Erie Trip Gremlins and Goblins – Part 2

Day two and a new day for the gremlins to invade my life but I guess they had their fill with me and only showed up a couple of times.

Sunshine and warmer temps today for sure and 18 trains even though about 3 hours was spent hanging around the Erie GE plant hoping to catch some new units on the testing track but no luck.

I stated out at 8 am as AMTRAK was running about 40 minutes late so even though fairly dark  decided to try and catch it, I hit almost every light red, about 10 of them and missed it by about 5 minutes. cartoon-germs-21Gremlin #1. Then something I ate yesterday did not agree with me and headed back to the motel for a bit. Gremlin #2.  It was busy and but caught 6 trains even though I missed the AMTRAK at 8:07 but did catch trains at 8:20, 8:29, 8:59, 9:20, 9:32 and 9:50.

I had forgot to take my medications so figured I could take them while at the motel. I also saw that Red Roof offers a free breakfast of your choice at McDonalds which is next door so figured I could also get it. I went to the front desk at Red Roof to get a voucher but found out McDonalds only offered it to 10:30 and it was now 10:55. Gremlin #3

Last night has some legs craps due to maybe standing too much so loaded up on orange juice and bananas today so should be okay tonight,

Back to the trains and caught a NS at 12:52 and a CSX at 12:55. Decided to head back to my favorite place in Erie to spend the rest of the day. It did not disappoint as was busy again. Trains at 13:45, 13:58, 14:11, 14:52, 15:02, 15:38, 15:47, 15:55, 16:25 and 16:30.

Eighteen trains in about 6 hours so happy with the results. At least another half dozen or so I missed.   file94

Tomorrow heading to GE then North East PA again as well as Bort Road and another sunny day promised then catch 2 NFL games starting at 4 pm. Looks like weather changing for Sunday so might head home but planning on a stop at my sisters in Welland. If running late will stay there overnight.

I will still keep my guard up as those nasty gremlins can show up anytime.

Erie Trip Gremlins and Goblins – Part 1

I can’t believe I have not written anything in almost 6 months but my misadventures seem to happen everyday and are not earth shattering so have not shared with you. This trip has had it moments so far for sure.

I was itching to go south as I had not been there since last Sept and it was time to get away. I checked the weather and no snow or anything in the forecast and Sun promised Thursday afternoon, all day Friday and Saturday and most of Sunday so booked the motel, bought the insurance and looked forward to a nice trip with lots of Sun and trains.

As I was getting things ready to go last night I heard the snowplow go by and looked out the windows and there was a major snow event going on. I can’t believe those so called weather people could not have forecast this. So much for a nice drive in the morning on dry clean roads. Not much I could do but go anyway and hoped the plow boys had done their job.

Thursday morning awoke at 5:45 and looked outside to see how bad it was. Did not look too bad and I could hear the plow out their cleaning up the 3-4 cms that fell. Headed out the door and headed for the border. Everything went smooth as long as you stayed out of the way of the idiot drivers out there. Made the border by 9 am and had heard the wait was about 15 minutes. I did not know the bridge was under repair and only one lane open each way. To my surprise made it through in about 15 minutes and headed west to Erie. West right into snow streamers off the lake and strong winds. freezing man

First stop was Ripley NY and arrived there at 11 am but not a train in sight. Then after an hour headed to Bort Rd at the NY/PA border. Windy and cold and felt like -10C with off and on snow flurries. Heard K22 an eastbound NS was coming and RTC asked MOW boys to clear. Waited an hour and still nothing on CSX or NS. Headed to North East PA and spotted the MOW trucks parked by the tracks and a green signal.  Another 15 minutes and the NS train finally showed up, a very long intermodal train. First train 13:15

Nothing happening here so headed to the GE plant in Erie to see if any new locomotives around. Again I struck out as nothing to be found but as I was about to leave, a loaded oil train blew by on the CSX track heading east and caught it on video even thought it was two tracks over and behind some weeds. Time 14:40. So almost 4 hours and only two trains and it felt like I was still home.

Got something to eat and then drove to my favourite spot in Erie if anything would show up. Turned one street too soon and by the time I turned around and turned on the right street the gates came down and a long NS intermodal flew by as I sat in the car behind a truck and watched it go by.  Another hour with no trains and no Sun and was wondering if maybe this trip was not a good idea.

Finally after another hour the flood gates opened. Whatever the delay was now gone and a bit of a parade began.

CSX train at 16:19, 16:40, 16:49, NS at 17:02, CSX at 17:10, 17:23, 17:28 and 17:38 and the Sun came out so made up for the rest of the day. Trains were still coming but light was gone and time to warm up and relax.

Looking forward to a full day in bright sunshine tomorrow and Saturday.

smiling sun

Burning Love Part 3 & Hard Drives

I must be in the final stages as the burning pains have returned with a vengeance. Even the pain pills they gave me at emergency and some additional Tylenol done seem to chase them away. Another restless night but keep thinking it could be something worse and I will beat it soon.

Being home bound has given me some time to work on a 1 TB hard drive that failed. After much looking found some software that could recover most. I have now found over 45,000 files and at least 30,000 are photos.file29

The problem is it puts everything into file folders and renames all the files starting at 0001. Next step was to find some software that would put them into folders using the EXIF info on every digital photo. Once that was done no I will have to open each file and rename it or at least rename the folders indicating location.

One of the steps to recovering the files is you have to format the drive they are on. Now that step is always scaring as we all think once we format a hard drive or SD card everything is gone.harddrive Formatting a hard drive that is unreadable does delete the files and rebuilds the file structure so you can read but the files are still there. As long as you don’t overwrite the files they can be recovered. Remember that next time you sell or give away a hard drive. The only way to be safe is to use some software to overwrite every thing on the drive. If any sensitive material on it then the safe way is to drill a hole through it.

Another great day so get out and enjoy it.


Burning Love – Part 2

The bad thing about shingles it comes in two parts and it seems the ending is worse than the beginning. After three days of suffering through the beginning with the infected areas feeling like your skin was on fire there is a small time period where they are less severe and you think you are getting better. You soon realize this virus has a strange sense of humour as the ending begins to show up with even more burning and discomfort thanjoker at the start. fire

Took my pain pills and anti shingle pills and am not walking around in a daze. I can see why they tell you not to drive when taking them but am thankful I have them. The good news is the end is in sight so I focus on that.

I have watched the first season of Quantico and did sneak out Sunday morning to do two sets of laundry as I change the bedding every night to make sure the virus was not still alive as it seems it can survive 24 hours. I should be past the stage where I am contagious and don’t have tosmiling sun be so concerned about contamination.

On another subject, the weather sure has been great and even with those showers yesterday it has been a great week. I am hoping to get out soon to enjoy it as we are all ready heading to the end of July.

Even though this nasty bug caught me I still consider myself fortunate as I year reach the 3/4 of a century mark very soon and still feel I am in pretty good shape. Once healthy again I will be off to Ohio and discover new things and do some train chasing.

file94Remember you can’t change the past or the future so concentrate on today and make sure you get the most out of it.

Have a great day.


Burning Love It is Not

After June being a write off with doctor appointments, tests and car repairs I was looking forward to July and some road trips to Ohio to do some exploring acanus flagnd train chasing. I got a clean bill of health and was waiting for both Canada Day and the 4th of July holidays to finish as I never go near the border on holidays. Last time I made that mistake it took 2 1/2 hours to get back into Canada at Windsor.

Well it now looks like July will also be a no go as it seems I have come down with a full blown case of shingles. shinglesIt is almost like the power of suggestion as my doctor asked me if I thought of getting the shingles vaccine but it was $240 and not covered by OHIP. It is covered if you are 65 to 70 but after that I guess you can somehow afford something you can’t at 70. Our past idiot Liberal government brought out a prescription plan for all Canadians under 25 but nothing for the seniors who worked all their life and are paying for it. My stomach is now covered by many little blisters and my skin is super sensitive and feels if it is on fire. fireEven wearing a shirt is uncomfortable. I may also have some small areas on my back as it is contagious when the blister are forming so I was laying in bed sheets that may have been contagious. I headed to emergency yesterday as my doctor is on holidays after about three days and things were not getting better. cartoon-germs-21I was hoping it was just a rash of some kind by they confirmed my fears. Now on antibiotic pills 3 times day and also have some pain killers as it seems once the virus passes, the healing part is even more painful.

At least I think in a couple of weeks I will hopefully be fully recovered but am in for a few rough days and then can get on with my life.  It could have been something much worse so will be thankful it is only shingles.

I had planned to go to the Canterbury Folk Festival this weekend but being in the sun seems to make it worse. Off to stock up on a few things this morning then plan to take it easy as I get tired quickly. Lots of movies and sports to watch as well as have some updates to do on web pages I look after so will keep myself busy.

Life sometimes throws you a lemon and your only choice is to make lemonade. I survived 5 kidney stones so am I sure I can survive this.



I Can Kiss June Goodbye

Summer is here and I was looking forward to some trips to the USA but it looks like they will have to wait till July.

Coming back from Ohio and back in Canada I was recipient of a rock that cracked the windshield requiring a new one and I had put off some minor repairs until I got back. My annual check up was also scheduled and everything is fine but time for my 5 years scope as colon cancer runs in my family.

I scheduled the repairs for this morning and am in Mcd’s having coffee while they are done so this week is used up. month calendarI called to get an appointment to have the windshield replaced and it can’t be done till next Wednesday so another week that is split up. Next my scope is planned for the 3rd Wednesday  and then a follow-up exam one week later on another Wednesday so that pretty well uses up all of June.

The scope should be fine as I have had a clean check up the last 3 times better to know than not know. happy colonThe worst part is the preparation and having to impose on somebody to pick you up. I am sure I will survive and come out good for another 5 years. If you are 50 or over and even if there is no history in your family I recommend you get one. I am sure it saved my life as 20 years ago when I had my first they found 5 polyps which by now would have been full-blown cancer and probably would have killed me by now.

Once this minor setbacks are finished I plan a number of trips to Ohio, Indiana and maybe even finally get to Rochelle Illinois.

Rain forecast for today so ideal time to get out the new Railpast Mobile and take it for a run. ambulance If it rains I can shoot out the back doors and if no trains take a nap or just sit and watch it rain while working on my computer. Weather is hot with temperatures near 30C/90F so need to find a place with some shade. No a/c in the ambulance but nice breeze if I open the back doors. I find the older you get the heat seems to be a little harder to take.

That is enough rambling for today so everyone have a great day and enjoy every day as we never know many we have left.



Reality Setting In

I have not posted in a while as I have sort of been in limbo and wondering what life is all about. I am not depressed or anything like that but was just wondering what is it all about. We are born, do our best or worse than die. Seems simple enough so why the mystery?

I just had my yearly medical check up and everything is still working like it should and I feel fine and counting my blessings to have it made to 75 so should be very thankful. I guess I have been thinking about it as the number of years I have left seem to be shrinking away too fast. I joked with my doctor that he has to out live me as I don’t want to look for another doctor and he joked he was only 62 so that should not be a problem.


I know he was joking but he is right and will I be around till he retires which might be in another 5 or 6 years but on planning to be here much longer.

I am sure we all wonder what will we leave behind when we go. I was married but it did not last and even though I played father for about 7 years with my wife’s 3 wonderful children from her first marriage I do regret not having children of my own who I could share their lives with as I grow older. I regret not being more successful in my careers and having many of the things I do not have. Don’t get me wrong, I am debt free, have money in the bank and do pretty well what I want but never reached even close to where I thought I would be in life.Griffin_family

When I was a teenager I had dreams of meeting that beautiful girl who I would spend my life with, have a family and live in a big house but somewhere all those dreams were shattered as one relationship after another seemed to end. Looking back I blew it when the girl that I should have married somehow got away and I was the one that ended it. That was the biggest mistake of my life and I can only imagine how things would have been so different.

Anyway that is enough thinking about the “what ifs” and time to get back to living. Planning a trip to Ohio next week so no time to dwell on negative things and get back to doing what I enjoy while I still can. Life is precious and none of us know how much of it we will get to enjoy so make the most of each day. Summer is here and I plan to enjoy everyday as long as I am capable.  I hope everyone has a great summer anmanonbiked think of me when I am gone which I hope is a long way away.

The Internet has provided me with a place to share my life and will be there long after I am gone as the 12,000 photos, over 3000 videos and thousands of Facebook posts good and bad will still be there.

Time to get out there and fill up my corner of the Internet with stuff I like. I am sure that is what it is for. Thanks for listening and hope your life is going great.