Sunday, March 22, 2009

Counting the days. . .

Why go to Australia? For the Bulldogs! Lance Lassen photographed this quad set in 2007 on the north coast working a QR National Melbourne-Brisbane train.

. . .now until Lance Lassen and I climb aboard a Qantas 747 and head off for two weeks of railroad fun in New South Wales. The trip has been discussed for well over a year; got down to starting planning it last November.

Bloody Oath! we're looking forward to it!

We leave Texas on Thursday 9 April and return two weeks later, on the 23rd. It'll be a pretty intense two-weeks. . . no bludging on the beach sipping drinks with little paper umbrellas stuck in them for these boys.

We've been extremely fortunate to been assisted every step of the way by our on-line friends from Australia, all of whom have been a great boon in helping us decide where to go and what to see. Each time we discover something we "must" see, invariably something else comes up. Two weeks? Crikey. . .we'd need more like two months!

We'll be confining ourselves to New South Wales, and just a portion of it. To see it "all" would be impossible. We're juggling our time between visiting hobby shops and loading up on those bits and pieces for the model railways that are impossible to discover on-line, doing a little data gathering on the prototype locations our model railways are based upon, and driving all over hell to watch trains.

We're hoping to chase an RTM special back from Parkes behind vintage NSWGR diesels. . .watch 48 Class hauling wheat wagons on a rural branch line. . .observe the spectacle of triple 80 Class blasting away in banker service on the Ardglen grade. . .absorb the wide-open spaces west of the Great Dividing Range watching a variety of freight schedules and locomotive classes. . . photograph (fingers crossed) the final days of the beautiful CLF/CLP bulldogs in service on the QRNational MB7/BM7 before they're replaced by new EMD's out of EDI shops. Above all, though, we want to experience Australia for ourselves.

Lance has been before; this will be my first trip. We're looking forward to actually meeting all these guys we've traded e-mails with for over a year and to call 'em "mates" face-to-face and return the shout. I'm sure we'll walk around the Circular Quay and take some nice tourist photos of the Opera House, but it'll be just as cool to join the crowd at Leichhardt stadium and watch the West Tigers scrum it up against Melbourne.

We'll be on our best behaviour. We promise to reign in our bignoting as much as possible. We'd like to be invited back. But only after we find a way to jam all the books and model parts and memories into our suitcases for the trip back home.

So, if this blog has seemed a big sparse on new posts lately, now you know. Believe me, come next month this thing will seemingly be updated daily!