February 27, 2024

The Allegheny Special

Well, this has been a thorough goof up.

Typically I try to present photos in the “relative” order that they were taken. For whatever reason, I’ve managed to completely hose that up. Let’s just say things are out of order and get on with our lives, shall we?

My wonderful children went looking for something nice to do in celebration of my retirement last May. What they found was The Allegheny Special. I’m fond of old trains and scenery, and it seemed like a really good photo opportunity.

So, the tickets were procured for the July 4th weekend as Jourdan and Stefani were planning on being in town.

Let’s preface this with the hardware review. I’ve got the Fuji XT-2 with the fairly new (to me) Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-80mm F4 R OIS WR mounted to the front. This pairing has really worked out well. It’s a great all purpose camera/lens combination. It’s a bit larger than with the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS mounted, but honestly it’s more than manageable. This is the second “outing” I’ve had with the combo and I’m still very pleased.

The XF16-80 is derided quite a bit by the measurebaters out there, particularly at DPReview, but honestly it’s perfectly fine to me. Yes, it’s perhaps not the sharpest thing in the world throughout it’s operational range, but I’d rather have a slightly non-sharp capture than no capture at all.

Truth be told, I don’t go into photography exhibits and look into the corners of the images to see how sharp the foliage is. There is/was a long discussion on Cameraderie about sharpness, or lack thereof recently. Most of the participants were solidly in agreement about sharpness not being critical to the making of a good photograph.

In any event, the happy day arrives and we get in the car and head down to Staunton, VA to catch the train.

Staunton, VA on a Sunday afternoon is a rather sleepy, quiet place. Nice little town, not looking like it’s has suffered the vagaries of our friend Mr. CV19 as a lot of small towns have. Not much going on, or open yet, so we meander around until we find the train station.

It’s a bit early so we’re the only ones there, so I took the opportunity to wander around a bit.

There aren’t a ton of photos, so I’ve included most of them all here. There were several that were pretty much the same so they were not posted. I’ve also rearranged things a bit as the chronological order was a bit “choppy”. Hopefully this flows a bit better from beginning to end.

Entering into the station, and heading toward my right (South?),

Walking back in the other direction,

Getting to the end of the station, nice little vignette.

Once through the station, the local architecture came into the scene. Quite attractive, maybe a bit on the rough side, but it certainly has the patina which is so appreciated nowadays.

While I’m walking about a train comes through the station. Alas, it’s not ours….

This placard was outside the station.

Our train arrives rather abruptly. So abruptly that I didn’t get to grab and photos. Doh…

We get on the train and get settled in our seats. Nicely done up in the style of the times. The train heads out.

The first order of business is the lunch presentation. We had pre-ordered so it was easy-peasy. Lunch was very nice.

We sat and looked out the windows for a bit, but truth be told, you can’t see a lot. The tracks have been here a long time, and the community has done a very effective job of screening the track view from the general public. The downside is, if you can’t see in, you can’t see out.

We got occasional glimpses of the Shenandoah Mountains, but definitely not for very long. Definitely not long enough to grab any photos.

So, once the desserts were complete, it was time to wander around.

I went all the way to the end of the train where I had clear view of the track we had just travelled.

The viewpoint gave the occasional view across the mountains.

We got to the end of the line, where the engine switched from front to back, and we headed back to Staunton.

According to Sergy and Brin, we had gotten to Goshen, VA:

On the way back we stopped at the Factory Antique Mall in Verona, VA. Wow. You could get lost in this place.

After stopping for dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant in Northern VA, Raaga Tandoor, we made our way back to the townhouse.

Thanks guys. It was a wonderful day out. Made even more wonderful by spending time with my favorite people.

Love you all.

It’s clear, that my hiatus in posting has definitely dulled my writing skills, meager as they are. Sorry about that. I’ll take that as motivation to post more frequently. It’s all about penguin management.

With any “luck”, next time, we will take a stroll through Luray Caverns.