At The AAPRCO Convention
Thursday, October 24, 2002
Today is clean up day. We got up a little late, prepared everything and set off for a laundrymat. I'm glad that we took a taxi to speed up the process as we lost a few hours in there, but at least we had a clean set of laundry for the trip. We walked across the parking lot to Safeway and picked up a few things before calling a cab and heading back to the hotel.
After putting everything away, we went to an Indian restaurant and enjoyed their buffet for lunch. Shortly after we went back to the hotel, we picked up our camera equipment that takes virtual pictures. Then we got on the shuttle bus that takes us to the B&O Railroad Museum. Saylor was going to be very busy today taking virtual pictures of as many private railcars as possible while I take regular digital pictures of the museum and the different railcars in the lot.
The museum is a very impressive structure and many of their cars are in pristine condition. The roundhouse is very high (about six floors high, or so) in structure with a lot of lighting coming in from the above window shafts. Many old pristine steam engines, cabooses, and ancient passenger cars circle around the roundtable, each vying for position to be rolled out onto the center piece. The beautiful hardwood floor gave the illusion of being in someones' living room. Obviously, the main reason why so many of these beautiful pieces are in pristine condition is because they have been kept inside away from the sun and the weather. Someone was thinking ahead. It is obvious that many people in this area are concerned for preserving interesting artifacts for future generations to enjoy and admire.
The yard behind the museum had many interesting railcars as well, and I mean interesting! Unique railcars that I never realized existed until now. Some of the wonderful volunteer staff had even operated some of this equipment. I say wonderful because if it wasn't for the dedication of these unselfish people who have such a love and respect for the rail equipment that they help preserve, most, if not all, of the exciting Rail Museums of this country as well as in other lands, would be no more. These wonderful and exciting places of history for the young and young at heart are constantly in need of help financially as well as physically. Do yourself a favor and visit as many as you can, as many times as you can. For those who have some time on their hands available, go and offer your services. This is a wonderful way to help your community and bring smiling faces and good memories to your visitors as well as to yourself. The tourists will also help the local community by going to "your" Rail Museum.. Get involved and be part of the family
There are beautiful model trains of many different sizes and age, in the roundhouse as well as very interesting video series of different rail topics. Once leaving their well stocked souvenir shop, take a peek upstairs and check out their wonderful exhibit of rail clocks. Outstanding! A lovely model train layout for kids of all ages to enjoy is upstairs as well with a bleacher seating arrangement so you can rest your feet. You can't say that these people weren't thinking of their visitors in mind.
Now you railfans don't be disappointed because I didn't list all of the equipment that the museum has on hand. Get yourself over here and enjoy it firsthand. Watching a good ball game on TV is nice, but to go to the stadium and be enveloped by the crowd, the physical game, itself, the electricity in the air and seeing the excitement in the faces of the people around you makes for one big difference. That's the difference of coming in person, and while you're here, you can make a list for yourself as big as you want. My list wouldn't be as accurate as yours, anyway.
At 6:30 PM it was open house on 1/2 of the private railcars for everyone that was on this special trainset that came down from Chicago. Lots of food and drink for everyone. A good time for everyone to rub shoulders and meet everyone else. For you railfans that want to have a good chat with the owners of some of these cars, now you know what you have to do. Get on one of these special cars and go to the next AAPRCO meeting. Great rides, great scenery, great food and great fun!
For Saylor and myself, the car owners were probably sick and tired of us tramping through their lovely cars taking pictures all the time, but it is a one shot situation. We were fairly well acquainted with these cars now, but one never gets tired looking at them. It was around 9:00 PM now, so Saylor and I grabbed one of the shuttle motor coaches that took us back to our hotel. We had a great time and now it was time to check and see if the virtual pictures came out okay. By the time that I had finished it was around midnight, so time to "hit the sack."
Friday, October 25, 2002
By the time that we got up and were ready to go, a good part of the morning was already gone. The shuttle bus took Saylor to the museum again where the private rail cars were parked. He'd be working on those virtual reality pictures again. It is almost an impossibility to travel around the country taking such pictures of different railcars, but when a good number of them meet at a specific point in time, then that's the time to "strike."
Through the good graces of Wade and Jullia Pellizzer of the Virginia City private railcar, and Bob Klein of the Silver Iris, the taking of the virtual pictures of these railcars became a reality. We hope these private railcars will be preserved forever, but one can never predict the future. Having them photographed for posterity is another reason to take virtual photos of these cars. We expect to eventually create a virtual museum of private railcars so that you can virtually place yourself inside these cars that you might never have an opportunity to enter personally. These special photographs give one a much more in depth look at the beautiful interiors of these private railcars. Each one of them has a wonderful history of its own that would fascinate any history buff, especially with the feeling that you are inside of one. That history will be posted at the end of Part 5 of this travelogue.
A little while later I grabbed another cab and went back to the hotel to take care of a few things. I checked out the tables where vendors were offering their goods to those people attending the festivities. Soon after, I walked about 6 blocks to the port area that the tourists and locals enjoy. A very clean and pretty area. Many shops abound here, and of course crab is the main topic in this neck of the woods.
I went to a restaurant called Phillip's and had their seafood buffet. I never had a genuine large seafood buffet before, so here was my opportunity to do so. There was a very large selection of seafood which included differently cooked shrimp, fish, Alaskan King Crab, and on and on. The gal brought me a pitcher of lemonade that I had asked for. Then I said, "Could you bring me a glass?" She retorted, "Honey, this is your glass," and then handed me a straw. I was going to get my $13.99 worth!
I walked through one mall on the way back to the hotel. Lot's of clothes, so I kept walking. Back at the hotel I picked up what I needed and took the shuttle bus to the museum. I spent the rest of the day taking pictures of the steam and diesel engines with freight and private railcars that were in the area. As I take the pictures it is always enjoyable meeting the owners of these cars and chatting a bit. They are the ones that give life to these cars. Their personality is now the cars' personality.
At 6:30 PM tonight the other 1/2 of the private railcars have open house for all the riders of this unique trainset. The live band was the same one we had last night and they were great. Cracking jokes when they weren't playing. The food and drinks are always good!. A few hours later we took the shuttle bus back to the hotel and I started into the virtual pictures that Saylor had taken that day. Another full day! Another good nights sleep.
Saturday, October 26, 2002
Today the members of the museum get to go in the grounds between 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon and view the private railcars as well as the museum itself. That's another reason why you should belong to your local rail museum, as they sometimes have these special appointments that only "insiders" can enjoy. Remember that!
More virtual picture taking today as we can never accomplish everything in one sitting. People are in the area, an area needs to be cleaned up, no one around to give the "okay," etc.. I notice that every new day here gets warmer and warmer. Today it was very pleasant out, including the sun.
Close to lunch time I went to the dock area again and picked up a "Baltimore" shirt for my wife. I then went to Phillip's Seafood Restaurant again and had their seafood buffet, again. $22.99 today. "Wow," weekends really are more expensive. Supply and demand, supply and demand!
Back to the hotel, then shuttle bus and then back to the B&O Railroad Museum. Picture time again to try and get that good shot. Many shots are so/so, but some of them do stand out. If you're willing to look through all of the pictures, by all means make note of the address of the pictures that you truly like. Download it if you like, as they are all free. Because the sun was out and not so overcast today, I managed to take much better shots inside the round house.
Saylor and I had to finish a little earlier today as we had to move out of the hotel and move back into the "Silver Iris." Needless to say, no one had to twist our arm. It seems that tonight is banquet night. This is the night that everyone wears a shirt and tie. Some men wore suits, some wore sport jackets and some wore a tux. The ladies, of course, always look great with everything they wear. Upon entering the roundhouse, the present and former Presidents of AAPRCO were all dressed up and lined up just inside the doorway. Each and every guest was recognized and welcomed to the gala event. Very posh, very first class!
The Zim Zemarel Orchestra (Gene Bonner, 410-256-4825) was all dressed up to play great music for everyone. The large round tables were well presented with their fine linen and silverware. The overhead net was full of large blue and white balloons that would drop when it's time to dance after dinner. Hey, all this comes with my trip?
A lovely salad started things off and then we slowly started to get up and meander over to the buffet tables and ration out what you put on your plate so you wouldn't run out of room on the first pass. I only wanted a very small portion of roast beef but these people only know how to cut thick portions of it. Where were they in my younger years? Now can you imagine being all dressed up sitting at a table on a lovely shiny hardwood floor that is centered on a roundtable that is centered in a huge roundhouse that is surrounded by absolutely stunning original masterpieces of historical rail equipment. Now if this isn't a railfans' "valhalla," then tell me what is.
Even for those that are not heavy rail buffs, this is enjoyment for all. Imagine, music that has no "rap." Everyone was smiling, everyone was laughing, everyone was having a great time. I did take a number of pictures this night and I know that many of them did not come out that great, but with the camera equipment that I had at the time I did what I could. I was having as much fun taking the pictures as those people that were dancing on the roundtable floor. How many of you have ever done that? Dancing on a roundtable floor, that is?
You can't tell me that you can't have great fun at an AAPRCO annual meeting. Check out what private railcars are in your state at RAILcharter.com and look into it. You'll be glad you did! Some of the private railcar owners are sponsors of TrainWeb. These are the people that keep our doors open. Check them out first! If they're willing to help us (that means you, too), you should be willing to help them out as well!
The party went on until 1:00 AM, but I was willing to throw the towel in by 11:00 PM. Saylor and I headed for the Silver Iris, just a short walk away, and called it a night. A heck of a "bang" of a sendoff from AAPRCO within the confines of very impressive surroundings of the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
Note: Photos of many individual railcars as well as virtual tours of some of them will be posted along with Part 5 of this travelogue. We will be posting one part of the travelogue each week and featuring it on the main page of TrainWeb.
Click to view each set of detailed photos below:
Are you interested in rail travel in a private railcar? Click here for information on chartering a private railcar. AAPRCO holds their convention once each year in various cities. You can travel across the country in a private railcar to the convention as Ray and Saylor did by contacting the owner of one of the private railcars that will be going to the convention. But, you don't have to go to the AAPRCO convention to enjoy the luxury of travel in a private railcar. You can charter a private railcar any time of the year to take you to many destinations along the rails! Click here for more information!