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...




Sandee said...

What a fun birthday you shared with your hubby. I love your smile.

♪♫Happy Birthday to you,♪♫
♪♫Happy Birthday to you,♪♫
♪♫Happy Birthday Dear Betsy,♪♫
♪♫Happy Birthday to you.♪♫

Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

Ruth Hiebert said...

Oh Betsy! I wish I could afford to travel wherever I wanted, that train ride would be on my list, perhaps even with my friends George and Betsy. Thanks for sharing your time there and allowing me to live it through you.

William Kendall said...

A good way to mark your birthday.

The Furry Gnome said...

Happy BIRTHDAY BETSY!! What a wonderful way to spend your 8oth!

Big Dude said...

Happy belated birthday Betsy and it looks like you found a great way to spend it and relive some childhood memories. I've been wanting to revisit Cass for 53 years but haven't made it yet.

Lynda said...

Happy Birthday to you once more!
You told a wonderful story in crystal-clear photos of your wonderful daytime trip! You and George have done a lot of happy living together for sure. Those bigger number birthdays sneak up faster and faster, don't they?

George said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your birthday weekend as much as I did. Now we need to start thinking about your next birthday. Do you think we can to this?

David said...

Betsy, Happy belated birthday. I beat you to 80 by a couple of weeks...so you're just a youngster... I love trains so those photos are right there in my locomotive cab! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Ann said...

Happy belated birthday. Sounds like you had a wonderful celebration.

Linda G. said...

This train ride made for the perfect birthday for you!

Marcia said...

A belated happy birthday, Betsy. Never did get to the Cass Railroad when we lived closer to WV. We did take one in Western MD once during the fall and that was fun.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello Betsy
What a wonderful post, lovely photographs.
You certainly had a great 80th birthday.
Many happy belated birthday wishes.

All the best Jan

diane b said...

Hi and hugs. Glad that you had a happy birthday. It looked like loads of fun except for the rain. You've caught up to me now and belong to the elite eighties.Keep on having fun. you look great for 80.

Dee said...

Dear Betsy, what a wonderful way to celebrate your 80th! You really had a "happy, happy birthday!" Like you, I love trains--my grandpa O'Mara (Mom's dad) was a conductor all his adult life and traveled from Kansas City to Seattle back and forth th through the years.

Up in Wisconsin, I went on a local train that took us from a refurbished depot on track that followed the St. Croix River. Loved the experience.

And I watch a weekly program on PBS about train travel in the United States--trains like the one you took. So i interesting to watch and to see the scenery of the Southwest and Eastern coast and all over our beautiful country. Happy birthday again! Peace, Dee Ready

Chris said...

What a lovely 80th birthday you had, the photos were stunning. Its my 80th in December, so this has given me ideas for mine, altho thee are no mountain train trips near where we live, I'm sure I'll think of something similar.