August 4, 2012

Pennsylvania Triangle 2012, Day 6: Homebound Trains

Friday, July 13, 2012: In the morning, I left the hotel behind knowing that I would be back in New York by evening. I was kind of relieved to be home bound because I noticed that my car was starting to make a strange noise and the last thing that I wanted was to have car problems in another state. I would later find out that it was a bent rear axle shaft and that the car wasn't in any immediate jeopardy of breaking down, though I will write more about that in another post.

Anyway, I still had two stops to make before heading home, so I first set my sights on the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg. The main display room (called Rolling Stock Hall) is set up as a series of 4 platforms with a cat walk running the length of the ceiling above to give an aerial view. On the platform is an array of restored locomotives, passenger cars, and freight cars, many of which visitors are able to climb aboard to sit at the controls. As I browsed these glistening machines, the feeling was so magical that I felt as though I had ambled into King's Cross Station in London where I was waiting for the Hogwart's Express. The museum also features an outdoor train yard that holds various pieces of railroad equipment that are awaiting restoration. The beauty of these old trains is astounding; I hope my photographs will capture a little bit of the scope:

A little bit closer to home, I made one last stop at the Staten Island Botanical Gardens. For the most part, the grounds are unremarkable. I have been to many botanical gardens and nature preserves and most have far surpassed this one, though I had heard really good things about the Ming-era Chinese Scholar's Garden, so I set my sights on that. At the entrance of the Chinese Garden, I was asked to pay an admission, which I handed over gladly. Then, I stepped through a gate and on to a bamboo path that led to a lotus pond and pavilion. It was a peaceful setting, however, the serenity was quickly shattered as I was approached by two men (one of them a Botanical Garden employee) who told me that the Chinese Garden was being rented for the day and that I had to leave right away. When I explained that I had paid to enter, they didn't care in the least. I went back to the admissions desk where the young man told me that he was aware of the party going on, but that I should go back into the garden anyway. I had no intention of ending a fantastic road trip by having a deliberate altercation with two men in a Chinese Garden, so I told him that I was not interested in returning to the spot. He called for a supervisor (who never showed up) and no refund was given. After being given the run-around for a while longer, I walked away feeling pretty cheated. I hope you enjoy the few images that I was able to take, though I would not recommend actually going to the Staten Island Botanical Gardens to anyone. Some nice scenery, really bad administration.

In conclusion, the Pennsylvania Triangle 2012 as a whole was a fantastic trip. I always enjoy my visits to the Keystone State. With a motto like "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence," how could a place be anything but wonderful! Love & light...

"See what great love
the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him."

~1 John 3:1