Retirement has allowed me and Judy to travel quite a bit more than we could when we were employed full time. The deal is that I will go wherever she wants, which usually involves a quilt shop or two, as long as I can finagle something train related into the trip. It goes both ways: she and another spouse found the New England Quilt Museum at the Lowell convention. A little Googling and checking the AAA Tour Book will usually turn up something either where we are visiting or along the way.
Two of my children live in the Seattle/Tacoma region, and I
have found several railroad museums to visit as well as
train-watching along the BNSF mainline, and a couple of
pretty well-stocked train stores. This last trip, I was able to
take my Grandson to visit to the Washington State Museum
in Tacoma. The Puget Sound Model RR Engineers have a
very large HO scale layout depicting railroading in the
Tacoma area. Pushing a button sets about 5 trains into
motion, which fascinated Grandson (and Grandpa) for a
good 45 minutes. I got a chance to talk to one of the guys in
the club and he told me they also run operating sessions
there. It is well worth a visit in you are in that part of the
Closer to home, our Central NY Division has just concluded
tours of the neighboring Lakeshores and Hudson Berkshire
Divisions. I am always amazed at the diverse approaches
members take to the hobby. Between the two Divisions, we
saw 11 layouts – all different – including a long-established
club layout, a couple of basement sized layouts including
one in N-scale, several smaller operations-oriented layouts
including one “in-progress,” a museum-style historic
diorama, and one that a member described as “your
childhood dream layout on steroids.” We also squeezed in a
few hobby shop visits. One of the best parts of the tours was
talking to the layout owners about their ideas, motivations
and future plans. It’s now our turn to reciprocate. I
encourage other Divisions to investigate similar tours. It is
always great to see what other folks are doing.
Sandwiched in the middle of this was the return of “Ops ‘til
You Drop,” our annual operations weekend. It’s always fun
to have people from all over come and operate our layouts.
In addition to NER members, we had operators from as far
away as Florida and Quebec.
Taken all together, it’s great to see these events going again
after our long confinement. When you read this, the warm
days of summer will be upon us, which usually means time
spent outdoors and on vacation with a reduction in
basement activity. Keep in the September Convention in
mind. I Hope to see many of you in Windsor this fall.