I just returned home from a fantastic two-week road trip to ProRail 2019 hosted by the Tulsa, Oklahoma model railroaders. I decided to attend the event via an extended road trip. My wife opted to stay home, so I made the trip solo. Therefore, I took it easy each day and made sure I visited sites that interested me along the way.
|ACW Model RR at New Market|
I stopped at Clifton Forge to railfan. There I saw three trains, a mixed freight with CN and UP power, AMTRAK and a eastbound coal train. The first night I stayed at Hawks Nest in WV. While there I did some rail fanning, spotting a few more coal trains, and hawk watching, hence the name.
Next, I travelled to Lexington, KY where I visited my son and cousins from my wife's side of the family. We had a great time including a dinner at a nice restaurant that Gus Fieri deemed to have the one of the top 5 burgers in America. I ordered it and enjoyed it but could only finish half, while my son got the rest. After a morning round of golf with my son and BBQ lunch (the first of many on this trip), I drove to Mammoth Cave via the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, KY. The old mill buildings at the distillery were quite charming. I didn't have time for a tour but I took several photos and stocked up on bourbon and bourbon ball candy.
|Local switching at Clifton Forge |
with an insect for air cover
That evening I partook in a 3 mile hike in a portion of the Mammoth Cave system via illumination from gas lantern light only. That was fun, but not interesting enough to justify me to go back for a second hike the next day, even though I had already purchased the ticket.
Instead of a second cave tour the next morning, I headed south to visit Stones River National Battlefield near Murfreesboro, TN. I had studied this battle extensively in the past, but I have never walked the terrain. It was about as I expected, expect for a very flat yet stony region they nicknamed the "slaughter pen." The terrain by McFadden Ford was very steep. Here massed Union guns destroyed a confederate charge on the final day of the battle. That has been a common theme on several of the battles I have visited recently. The suburban area of Murfreesboro is encroaching on the battlefield site, but the park service has preserved a good portion of it.
I stopped at Parkers Crossroads for a brief look at the battlefield museum. This was a battle during the early stages of the Vicksburg Campaign where N.B. Forest got caught between two Union forces. He famously "charged in two directions and escaped." He continued to bedevil the Union until the war's end.
|Harold and Charlie looking at future site of a cotton crane.|
Harold will build and make operational
I departed the next morning for Tulsa. I took a scenic detour on the Pig Trail through the scenic Ozark Mountains on my way to see the Pea Ridge battlefield. The weather was perfect and the battlefield is beautifully preserved. The information plaques at each stop on the battlefield tour were some of the best I've seen at a NPS battlefield. The plaques depicted scenes from the battle with the same orientation as the viewer would have standing by the plaque. They were sponsored in part by Sams Club and Walmart, whose corporate HQ is nearby.
|CSA gun line at Pea Ridge|
I arrived in Tulsa to find the ProRail hosts manning a table at the hotel. Many of my model railroad friends were present. It was fun to reconnect with them.
|Dan Thompson (l) and Tom Fausser by his SBTRR|
|I had a chance to test the Proto Throttle on Steve Davis's KCS layout.|
It is interesting. A fun way to run a diesel. I really liked the horn switch
|Jim Sinclair's layout is a large mushroom design|
|Port of Catoosa switcher|
|B-2 and SR-71 in the cold war exhibit|
On the final leg of the trip, I stopped in Pittsburgh to visit my daughter and son in law. I went to a yoga class she taught. I needed it as my legs were sore from all the walking at the USAF museum.
I took hundreds of photos on this trip. If you want to see more, you can visit the Facebook Album at the link below.