Bicycling, Railfanning and No Kids: Date Night!

Saturday afternoon, Tim and I coaxed the babysitter over to our house and lulled her in to a false sense of security, then ran for the hills. The bluffs, actually. We took our bikes down to Prairie du Chien for a ride and a wander. I was under the mistaken understanding that Rendezvous was happening this weekend, and we were initially very confused when the Island was empty. (Turns out it’s at the end of the month.)

We parked at Wal-Mart and rode our bikes out along the path from there, over the new viaduct and around the bypass to peer at the new switching yard that’s being built down by the campground. They built this big silica sand loading station thing, and what looks like it’s going to be a 5-track switching yard that fills up the entire space between the bypass and the riverbank.

we rode to downtown and stopped at Mulligan’s for late lunch, where we both dramatically overestimated how hungry we actually were, and ordered way too much with no way to carry it home. Luckily, they were willing to stick our leftovers in the fridge until we came back for them.

then, we did a little bit of wandering around Blackhawk Avenue, and rode down to St. Feriole’s Island. While we were there, we found a couple of engines idling on the siding and Tim said, “Wanna go see the choo-choo? Since we can, and there’s no one screaming?” So we did! We spent probably 25 minutes checking out the engines and the track, speculating on what stuff was and examining the switch a few yards ahead of the engines.

I took a bunch of pictures, but very few of them turned out decently. I miss my good camera! I said so to Tim, and he said “Yeah, we got pretty spoiled, didn’t we.” We did! And ironically, I had only really started to learn to use it well a couple of months before it gave up the ghost.



This snapshot shot was actually sort of terrifying to obtain, because the engine was on and made unexpected hiss and screech and whoosh noises at random intervals. Every time it made a noise, I assumed it was about to leap in to motion and run me over. I didn’t stay close very long! But anyway, it was the BNSF 7536 and 4111 (which seriously needed a paint job) with 5 gravity hoppers. Looking at it, I was very much in modeler mode and took pictures of the cool graffiti on one and said to myself, “Wow, look at the weathering!” Ner, it’s actually weathered, silly.

DSCF3410My sister-in-law is a very talented amateur photographer well on her way to becoming a professional, and she likes to talk about “getting it right in the camera” as opposed to Photoshopping the heck out of something, later. I was trying to catch decent framing and the rule of thirds with this one, but it didn’t come out as nicely as I’d have liked. Once again, having the decent camera makes a big difference!


Anyway, we were riding around the island with no real purpose, when we suddenly decided, “We should go visit Matt & Rhonda!” They live about 4 blocks away, so we did. Rhonda ended up not being home, but we chatted with Matt about varous things for a couple of hours, and had a very good time not having to deal with children.

Eventually, we rode back out to Wal-Mart, picked up a few things there (like ya do), stopped through Culver’s for ice cream to negate any caloric benefit to our outing, and headed home. We got there around 9:45PM, and crashed!

It was a great day.

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