Friday, April 24, 2015

"Friendly Fridays... Road Trip!"

"Road Trip!"... The term has many connotations depending upon your age, interests and level of sobriety. Whether it be a childhood visit to grandparents in Maryland, a caravan to Ft. Lauderdale for spring break or a family's regular weekend treks to soccer tournaments, my experiences have all been memorable. 

But can there be anything quite like the road trip embarked upon by a group of middle-aged railroad modelers yearning for the taste of crazy-go-nuts, inter-state freedom? What's better than visits to inspiring layouts and rail-fanning at iconic sites with like-minded buddies?... and doing so while nourished with wholesome food and drink in admirable moderation?

Nine very accomplished modelers, plus me, took that challenge a little more than a year ago during an extended weekend through upstate New York and New England. It was a veritable collection of, 'Who's Who!... and Who?'

Most of the group had arrived by the first stop at Wayne Sittner's (front center). The youngster wearing the cap wasn't sure whether he should pose with such an esteemed group so he stayed on the end to provide photo-cropping options. (Jerry Dziedzic photo)

The long narrow layout of Wayne Sittner is highlighted by his own painted backdrop that blends seamlessly with the 3-D portion of his Lehigh & Susquehanna RR. It made GMR 2014.

A Rutland subdivision fills Andy Clermont's 23' x 39' basement and is built near eye level for extremely realistic railfan viewing. It was detailed in Great Model Railroads 2010.

Kip Grant was featured in  Great Model Railroads 2011 . His 13' x 19'  D&H branch line is highly detailed and features wonderfully weathered structures and very realistic scenery.

Randy Laframboise is faithfully reproducing the Rutland RR on his multi-deck layout including this coal industry which we visited prior to seeing the spot-on modeled version.

The Allagash Railway of Mike Confalone has already reached revered status for exquisite realism and unique representation of the 'fifth season.' It's even better in person.

Jim Dufour's Boston & Maine rolls through countryside as the summer sky and verdant foliage provide a beautiful backdrop for his painstakingly reproduced Cheshire Branch.

It was the trip of a lifetime... four layouts that have been in Great Model Railroads and two more that will be. We got to spend time with the talented creators and share in an awful lot of laughs with the group of merry travelers. For the record, the nine 'Who's Who!' included Jim Dalberg, Jerry Dziedzic, Henry Freeman, Jim Koerner, Tony Koester, David Olesen, Ted Pamperin, John Rogers and Jim Schweitzer.

We'll take a closer look individually at each of these layouts in the coming months. But if you'd like to learn more about a couple of these sooner, Wayne Sittner and Jim Dufour are scheduled clinicians next month at the New England/Northeast RPM in Collinsville, CT, May 29-30th.

But for now, we'll get back to the Old Main Line in our next installment. We may even see the first of several 'final' track plans very shortly! But first, see you Sunday with some kitbashing.

What was the author's response to his wife when she asked, "What'd you eat all weekend?"
A) "Nothing... We didn't have time to stop."
B) "Very little... Portions are really small up there."
C) "Mostly salad... All the guys did."
D) "I'm sorry... Could you repeat the question?" 

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