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Train runs. It's been almost four months since I've been able to enjoy one.
Although I miss my car, gotta admit...I've missed the train too.

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Two years ago, this was my first ever train run, from Anacostia to Charleston.
(CLICK HERE for pictures from that run)
The scenery is beautiful. The train creaks and snaps as it makes sharp turns in the mountains on tracks meant for shorter coal cars. There's no internet and no phone signal. How wonderful :)

For the first day of the run, I decided to do a "Day In The Life" post for the DITL community on livejournal. It's an hour-by-hour account of what your basic train run is like :) CLICK HERE to experience it!

On the second day I went out onto the vestibule after breakfast to capture some scenery.

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We went over a pretty awesome bridge!!
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Probably the coolest shot that I got was of this waterfall. Turns out I had taken a picture of the same waterfall two years ago (the older pic is better haha). Here are the two photos side by side.
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As we pulled into the yard, I felt a strange deja-vu upon seeing
the nearby anthracite refinery and the Wal-Mart.

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Two years ago I couldn't understand why everyone was so excited to have a Wal-Mart right next to the train. I remember the moment we were spotted circus people rushed over, filling shopping carts to the brim and overwhelming the employees at the registers. After two years on the road, I am one of those crazy people. I now completely understand the value of a Wal-Mart within walking distance. As soon as I could, I grabbed a cart and went nuts :D

I don't need many groceries for the week, or even for the next train run. But this is our last good chance to stock up on necessities for Mexico. I want to be prepared for two things:
1- The possibility of my fresh food being thrown out by customs at the border, and
2- Staying healthy in Mexico.

To prepare for #1, I am buying some canned and dried goods that customs should not have a problem with. I am also buying a cooler for...um...a secret sinister purpose. I'll cover that later.
For #2, I'm stocking up on purified water, Gatorade, chicken broth, saltines, probiotics, anti-diarrheals, rubbing alcohol, a thermometer, and other supplies that should help me if I get sick. Two years ago I spent a solid week unable to enjoy Mexico because I was cursed with Montezuma's Revenge. I may get sick again, but I'd like to at least shorten the duration.

All of my canned and bottled goods are being stored in the cubby nearest my window.



Shortly after we arrived there was an elephant walk from the Charleston Market (where the animal cars are parked) to the arena. The weather was lovely and there were no protestors. Many people came out to enjoy watching and photographing the elephants as they made their way to the arena. CLICK HERE to see a short video clip.

Before starting this walk, the elephants had their feet inspected for any cracks or injuries that might inhibit them. This inspection was done on a narrow road, and as the elephants turned to face the handlers I found myself less than a foot from Assan's massive head. Her trunk was exploring the ground around my shoes. That was probably the closest I've ever been to our elephants since first meeting Asia two years ago. All I could think was, "Please, Assan...don't spit on me..."

The next day there was a "pachyderm picnic" in the side street between the mall and the arena. Again the weather was lovely, and we had a wonderful crowd.

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Here's a video of the event from The Charleston Gazette.


We had split shows on both Thursday and Friday. I went to the mall with Rebecca and we enjoyed some retail therapy. I also visited Charleston Bread LLC for a loaf of fresh honey wheat.

This weekend I was on the receiving end of some fabulous gifts and cards: boxes of Pocky and other goodies from my sister Kayle, a gift card from my grandparents, and a postcard from my parents. I am blessed to have such a caring family!!


On top of that, Rebecca made me some new curtains, and Angela (backstage) gave me some cute earrings. Thank you ladies!!

Saturday was a typical three show day. During the second show the soundboard crashed, so although we had sound in the house it wasn't mixed at all. This means that the balance was completely off...sometimes you could hear nothing but the horns, other times it was just drums and key 2, and so on.
Yuck. It happens sometimes.
The weather was lovely, so I went outside during intermissions when I could.
The train was moved a bit while we were doing shows,
so that a set of new wheels could be put on one of the cars.

Sunday's shows went well, though the crowds were kind of unenthusiastic.
After the shows we joined Oscar and the rest of Clown Alley for "burger night" at a nearby Outback Steakhouse. We had a lot of fun :) Here is a picture of us, in which everyone is looking cute except me:

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(photo courtesy Oscar)

After we were finished, most of the group went to catch the bus at the arena. Oscar and Jameson followed me as I tried to find the train, which I insisted was nearby (it had been moved downtown for easier loading). We found out later that it was parked nearly two miles away. Well...at least we had a nice walk? Sorry guys :/ Eventually we caught the bus to the train.

Next we go to Albany, NY. It's a two day train run because we have to swing up through Ohio to get there. Happy trails!!

Other stuff:

An interview with Ryan Henning, our elephant trainer. CLICK HERE to read.

The Marvel Live white model!!



Someone got some decent footage of our train leaving DC.