Part 7: Connecticut to Tennessee


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The Trip

We spent several days in Waterbury, CT to visit our friends Mike and Barb and had a great time.  We rolled west through Pennsylvania to visit Kathleen's brother Eddie in Milford, PA and then continued west to visit another of Kathleen' friends in Chambersburg, PA.  From Chambersburg, we decided to re-visit the Strasburg train museum.  From Strasburg, it was on to West Virginia and then Tennessee to visit our long-time unimog friends Bob and Kitty at their farm outside of Knoxville, TN.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

It took several days of travel to get from CT to Strasburg, PA but we arrived without incident.  Kathleen loves steam trains, so since we were in the area, a visit to Strasburg was a must.  We checked the tour schedules and arrived as the train was approaching the station.  Due to other schedule constraints, we elected to not take the tour but rather just eat lunch and take a few photos.  Above, the train approaches the station from the east.

The water tower is still functional and is used multiple times a day to fill the reservoir on the locomotive's tender car.  Despite being a weekday, there were plenty of tourists lined up to purchase tickets for the tour.

This locomotive is in great shape as can be seen by the glossy paint on the boiler.  This engine is a 4-8-0 model.

These engines are a marvel of mechanical engineering and were the pinnacle of technology when they were built.  In retrospect, it was surprising that they worked at all given the complexity and size.

Most of the linkages are used for the steam valve timing control to get the maximum efficiency out of the expanding steam.

As the engine rolled past, I got a brief view into the control compartment to see the mass of valves and dials that are needed to operate this beast.

The area around Strasburg is Amish and their farms are neat and tidy.  From Strasburg we traveled west to Chambersburg to visit one of Kathleen's ex-work buddies.

Our travel path took us onto a freeway where we encountered a large accident site in the oncoming lane.  There was plenty of equipment at the scene and traffic was backed up for miles.

When we got alongside the scene, we could see that the cargo of the truck had caught fire.  The contents had spilled out onto the freeway and the debris was fully blocking the travel lanes.  While we never got the official cause of the fire, I am guessing that one of the trailer wheel bearings overheated and ignited the cargo.  Alternately, a lithium battery in the cargo caught fire.  Whatever the cause, the disruption to traffic flow was absolute.  The traffic backup continued for many, many miles.

After a significant journey we arrived in Romney, WVa at the home of Kathleen's aunt Darleen.  Above, you can see the lovely view from the driveway to the house.

We were lucky enough to be able to park Thor in the driveway, making our visit easy for both us and our hostess.  Plus, Thor makes an outstanding driveway ornament.

We departed Romney and headed southwest and spent the night in a Forest Service campground.  During our normal setup routine, I discovered evidence of malicious tampering with our tire mount.  Someone had pulled the safety pins on the pivot pins and when I discovered it, the pin was more than half way out.  With some prying and hammering I was able to get the pin back in the track and secured with some tie wire.  In addition to the pivot pin safety being pulled, the "lock lock" pin was also disconnected and partially out.  If the pivot pin had fallen out, it would have been catastrophic and likely resulted in damage to both the tire mount and the truck.  Those mounted tires are huge and weigh on the order of 300 pounds.  Now, I check the status of all the pins after every stop where the truck is left unmanned.

We finally arrived at Bob and Kitty's farm outside of Greenback, TN and parked Thor near his shop.  Bob has plenty of toys including this Unimog 406-based crane that was recently used to remove an engine from a friend's vehicle.

An addition to "normal" farm equipment, Bob has a number of LMTV trucks that are similar to Thor.  Purchased via government auctions, these are reasonably sound vehicles, but almost all have some significant issue (otherwise they would not be for sale).  Bob purchased four of these trucks, called M-1078s, and this one was used as a parts donor.

This LMTV is the daily driver and is used for farm chores.  The trucks axles have been modified to bypass the reduction gears in the hub thus giving the vehicle a much higher road speed at the cost of low speed pulling ability.

This LMTV retained its reduction gears in the hubs and was outfitted with his Alaskan camper.  This camper was previously installed on his Unimog 1300L.

Bob's daughter Colleen also has an LMTV, this one has a radio box.

These LMTVs are solid vehicles and when fully repaired can provide a good platform for back-country camping.

We went to the Greenback diner for breakfast and Colleen got a pancake.  One of these will do ya!

We left Greenback and headed west on the interstate and passed this setup at a freeway rest stop.  Oddly, the driver of the tow vehicle was interested in Thor and we were interested in his boat.  This boat is used for racing and has 6-450 horsepower outboard engines and carries 1500 gallons of fuel!

A side view of this very expensive, special purpose boat.  I had to chuckle at the thought of the speakers over the operator's compartment.  There is NO CHANCE that music could be heard over the sound of those 6 engines when running.

We spent the night at a KOA on the east side of Nashville in anticipation of a speed run to our next visit.  Our next destination is southern Illinois to see our friends Mark and Gail.

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