305: Great Blue Heron

A Great Blue Heron stopped by for lunch yesterday just before our friends arrived for our little fish taco party.  A good time was had by all, including the Great Blue Heron who seemed to have fed well while he was here.

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Day 16: Train ride

(Coming from the west…)

The train ride yesterday was unexpectedly relaxing.  I enjoyed it.  It was a 7-hour trip (after a 2-1/2 drive to Pennsylvania where we got on the train).  We watched the sky clear and lighten on our way to the train station in Greensburg, PA.  It was nice to get out from under the clouds although we did catch up with them a little later.  I don’t know where the clouds disappeared to once we were through the mountains of Pennsylvania.   The sky cleared up nicely from that point on.  The temperature got warmer too.  Much warmer than we’re used to at home.

(… and heading east.)

The foliage in the mountains has not changed color as much as I thought it would have by now.  There was some color but it looks like it will be a few weeks before it peaks.

One of the “thrills” of this train ride for M was Horseshoe Curve.  He’s been talking about taking the train through there for years and he finally got to do it.  Horseshoe Curve is located near Altoona, Pennsylvania and is a National Historic Landmark.  The Pennsylvania Railroad built Horseshoe Curve is two separate curves completed in 1854 as a means of getting trains west through the summit of the Allegheny Mountains.  Without the curves, the incline would have been too steep.

Horseshoe Curve has an interesting history.  It was guarded by Union soldiers during the U.S. Civil War and closed during parts of World War II when it was learned that the Nazis intended to sabotage it.

(Part of Horseshoe Curve.)

Sorry about the quality of the photo (and/or photos).  I can’t see them well on the laptop.  They are straight out of the camera and I’m hoping that aren’t as bad as they look from here.  The window I looked out of on this trip was terribly dirty.  I’m not sure how much of that shows.

The ride took us through the mountains of Pennsylvania, into farm and Amish country, and then into the suburbs and city of Philadelphia.

In Philly we rented a car and drove to New Jersey to get together with some of my family for the evening.  It was good to see my sister and her family, and my father.

All in all, it was a good trip.  As I mentioned before, I like traveling by train.  There is something romantic about it.  Relaxing too.  It was nice to be able to stretch out, read, look out the window, and get up to walk around whenever I got tired of sitting.

As for my get outside commitment, M and I hung around on the train platform for a goodly amount of time.  Although it was not my usual outdoor adventure, it was outdoors.  We listened to the birds chattering in between the noise of the freight trains as they roared through, kicking up quite a breeze as they passed.  It was a different sort of outdoors experience, but almost as nice.

This morning we’re off to a nearby park to get some fresh air and much needed exercise.  I’m looking forward to a good walk/run after all that sitting yesterday.

The hospice “life celebration” for Mom is this afternoon.  I can’t say I’m looking forward to going to hospice but it will be nice to gather together with my father and siblings again.