November 27, 2015

Black Friday Getaway

For the non-American readers of this blog, the day after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday"  in the United States. On this day, most Americans suffer from tryptophan stupor induced by over consumption of turkey. So they go crazy buying holiday gifts at major shopping centers. The frenzied crowds and traffic near shopping centers can be incredible. It's as close to experiencing  a zombie apocalypse as we reversibly come.

View of the Rukert Terminal bucket crane unloading bulk carrier
 AP Sveti Vlaho. The ship was carrying slag. Imagine the string
 of trucks as trains instead.
To avoid the insanity, John Drye, Kent Smiley, and I went to on a road trip to do some rail fanning and to stop at our favorite hobby shop, Mainline Hobbies in Blue Ridge Summit, PA.

The day started with a visit to Baltimore Harbor. The haze was still present along the water on an otherwise gorgeous day when we arrived at Locust Point. We checked out the Dominos Sugar factory, the TRANSFLO Bulk Distribution Center in Locust Point, and Fort McHenry.

The bulk carrier AP Sveti Vlaho - Same same ship
 as above from the other side. 
TRANSFLO terminal at Locust Point
Fort McHenry is a great spot combining intense American history and ship watching. From Ft McHenry one has a great view of the Rukert Terminal in Canton. Alas, the haze and sunlight made photography tricky, but we managed to get some good shots. I was especially interested in getting a shot of the Leibherr 500 Mobile Harbor Crane that Rukert recently placed into service.  It was barely visible between two ships that were unloading cargo. One had aluminum ingots and the other plywood.

USS Antares - A former SL-7 Container ship now in the service of Military Sealift Command.  These are probably my favorite ships. Note the weathered Chessie cars in the foreground. 
Rukert's new Liebherr 500 Mobile Harbor Crane
USS John Brown, a Liberty Class Museum ship
We next went to Canton side of the harbor and got some pictures of the operation from that side. We made sure we talked to the security guards whenever we stopped. Some were cool while others said photography of ships at piers was prohibited. Nonetheless,  we got a few decent shots.

MacCallister Tugs at dock
Lunch at Lenny's -  a Balmyr tradition for JD and I

With some good shots on on memory cards, we headed to Lenny's for corned beef sandwiches.  After the tasty lunch we zipped over to MB Kleins to pick up some scenery materials. It was not as busy as I expected.

MB Kleins has good prices, but it is hard to shop there as most of the inventory is in the warehouse. You might as well shop there on-line. In fact you order stuff using computer terminals in the front lobby and they bring the stuff to you.

So we departed MB Kleins and headed cross the beautiful Maryland horse country following the former Western Maryland Railroad right of way. We drove through the Worthington Valley, an area where my wife has many ancestors.   We didn't see any Maryland Midland trains, but our conversation, inspired by the gorgeous scenery, was scintillating- ranging from aging heavy metal rock bands to the geopolitical-military situation in the Mid East. (I'll spare you the details though the consensus was that our current leadership is clueless and AC/DC rocks).

Arriving at Mainline Summit we were given a hero's welcome. Brian Wolfe and his staff provided excellent service and a nice discount while we also caught up on the local Catoctin model railroad news.  Mainline Hobbies is one of the best hobby shops in the United States. Highly Recommended.
We left with smiles on our faces and heavily laden with model train goodies.

On the way back to Alexandria, we stopped at Point of Rocks and waited for the Capitol Limited to arrive. In about 5 minutes we watched it roar by. It was the only moving train we spotted all day.

The trip concluded with a look at JD's N Scale PRR Horseshoe Curve layout. I got a short video of one of his K4s running light up the hill. It's coming along nicely, but that horn?????

1 comment:

  1. Nice. We Aussies would call Friday 13th Black Friday - we don't have Thanksgiving here ! Thanks to Seth N. for explaining it to me !!