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This short run from Trenton to Hershey might be one of the last for me for a while. Jameson will have his car, and we've got a few road trips planned once the circus heads west :)

The weather started out pleasant, but got stormy later in the day.




(photo of flooded tracks courtesy Rob L.)

On top of that we were delayed due to a railroad defect detector not responding like it was supposed to. In the words of Eryn, a circus teacher: "The Circus Trainmaster has a radio on the same channel as the train engineer. Every once in a while, you will hear an automated voice on the radio say, 'CXS (or NS or BNSF), TRAIN DEFECT DETECTOR.' This is an automated system that inspects the train as we pass over it for safety hazards such as dragging equipment or hot wheels (such as if a brake is stuck). Most of the time, after the train has passed, the detector will announce, 'NO DEFECTS.'"

Apparently, one of the detectors that we passed over didn't respond at all. Because of that, railroad crew had to manually inspect for safety issues by walking the entire length of the train. It cost us a lot of time, but Safety Absolutely First.

We arrived in Hershey around 8pm. The animal walkers (self included) had been waiting in Pie Car for the radio call to get off the train. The train would not be spotting in Hershey; we were just going to do the walk, unload the flats, and from there take the coaches to Harrisburg where they'll be parked for the week.



We heard the announcement for animal crew/walkers to get off the train on the high end (the end of the train with the higher numbers) on the righthand side. We did that and walked the rest of the way to the animal cars. It was quickly getting dark thanks to the late hour and the weather, but I got a few pictures. Despite our lateness there was a decent crowd lining the street to see the elephants.


Baby was the first elephant off the train.


The other four elephants, the horses, and the donkey followed. We walked the short distance to the arena as darkness fell and another storm loomed on the horizon. Once the animals and their handlers were safely inside, we walkers were taken back to the train. Cindy (teacher) and I found ourselves walking in the same direction. As we entered the generator car, I mentioned that I was going to take some pictures. She asked if I'd ever seen the generators themselves. I said no. Cindy promptly found Charlie, one of our awesome and experienced train crew members, and asked him to take me to see the generators!!! Wow!!!

Here are the short videos that I took of the generator car. I've read some factoids about this amazing piece of machinery, but have never gotten to see it in person. The generators were made by Cummins Power Generation. CLICK HERE to read about their specs and see some nice photos of the generators.

In the first video, Charlie shows me the control panels for the two generators and explains what is being shown on the display. I never knew that Pie Car had its own independent power switch!!



In the second video, Charlie shows me the generator itself and the workroom adjacent. VERY cool!


After the "tour", I went back to my room to chill while the train was spotted.
The next day was pretty laid-back. I did laundry and prepared some food for the week, and took a little walk downtown for a haircut. Lords & Ladies Salon. If you need a haircut in Harrisburg, this is a high quality cut for a very reasonable price. When Jameson arrived at the train he took me grocery shopping.

Opening day was nice. During our cast meeting we were informed that some idiots among us had tried to climb UNDER a train in this yard, and so for the rest of the week we won't be allowed to leave the yard on foot. Thanks for ruining it for the rest of us, jerks!! After rehearsal we all scooted over to Hershey Park (specifically Chocolate World) for dinner in the food court, and to stock up on chocolate! There were 5lb Hershey bars and 1/2lb Reese's Cups! But I wanted an assortment, so that's what I got :D



Back at the building I made sure I was ready to go, because I had two groups of friends visiting and wanted to be available to say hi. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) the show was almost sold out, and it took so long for everyone to get into the building that I didn't get a chance to say hi in person. Sherrie brought some friends and their kids, and it seems like they had a great time!

(photo courtesy Sherrie)

Thursday was a wonderful one show day a/k/a I got to sleep in! Around lunchtime I borrowed Jameson's car and grabbed Rebecca (Head of Wardrobe) and we drove to Broad Street Market for some PA Dutch treats! I had a handmade chicken spinach pretzel roll from this stand.


A selection of sliced meats including Lebanon bologna, photo courtesy Eryn.


I picked up a homemade whoopie pie, some apple butter from a well-known orchard in Amish country, raw buckwheat honey, Lebanon bologna to share with people, scrapple for Jameson, and real farm eggs for myself. My little taste of home <3


The Thursday show went well.

On Friday I met my friend Michelle at the arena and we drove to Troegs Brewing Co., a brewery with a recently added "snack bar" featuring some really unique flavor combinations. She had the brisket on brioche with mustard slaw, and I chose the lamb burger on curried naan bread with fig chuntney, honey goat cheese, lambs lettuce, and carrot harissa. It was fantastic.


It's been several years since Michelle and I were able to catch up. She was my boss when I worked at Knoebels waaay back in 2005. Now she works near Hershey. I was glad we were able to make time to hang out :)
Friday's show went well, nothing to report.

On Saturday my parents and their friends came to the middle show. After they toured the Animal Open House, I showed them around backstage a bit. They met Taba the tiger trainer, and saw Laura in Wardrobe repairing the Ringmaster's jacket. As we were heading back out to the arena floor, Adria (handler) asked if we wanted a picture with the elephants, who had just come offstage. Of course we said yes!!


I'm very thankful to my circus family for accommodiating my "real" family :D I am blessed to work with such amazing, generous folks! Everyone had a great time!

The BMX ramp broke during the last show on Saturday, so unfortunately that audience missed out on that act. Very sorry...safety first :/ Otherwise, a typical Saturday!


Since we had a show on Monday, Sunday was a Slick Sunday! I wanted to get the treats so ordered a party tray from the Hershey Bake Shoppe. Sweeeet.


I had several groups of friends attending the first show. I found the largest group and brought them backstage for a brief tour. I think they had fun :) After the show I met my friends Sarah and Scott on the concourse for a quick catch-up. They brought me a goodie bag! Only true friends will bring you TastyKakes ;) It was great to see them and I'm hoping we can meet up for a bit while I'm home.


We still have another show tomorrow, but I think I'll include that in the next post since this one's gotten kinda long. My aunt will be coming to the show, and then giving me a lift back home where I'll spend several days with family before heading out west to Omaha, NE.


Other stuff:

Photos from the Elephant Brunch at the Giant Center in Hershey (CLICK HERE to view).
Photos from the Elephant Walk from the train to the Giant Center. I'm in the second photo. Thank you Greg M. for the link. (CLICK HERE to view).

We had free admission to Hershey Park while we were here. Everyone had a blast!


(photo courtesy Jose)


(photo courtesy Walter, clown)


(photo courtesy Chelsea)


(photo courtesy David Shipman)


(photo courtesy Zhang)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
May. 29th, 2015 09:30 pm (UTC)
Generator Oil
My family enjoyed the show at Hershey. You get to work with some incredibly talented people! The generator video is rather interesting. I'm surprised they run very well after having the tanks refilled with oil instead of diesel fuel last week.
taz_39
May. 29th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Generator Oil
Glad you enjoyed the show!

Last week, I'm sure it was a gas truck and the company was an oil company, or somesuch. I'm sure the generators were filled with the proper fluid :p and I'm sorry to be so ignorant that I didn't know whether that was oil or diesel. Saw a truck with the word "oil" on it, called it oil!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )