degenerative disorder affecting his spine. He had trouble standing and his walking became a slow shuffle. Today it might be diagnosed as spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal caused by calcification in the vertebrae. Eastman grew depressed, as he had seen his mother spend the last two years of her life in a wheelchair from the same condition. On March 14, 1932, Eastman committed suicide with a single gunshot to the heart, leaving a note which read, "My work is done. Why wait?"

I took two tours of the place and had a nice long conversation with a senior security officer also named George. It was a great way to wrap up my visit to this area. Tomorrow I am off to meet Susie and we are going to Vermont together. More photos of George Eastman house are here.

Volume One of Photos is Complete

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I have finished volume one of my vacation photos and have uploaded them to Facebook. If you follow this link, you can view them even if you are NOT on Facebook.

Click here to view photos in volume one!

The volume one set is 200 photos from when I arrived through most of yesterday (June 25, 2010.) Volume one includes Niagara Falls, lots of trains and concludes with pictures from the Lake Ontario Shore of Upstate New York.

Of course I am starting volume two of my vacation photos and have uploaded them to Facebook. If you follow this link, you can view what is in volume two even if you are NOT on Facebook.

Click here to view photos in volume two!

I am now in Rochester and the train phase of my vacation is drawing to a close. Yes, I will still shoot some trains, but the focus is now on other things. This morning I am going to the George Eastman House, museum of photography, tomorrow I see Susie and we go on to Vermont!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alco heaven in pictures

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Today I was in Alco heaven Scranton, PA. What a day! I just happened to be here on a day they ran a heavy grain train to Pocono Summit, with five Alcos in charge and an ex-Southern Pacific RS32 on the point. I am too tired to write about. Please enjoy the photos.

Click here to see photos I have loaded to Facebook. This works even if you do not have Facebook.

Alco Daze

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Uglier than a CF7, a BL2

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A working RS32

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This locomotive used to belong to SP and I photographed it back when my dad was alive.

And more Alcos

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The story of my day in pictures

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Today I left Ontario Motel Hell and went to Sodus, NY to chase trains on the Ontario Midland. But, the train was not running today. Still I met a cool guy who seemed to run the mom and pop railroad and he showed me his engine and recommended the Finger Lakes Railway. He told me they were running lots of old GEs, which are kinda like Alcos. So I went and had a blast chasing them! Then I went wine tasting in the Finger Lakes and fell in love with the place. Finally went on a 200 mile road trip ending up in Scranton, PA. What a day!

Click here to see photos I have loaded to Facebook. This works even if you do not have Facebook.

Cheers from the Finger Lakes

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I had to do some wine tasting while I was in the Finger Lakes. This area is renowned for Alsatian wine varieties but I found some others I liked as well. But, they would not ship to California and I am not checking luggage.

GE - Das Boot

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Das Boot was a 1980's movie about German U-boats and U-boats were the nickname of GE's U-series of engines that started in the 1960's. They were followed up by the C and B series which were subsequently nicknamed C and B boats (their body style was similar.) The Finger Lakes Railway has at least one U-boat and a number of B-boats. They are one of the last operators of these beasts and I spent most of the day shooting them!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Again more photos loaded to Facebook

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Today I left Buffalo and went to Lockport to chase trains and saw the Erie Canal, lots of countryside and yes, more trains. Western New York is amazingly pretty.

Click here to see photos I have loaded to Facebook. This works even if you do not have Facebook.

Where I spent the longest day of the year

This railroad bridge has light on its North side only a week or two a
year. It's a stunning train shot.

Churchville, NY

Western NY is very pretty!

Five lock ladder on the Erie Canal

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This five lock ladder at Lockport NY was part of the original Erie Canal.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More photos loaded to Facebook

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Today I did some hard core train chasing. I had a nice bagel breakfast at a New York Bagel shop, then I went to work! If you click here you can see the set of photos on Facebook, even if you are not on Facebook. I am having a great trip.

DME meeting Amtrak at Depew NY

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It was sheer dumb luck catching these DME units today on an Ethanol train.

EMDs without turbos working hard

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These old normally aspirated EMDs spent a long time working in Buffalo on Sunday. They sounded great!

Tifft Avenue Bridge Buffalo

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From this one bridge you can watch NS, CSX and B&P. Thank you Rob!

New York Bagels in New York

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This morning I went to Bagel Jay's a 5-star rated New York Bagel place not too far from my motel. I had a yummy breakfast and enjoyed listening to the great New York accents.

Happy Father's Day

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Today is Father's Day and I am in Buffalo, New York chasing trains. Even though my dad died when I was 21; my father still is an important part of my life and the lives of my kids and their kids. My father was a railroad man. That's him in the cab of the locomotive pictured above. When I was small he seemed huge, like he was the locomotive.

I will be thinking of him today, of my sons who are now themselves great fathers, of my wife's sweet father Grit (who is now also gone), of my first wife's father Bill and step-father Dave, of my friends and other family members who are fathers and of friends who are married to fathers or, most especially, those whom have lost their fathers.

If you still have your father, you are lucky. For those who do not, God bless you and the good memories of your father that you have.

Love and Happy Fathers Day:


Photos from trip so far have been posted

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I have added a few of my photos from my trip so far on Facebook. If you click here you can see them, even if you are not on Facebook. I am having a great trip. It is overcast this morning and I am not rushing. Today I start focusing on trains.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Railfanning at Depew

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At Depew, NY I met a great group of local railfans. One fellow named Rob marked my map with lots of places to shoot around Buffalo and Rochester. I do not know much about the railroads around here and his help was greatly appreciated. I hope to return the favor some day.

The Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls was pretty impressive. I went into a "visitor's information center" on the New York side and found it was a shill to sell their particular bus tour. I asked for specific location information. "Don't you want to take our tour?," the lady asked. "No, I want to know where THAT is," and I pointed to a photo on the wall.

That's Table Rock, she said. She went on about why her tour was better. "Maybe Next Time."

Downtown Buffalo

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If you took Buffalo with all its Art Deco buildings and you made it as big as New York City you would have a place a lot like Gotham City of Batman fame. It's not like any place I have seen. Yes, I even saw Gargoyles.

Main and Tupper St

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There is a Tupper St in Buffalo. Tupper is our Calico cat's name. It is an usual name for a cat or a street.

My car and home in Buffalo, NY

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It is 9:15 in Buffalo and I am trying to wake up. This is the Chrysler Sebring they gave me as a rental car. It is a four door black sedan and it will be my rail fan vehicle. I am going to treat it nice, I am not one of those people who trashes rental cars. I believe that when you have someone else's property you take care of it.

I am at the Buffalo Amherst Motel Six and I will be here for three nights. Today is a rest and recovery day. So, after breakfast (a place I picked on Yelp.) I plan to go to Niagara Falls. Yes, I am going there by myself. I want to get a flavor of the country side. It feels much hotter than it is due to the humidity. I am not in California anymore!

Buffalo seems to be the home on Cheerios and Buffalo Wings. Most of the world's Cheerios are made here. This is the toasted oat capitol of the world :-). And, Buffalo may have invented Buffalo Wings, or so it appears. But, from what I hear, Hooter's perfected them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chasing trains in Westley

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Nice light for the backwards facing southbound movement to Volta through Patterson, a town we lived in for eight years. it has been a very long time since I have chased trains here. The wind on the Westside is wicked today!

[More photos are here]

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Indian restaurant near SJSU

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Just found out about this place near SJSU. I have not yet tried it, but hope to next week. It is at 322 E. Santa Clara St. (near 7th.).

Welcome to SJSU

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The high tech directory at the entrance to Clark Hall at SJSU is Fubar, again.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The story of my two front teeth

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This story begins in, or around, 1965
I was maybe ten, or maybe as young as eight, or maybe as old as twelve; I really do not remember exactly how old I was. My parents had gotten me a new ten speed bicycle. The bike was likely a Sears or a Montgomery Ward's. (Most everything like that my parents bought came from either Sears or Wards.) I was fascinated by how when I shifted the gears on my new bike the chain moved between the front chain rings (of course then I did not know they were called chain rings.) I was so enamored with watching the chain move, I would pedal down the road while shifting up and down and I ran into the back of a parked car. It was there on the trunk of a car I left most of my two front teeth.

My family has a weird sense of humor
The car belonged to my sister Carol's friend, Herbie's parents. Carol wondered aloud what Herbie's parents thought when they went to their car and found two human teeth on their trunk. My dad sang, "all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." The next day or so a dentist put two 1965 technology crowns on my teeth and told me they would last about ten or twelve years. (At least the crowns did not come from Sears or Wards.) My parents got their money's worth. The crowns lasted about 44 years, give or take a few.

Don't you think you should replace these?
My dentist commented on my crowns a few times. Well, they were not really matching my mouth any more. Finally, I decided to take the dental plunge. I did not know it would be from the high dive. I figured he'd just pop off the old crowns, make some measurements, put on replacements. I thought the process would be like replacing old tires; not! Taking off the old crowns was more like demolishing an old kitchen before a major remodel. In other words, O-M-G!

Then, after what seemed like a few hours of interrogation at Gitmo
I was fitted with a plastic temporary bridge and sent home. The new teeth felt weird so I went back and was subjected to more Gitmo interrogation techniques, I mean teeth filing and grinding. Then, a couple weeks later, I was informed my new crowns had come in!

The new crowns looked perfect to me.
Okay, I suggested, glue them up, pop them in and I am out of here. Don't I wish. I guess my interrogation was not quite over! The dentist fussed over the shape and the color. (My dentist is more fussy about teeth color than my wife is about picking carpet.) This led to two more trips to the dentist, more filing, more teeth grinding and a car trip to the guy who colors fake teeth. (This is a process that involves heating them up to about the temperature of the sun and hopefully cooling them down before putting them in my mouth.) This heating and cooling process took time and happened twice.

I hoped I would never have to actually see my old stubs
I imagined my stubs looking like the mummified remains of King Tut. When I was finally forced to look at the stubs in the coloration process, I found that was actually a good guess. It was during the second of the coloration processes that the guy who colors fake teeth said, "the color of the crown was being influenced by the color of the stubs." Besides telling me this he required me to inspect my stubs with a mirror to see for myself. I did this even though I would have been happy to have taken his word for it. I guess he wanted me to be able to testify this fact to my dentist.

Almost done, I thought
I was given my newly recolored crowns and sent back to my dentist. (This was yesterday, after a whole afternoon of dental fun.) Okay, I happily suggested again to my dentist, glue them up, pop them in and I am out of here. Don't I wish. I guess my interrogation was still not quite over! Perfect, more interrogation. More teeth grinding, more teeth filing; then, I was informed, one of the crowns had cracked, "we will have to start again!"

It's like a sequel to the Rocky Horror Picture Show
I wonder if my dentist's mother had suggested this line of work to him...