Coordinating Toddler Schedules

Coordinating Toddler Schedules

As you can see from the new countdown plugin, we have several trips planned.  I will be researching for most of them over the next few months and will be posting highlights from what I find from time to time.  One trip that we are trying to put together is still up in the air because of scheduling problems.  

My oldest daughter, Chrystal, is currently living in Chicago.  She is a favorite with all our Littles and they miss her very much since she moved last summer.  She comes home to visit as often as possible, but it’s a six hour drive each way and that limits her trips to once a month or so.  It’s hard for toddlers to understand why she isn’t here more and they have no concept of where she’s now living.  

So, she and I decided last fall that we’d plan a trip this summer for her grandson, Xavier, along with Damion and Elaina, to see where she lives and works.  There are a million fascinating things to see and do in Chicago and we know they will have an amazing time.  It would be nice if we could take all seven of the ones who live here,  but traveling with that many under the age of six is too much even for me.  As it turns out, getting three of them there may be too much.

Obviously, we thought, the trip would have to wait until school was out.  I suggested sometime in June.  She said, “Probably not.  I think Xavier will be in Texas with his dad then.  July is also impossible, even if Xavier is home by then, Damion and Elaina both have birthdays that month, as does one of Xavier’s sisters that lives in Texas.  School starts back the first week of August.  Damion spends every other weekend with his dad, so that left only two available weekends in May. We settled on the week of May 20th.  When we started notifying parents, Damion and Elaina’s grandmother said, “No, we’ve already got plane and hotel reservations to take them to the beach that weekend.  (Hmph, sigh) 🙄  Back to the drawing board.

Another consideration, Damion and Elaina will be playing T Ball this summer.  We don’t have schedules for that yet, so we can’t even begin to see how it will affect things.  Their grandparents will also want to take them camping, at least once.  They only do one kid at a time, so that ties up two more weekends.  

Maybe we should just give up on the summer.  It is much shorter than it used to be when school didn’t start back until Labor Day week.   I’m thinking maybe we’ll have to wait until fall break in October.  We are both retired.  Chrystal is off every weekend.  The kids are five and under.  Scheduling shouldn’t be this hard.  I dread to think what it will be like when they are ten.


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Where did my love of photographing trains come from?

Where did my love of photographing trains come from?

Road trips don’t always have to be somewhere far away or a long number of days on the road. As most of you know I’m pretty much hooked on trains! As such, I hit the road usually at least once a week to search for new and different train photos for my Facebook page, online sales store and also my website.

So, where did my addiction to photographing trains come from anyway?

PCC & St. Louis Railroad, Conover, Ohio

Well, I can’t really say for sure, but I’ve told my sister April and others that I think it comes from when we lived in Conover, Ohio, about a block away from the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, then commonly referred to as the Panhandle Route, which was was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system. Of course I was only about 2 when we moved from there, so my sister and others say I couldn’t remember trains from that young an age. As for me, who knows for sure.

It possibly came from our mom’s brother who was my Uncle Willard Moore, who was a yardmaster at the then L&N Railroad’s Atkinson Yard here in Madisonville, Ky. I can’t however say that I ever recall going out to the yard to visit him there, but here again I was still young. I do remember walking the spur line that went to downtown Madisonville which came out to the bulk oil plant that ran alongside of the Government housing projects where I grew up most of my young years. We’d hike the tracks to downtown which was the center of the universe for a young kid back in the day when downtown was the happening place.

L&N Depot, Madisonville, Ky – (West Ky NRHS Photo Archive Photo from the Harold Utley Collection)

I recall passing the L&N depot when I’d walk this line with my brothers or friends. Can’t say I remember any passenger trains stopping there then, but I know they did when I was a kid.

I guess I can truly say that I recall the most when this addiction began of photographing trains, at least that I can remember for sure, was in Germany!

I had just finished a graduate course in Photojournalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University in 1978 where the US Air Force had sent me for training to be a Photojournalist (PJ) where I worked with Combat Camera until I retired in 1995. My first duty assignment was at Rhein Main Air Base, just outside Frankfurt Germany. This is where I met the Grant Family. Norm was our photo maintance man and he along with their son Dale and his wife Gloria, were all into trains and we struck up an instant friendship that carried us pretty much through our whole lives. Norm recently passed away, but I’m still good friends with Gloria and Dale (who is an engineer for BNSF Railway now).

Jim Pearson watches a maintenance operation from the cab of a German Steam engine outside Frankfurt, Germany in 1979. (Photo by Norm Grant)

I can remember to this day our train trips to downtown Frankfurt’s main train station where we’d spend countless hours photographing trains from the platforms there. I guess then Germany and Europe in general was the place I fell in love with photographing trains. During all my travels, in the three years I was stationed in Germany, I always included photographing trains somewhere, on a regular basis.

After I left Germany and was assigned to Norton AFB in southern California where that love of photographing and chasing trains didn’t change at all and has continued through today.

People say why and I say why not! LOL Everyone’s got a hobby of some sort and this one has served me well over the years by taking me to places I might never of gone and allowing me to make friends with fellow railfans from around the world.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! So, expect to see a few train pictures here from my travels!

Me changing film at Lepzig, East Germany during an photo assignment in the area after the fall of the Eastern Block walls and fences. (Photo by Jose Lopez Jr.)


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Revising Our Goals

Revising Our Goals

When we started this website, our purpose was to provide a way for friends to follow us on our trips and to share some of our photos with them.  That has been a problem from the start.  To begin with, when we are traveling, we don’t really have much time for posting.  We are on the road for six or more hours a day and spend evenings editing pictures or just relaxing after the long drive.

Secondly, we don’t travel every week, or even every month.  That leaves us with long periods of time with no new subjects for posting.  We could just give up and take down the site, but we aren’t ready to do that.  So, I’m trying to come up with travel related ideas to fill in the gaps. Originally, we had thought to do that with local weekend trips.  However, with the advent of 12 little Indians in our lives, that hasn’t really happened either.  Most of the time, we are just too busy living to spend much of it traveling.  

So, I’m open to suggestions if you have any.  My current thinking is that Jim spends a lot of time lately chasing trains.  He could make a short post once a week about where he’s been or where he’s planning to go and post some pictures of his excursions.  I haven’t mentioned this to him yet, but it was my first thought.  He’s also made several trips this past year on other photography related adventures that he could write about.

For myself, the furthest that I travel most weeks is to the church and back five days a week delivering children to preschool and picking them back up.  That will change somewhat when school is out though.  There will probably be trips to the parks and the zoo.  There’s the family reunion in Ohio.  Still, not a regular thing that could fill a blog.  

 However, one thing I do all year round is get ready for our big trip in the fall.  Jim’s Combat Camera group meets somewhere in the country for their annual reunion and I design a trip around that location.  I plan the route and research interesting places along the way.  In the past, we’ve spent up to three weeks on the road with the 3 day reunion somewhere in the middle.  I’m thinking I could share my research.  Who knows, you might decide to visit some of the spots I look into yourself.

This year’s reunion is in Colorado Springs and we are probably just going straight there and straight back, a week at most.  This is an economizing measure because next year, we are planning on skipping the reunion for a trip to Europe.  That one will require a lot of research.

Jim has wanted an excuse to go back there ever since he got out of service.  My grandson Brad is stationed in Germany, at present, and Jim sees this as his opportunity. The only parts of Europe I’ve ever longed to see are Ireland and Scotland, but I am an aficionado of mountains and i’ve heard they have some good ones in many parts of the continent, so I’m willing to give it a try. 

I’m hoping that, one way or another, we can come up with, at least, one post a week.  Stay tuned for a potential schedule.  

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Planning is Underway

Planning is Underway

Today, we sat down together and semi-finalized our route for this year’s Combat Camera trip.  I’ve struggled for the past week with the new version of Google Maps.  It sets strict limits on how many stops you can include on any one map.

We’re going to be gone for more than two weeks and we’ll only be spending one night at most stops along the way.  That means many more points than Google allows.  So, I’ve broken it down into 3 sections.  They are posted on under the Trip Maps tab.  Check it out.  If you know of something fascinating or amazing that we should see along the way, tell us in the comments.

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We’re Back

We’re Back

It’s been more than a year since either one of us has posted here.  That’s embarrassing to say the least.  So I’m thinking I’ll try to do at least a paragraph or two a week from now on.  

So, next on our agenda is the Pennyrile Photography Weekend starting on Friday, April 15th with Entry judging and awards on Sunday Morning, April 17th.  We’ve participated in the spring and fall events for nearly ten years.  Sometimes we missed one because it conflicted with other things, like the Combat Camera trip this fall, but we’ve never missed a whole year.  This time, they’re doing online registration that makes it possible to expand the shooting hours to all day on Friday.

We’re in the planning stage for the fall Combat Camera trip.  It’s back in Charleston SC this year, but we’re going to swing north before the reunion date and visit new territory.  Currently we’re looking at making a loop up through Ohio toward Maine and into Pennsylvania, then swing back down the coast to Charleston.  

Between those two is the Pearson family reunion in Ohio and, undoubtedly, a couple of toddler roadtrips to zoos or other such attractions. Photos coming soon.  


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