Posted in Cycling, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Family, Fire, Gifts, Grandparenthood, Gratitude, Life, Little Peanut, Little Wookie, Maryland, Nature, Pennsylvania, Photography, Play, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Summer, Travel, Water, Woods

Bicycles and trolleys

A Saturday ride with the kids.

Around the world–even in some of the countries most troubled by poverty or civil war or pollution–many thoughtful people are making a deep, concerted search for a way to live in harmony with each other and the earth. Their efforts, which rarely reach the headlines, are among the most important events occurring today. Sometimes these people call themselves peace workers, at other times environmentalists, but most of the time they work in humble anonymity. They are simply quiet people changing the world by changing themselves.

~ Eknath Easwaran, Your Life is Your Message: Finding Harmony With Yourself, Others, and the Earth

People say that modern life has grown so complicated, so busy, so crowded that we have to hurry even to survive. We need not accept that idea. It is quite possible to live in the midst of a highly developed technological society and keep an easy, relaxed pace while doing a lot of hard work. We have a choice.

~ Eknath Easwaran, Passage Meditation: Bringing the Deep Wisdom of the Heart into Daily Life

Looking down (from a bridge).

The morning of our first full day in the Raystown Lake area, we took our bicycles to a rail-to-trail and explored a little of the region.  Wookie and Peanut had posh accommodations in a trailer attached to their mother’s bike.  The rest of us had to pedal on our own.  I think Little Wookie was a little disappointed.  He had his own bike, complete with training wheels, with him on the trip to Pennsylvania, but it was thought he wouldn’t get far if he’d been allowed to ride on his own.  He did get to ride on the road by the cabins eventually, and it’s true.  He didn’t last long.  Ten to fifteen minutes, tops.  Which, now that I think about it, isn’t bad when you consider the attention span of a three-year-old.

Wildflowers along the side of the trail.

I could tell you about the weather (it was warm for the mountains) and the ride (it was lovely), or about how the trail is also a road that we occasionally shared with vehicles with people on their way to fishing or hunting camps along the river.  There were plenty of wildflowers in bloom, but the photo above is the best I can do because I didn’t bring the big camera with me.  Just my phone.

Meadow, river, and trees.

I could tell you about the trail itself.  It is the Broad Top Rail Trail.  They reused an abandoned railroad right-of-way and railroad bridge (I posted a photo of the bridge in this post), and the entire trail is 10.6 miles.  The railroad that used to be there was the H&BT (the Huntingdon & Broad Top), chartered in 1852 for the purpose of transporting coal from Broad Top Mountain.  Coal mining on Broad Top peaked during World War I.  New forms of energy came along and by the end of World War II, coal mining was finished in that area.  H&BT eventually went out of business completely sometime in the 1950’s.

The trees were lush.

I found the bit about coal mining interesting given the promises of the current occupant of the White House.  He’s been making claims that coal has made a comeback under his watch but like most of what he says, it’s mostly lies.  It was actually at a new low two years after the man took office.

Bridge over the Juniata River. This bridge is part of a rail-to-trail, where we rode our bicycles on our second day of vacation.

Because it was the part the boys liked the most, I’m reposting (just above) the photo of the bridge.  After releasing them from the confines of the trailer (and it IS confining with all the straps and buckles plus the bike helmets they had to wear), they had a grand time running around on the bridge, looking down at the river, and just being free of the trailer.

It is a pretty cool bridge.

Orbisonia Station and cars from the East Broad Top Railroad

You can’t travel with boys (especially grown-up boys) and not go look at trains or ride a trolley.  That is how we spent our Sunday morning, at the Rockhill Trolley Museum whose claim to fame is that they are Pennsylvania’s first operating trolley museum.  Next door to the trolley museum is the East Broad Top Railroad, a complete and original railway (including original locomotives and cars), which is no longer operating although there is a group trying to get it back into operation.  There is an interesting story about it.

Sitting and waiting.

The East Broad Top (EBT) Railroad is a steam-powered, narrow gauge railway.  It was closed in 1954 and then purchased by the Kovalchick Salvage Corporation in 1956.  Oddly, the company did not scrap and salvage the railway.  It sat for about four years until the twin towns of Orbisonia and Rockhill celebrated their bicentennial.  They asked if the Kovalchicks would put one of the trains out for display during the celebration.  Nick Kovalchick went above and beyond by fixing four miles of the track and two of the locomotives, and ran train rides for several months that summer.  The Kovalchicks continued to run train rides every summer until 2011.  A group called the East Broad Top Preservation Association (EBTPA) had been working on acquiring the entire 33 miles of original track in order to run it as a heritage railroad, and another group, Friends of the East Broad Top (FEBT) are also working to preserve and restore the railway.  As far as I can tell in my research efforts, the EBTPA no longer has any association with the EBT Railroad.  A skeleton crew of paid staff and volunteers from the FEBT are currently maintaining the railroad.  I hope they get it up and running someday.  I do enjoy a good train ride.

Good advice, under most circumstances.

We arrived at the Rockhill Trolley Museum for the first trolley ride of the day about 15 minutes early.  Because we were early, and because I needed to use the loo, I got to do something the others did not.

The trolley awaits our arrival and boarding.

As I was walking towards the restrooms that are located in one of the museum buildings, one of the trolley conductors approached me and began telling me about the museum, the trolleys, and the East Broad Top Railroad.  Maybe I impressed him by knowing that the East Broad Top Railroad was a narrow gauge railroad.  Maybe I had the look of a journalist with the camera around my neck.  Or maybe it was my good looks (ha!).

A caboose. The Wookie calls just about every caboose “Katie Caboose” after a story by Bill Peet that we’ve read to him a couple dozen times (because he really likes the book).

Whatever the case, when I came out of the restroom, the conductor asked if I’d like a quick tour of the place, including a look at car 315, a Chicago interurban streetcar built in 1909 and used to transport passengers to the western suburbs of Chicago until 1957.

Looking back. (You can see the trolley in the distance.)

Of course I said yes.  There were no worries about the trolley leaving without me since I was with one of the conductors.  I do wish we’d had time to get the rest of the group.  M the Elder and Little Wookie would have really enjoyed the tour.

A look at the side of car 315 of the Aurora Elgin & Chicago Railroad, built by the Kuhlman Car Co. of Cleveland, Ohio.

Car 315 is a beautiful passenger car.  The wood is mahogany, the upper portion of the windows are stained glass.  The round window you see towards the back is where the restroom is located.

Another look at the streetcar, and a glimpse of area where they’re restoring it.

I’ve probably bored some of you enough by now so I’ll wrap this up.  We’ll board the trolley in my next post.  Maybe.  You never know what else might come up.  But don’t say you didn’t get fair warning.  I know not everyone is interested in trains and trolleys, and that a lot of you visit for the nature scenes.  Not to worry.  I’ll get back to that eventually.

Thank you for stopping by.  I think we might actually get to see the sunset tonight.  The clouds that have been hanging around appear to be moving out.  There’s still a chance for rain later so we’ll have to wait and see.  In any case, sunset is scheduled for 7:57 PM.  I think it was on Wednesday, maybe Tuesday, that we had our last sunset after 8:00 PM this year.  The days seem to grow shorter quickly (tomorrow’s daylight, for instance, will be 2 minutes and 9 seconds shorter than today’s).  Let’s go out to the Point for the show and perhaps for a swim.  It’s hot and humid again.  A swim will feel refreshing and good.

Be good, be kind, be love.  ♥♥♥

Pop & Mom, near sunset.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,126)  Friendly people.  1,127)  Unfriendly people.  They give us the contrast we need to appreciate the friendly people.  1,128)  Teachers who provoke good questions and whose answers provoke even more good questions.  1,129) in Philadelphia.  They are broadcasting Woodstock as it occurred 50 years ago.  It began yesterday at 5:07 PM with Richie Havens (who played a really good set!).  It will be going all weekend, with breaks where there were breaks.  It’s been really interesting to listen to them talk about it, too.  The original Woodstock garnered a lot of myths and legends, some of which aren’t true or didn’t happen.  (Richie Havens, for instance, said he played for three hours.  He didn’t.  But his Wikipedia page says he did.)  1,130)  Hummingbirds and dragonflies outside my window.  Which reminds me — I better go change the sugar water in the hummingbird feeder.

A piece of rainbow.


Robin is...

31 thoughts on “Bicycles and trolleys

  1. I do hope they get the train operating again. Not only for the history, but also for the experience of the rails that is fading or didn’t exist for some. Same with the Trolleys – so elegant and still useful perhaps.
    We do have choices. I like these lines “work in humble anonymity. They are simply quiet people changing the world by changing themselves.” No FB posts, No Twitter boasts. Just living and doing small things for the sake of doing small things. Would be nice for that to spread.
    Coal – a double edged sword. Used to make electricity even now. But if it is to roar back into use, it must be done carefully and cautiously to avoid problems of the past. Perhaps that is what is slowing the industry rebirth – it takes time to dig through all the regulations (keeping the good ones, untangling the harmful ones) and it takes time to build modern applications using technology and new understanding of environmental effects. New plants/facilities and updating old ones doesn’t happen over night – 2 years is nothing in plant construction – all the planning alone can take that long. Not to mention the permitting which means careful scrutiny – for good reason. We’ll see. Fingers crossed coal isn’t rushed back and its’ use is done with great caution. OR maybe a cleaner substitute can be maybe garbage and plastic…that would be my preference

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My preference is a cleaner substitute, too, PhilospherMouse. At this point, the most efficient and cleanest form of energy (in terms of air) is nuclear, but I can’t say I feel comfortable about that (for a lot of reasons, not least of which was being nearby when the incident at Three Mile Island occurred and the waste disposal issues). Even though we still use coal for energy, it’s been a dying industry for a while, before the current madman in the White House took office. Natural gas was killing it off.

      I love trains, and will take a train to travel when I can. Rather than driverless cars (which might help put the nail in the coffin of mass transportation and walking), I’d like to see the U.S. invest more in trains and trolleys. The conductor who gave me the tour said that trolleys and light rail are making a comeback in some cities that had gotten rid of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My eldest son was REALLY into trains when he was a tot and we went on many old-train rides, to train shows and of course, had a Brio set and Thomas pieces, which I still have in a chest. Fond memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My youngest liked trains, too, Eliza. We’ve been giving Little Wookie Brio trains and tracks and accessories as birthday and Christmas gifts. 🙂


  3. What an interesting and enjoyable time – I was especially delighted when I got to your reasons to be happy 🙂 And a real time replay of Woodstock – I wonder if that’s both intriguing and fascinating and fun or is it (horrors) dated, depressing and uninteresting ……….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Listening to Woodstock has been intriguing, fascinating, and fun, Pauline. I was 10 years old at the time it occurred and it somehow managed to have a big influence on my life (probably as a result of seeing the movie and buying the album when I was a teen). You might be able to listen in. Just go:

      I know they’ve been saying they have people listening from all over the world. I’ve really enjoyed the music. Tonight is a big night and I’m debating whether or not to try to stay up for it. The lineup includes the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, and The Who (who play at 5 AM my time).

      I’ve even been enjoying the announcements they make in between sets. People lost, people found, people sick and needing help or a ride. Announcements about the LSD and bad trips and how to help someone. During the times when there were rain delays or other breaks, the DJs on the radio station have been interviewing the man who helped put this anniversary special together and learning about some of the myths and misinformation. If you do manage to tune in, let me know. We can compare notes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Robin – what an amazing blast from the past – real time news and music! 🙂 I tuned in and got Aretha Franklin who I’m pretty sure wasn’t at Woodstock…. but I’ll keep trying . I’m out from 4.30 this evening (it’s close to 2.30 pm here currently) but it would be fun to catch something.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hope you caught something good, Pauline. Isn’t it fascinating that we can listen to the same broadcast? Maybe it shouldn’t be (given that we’ve been able to do that via radio and television), but I still marvel over stuff like that.


          1. Yes, I was quite impressed to be able to tune in too. Thank you for sending the link. I caught the first hour or so of the Grateful Dead’s set and was impressed at how contemporary all the chatter and the sound was. But after that life got busy and I never managed to tune back in again. Still it was so nice to know I could share in a little with your listening experience. The world is getting smaller in so many ways – this is one of the good ways we get to share.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s where I rode my first one, too, but maybe in the 70s. My son and I rode a couple of them when we went to Australia, too. And I think there was one in Boston but not sure if it was an actual trolley or a train. Huh. Long time ago!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the pics and the story. Takes me back to when my boys were younger and yes-you can have boys and not see trains, planes and automobiles on any trip :-). Or bugs, or mud, or any of a million other boy things :-). Happy times. And they will fly by before you know it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tara. 🙂 I would imagine you’ve been to Strasburg, then. I have not been to the train museum there even though we’ve passed by a couple of thousand times. My mother-in-law took our sons there when they were young so we didn’t get around to going. We did, however, sleep in one of the cabooses at the Red Caboose Motel. We’re planning to take the boys to the museum and stay at the motel when they get a little older.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That was interesting and fun! We went to the subway museum in NYC when we were there a couple of years ago. Sort of like this, it had cars from different time periods that you could walk in and sit down and imagine what it was like to ride.

    We have rails to trails here and you remind me I haven’t been on any of them this year. Or maybe last year either. In fact I don’t know if I got on my bike last year, though I’ve gone out a couple times this year. Maybe today! You inspire me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful post and photos–and lucky you to get a private tour. I’m imagining your conductor then disappearing because he was actually a ghost. 🙂
    I like that you listen to one of “my” stations, although I keep forgetting they’re playing Woodstock. I can’t listen to music when I’m working, but my husband kept telling me he heard this and that. I just checked and they’re playing Sha Na Na, which was probably my least favorite group. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 I wondered about the Sha Na Na choice given how different all the other music was, but they said that Jimi Hendrix was a fan and asked that they open for him. I missed some of my favorites because they were broadcast in the middle of the night (Janis Joplin, for instance). I did stay up to listen to The Band last night (which wasn’t all that late but I’m an early to bed, early to rise type of gal). I really enjoyed their set. I only recently discovered The Band (after watching The Last Waltz, a documentary about them, a couple of years ago). I’m always way behind in my discoveries. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had to grow up in Huntingdon. My grandparents had a home in McConnellstown, across from the quarry. One passes Bouquet Spring on the way to Raystown lake/dam. That was in the back yard.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 7 hate groups robin SEVEN and a sexually abusive cult fun times! (sarcasm) I can say, I think the nature kept me from death, and gave me my higher power idea, that I live with now. Filled with people like Epstein and Trump. Also part of the catholic abuse grand juries in PA. wow first time I am publicly owning this.


        1. I’m sorry, Elisa. I know you didn’t put that out there for that reason, but I am sorry. This world can be so messed up. I knew an Epstein/Trump, too. Perverted, sick, a predator, a Scientologist.


  8. What a wonderful post, Robin. My youngest was fascinated by trains (how convenient we lived next to the track) and was thrilled when we decided to take the boys on a train ride from downtown Montreal to the West Island. Didn’t take much to impress him back then 😉

    That 315 is a beautiful piece of art!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We used to live near train tracks too, Dale. They were right behind our backyard. Funny how we managed to get used to it. (I think my husband secretly misses living near train tracks. He grew up near some tracks, listening to the whistle and rumble.) I agree. It is a beautiful car. 🙂


Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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