Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to SEPTEMBER. My header photo this month shows a Sunset over the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, taken from our balcony at Skyland Resort in August, 2020. Have a great month ahead.

Friday, August 12, 2022

An 80th Birthday to Remember

Dear Blog Friends,   On August 5, 1942,  a daughter was born in the small town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  After having two sons,  her Mom and Dad were  excited to see this little girl in their lives. Little did they know what a crazy, silly girl they would raise. This silly girl is now EIGHTY years young (as of Friday, August 5) and still as crazy and silly as ever!!!! She has had and is still having a wonderful life.

SO--about 6-8 months ago,  my sweetie (George) asked me what I wanted to do on my 80th Birthday.   Without hesitation I said that I wanted to go to West Virginia and ride the little train back to the top of the mountain.  Now you might scratch your head and ask what is so special about riding a train!!!???

WELL--those memories go WAY back to my childhood.  My Dad worked for the Interstate Railroad in Andover, VA almost all of his adult life.  Big Stone Gap is in the far southwestern part of Virginia,  and is in a coal mining area.  And every chance I got, I'd beg Daddy to take me to work with him so that I could see (and ride on) the little steam engines as they worked in the 'train yard' nearby the offices where Dad worked.  I absolutely loved every second of it.  

SO--when we first visited Cass Scenic Railroad in West Virginia (2011),   I fell in love with every single aspect of riding that little train....Hearing that 'whistle' sends chills up my spine... Hearing the Chug Chug Chug sounds as that little engine worked hard to "PUSH" us up  up  up the mountain...     AWESOME!!!  

Here's a Story in Pictures telling about my 80th Birthday this year.  Hope you enjoy it!  (Wonder what I'll choose to do on my 90th???????)

This was our steam engine that took us up that mountain. They stop twice on the 4 hour excursion to take on water... Interesting to watch!!



This was our train.  George and I were in the back car (far right in the picture) --so that we can see as the train pushes us up the mountain.


Here is my Sweetheart --who brought me on this wonderful trip.  The young man in the red shirt is the Brakeman.  He worked hard --and we enjoyed watching him work to make sure the brakes were in good condition.  



Do you think this old 80 year old woman is HAPPY to be on the train?????



Here is the entire train... We love the open air cars.  I don't think George nor I sat down much at all during the 4 hour trip!!!!  I was just too excited!!!



Here is a zoomed in picture of that engine --as it worked hard pushing us up up up that mountain.  Loved hearing the whistle and hearing the Chug Chug Chug!!!!



Guess what it is doing????????  RAINING!!!!   First time it has rained on our 3 visits to Cass Railroad!!  But we didn't let rain dampen our spirits..



The views got more and more beautiful as we kept getting higher in elevation.  I snapped this picture 'between' the rain storms...



You know how much I love SPRUCE trees.  WELL--West Virginia has Red Spruces in the higher elevations.  So beautiful.



Rain or Shine,   I was leaning out taking pictures and videos.  I love the videos since I can hear the whistle and the Chug Chug Chug!!!!!   ( I think I photo-bombed George's photo here. ha)




It was still raining when we got to Bald Knob (4400 feet in elevation)...  BUT--I was determined to sit outside and eat our lunch!!!!!  They gave us lunches and water when we got on the train (included in the cost).   Lunch was good:  turkey, ham and cheese sandwiches,  chips,  pasta salad,  applesauce, and cookies.  (The red jackets helped --but we still got VERY wet... ha)


After getting back on the train,  we headed back down the mountain.  I loved seeing the interesting skies and views on our trip back to the station.

 

We are back at the station---and our sweet little train is leaving the station.  It was a fabulous experience and my 80th Birthday couldn't have been better...  Thank You Honey for taking me there.



Age 80 plus 1 day,  this old woman is still smiling and talking about the wonderful Train Ride.  I will say though that I was nice and dry that next morning!!!! (And neither of us caught a cold from being out in the rain while on the train ride!!!!!!)  Yeah! 

Well, my Friends... That is IT in a nutshell....I hope my entire 80th year is as good as that special day (August 5, 2022) was!!!!!!   It was a GLORIOUS day in every respect --but I couldn't have done it without the Love of My Live beside me!!!!

If you want information about the Cass Scenic Railroad,  here is a LINK: Cass Railroad

Have a fabulous August!!!!!!  We have had tons and tons of rain lately with high humidity and temperatures.  BUT---today  (writing this on August 12) ---we finally had a Cold Front come through, and our weather is wonderful (mild, sunny and much less humidity).... LOVE IT.

Reach out today to someone you haven't heard from in awhile --just to say HI...

Hugs,

Betsy💝💛💚💕