Thursday, September 9, 2010

Trains and Alligators

So the conference in Orlando wrapped up last week and we headed up the coast to St. Augustine Beach for a week of vacation. We took some back roads, found a manatee watching spot on a sand road between the ocean and the inter-coastal waters - no manatee though. Found out you can't just drive through Cape Canaveral, but eventually made it to the condo. Spent a week with our toes in the sand and face to the wind & sun. Then yesterday headed up through South Georgia in search of trains and thus found ourselves at The Folkston Funnel.
That's where all the trains headed into the state of Florida come down to just two tracks and folks come from near and far to watch them pass. You think I'm joking - we stopped by to sit on the specially made platform alongside the tracks which is outfitted with wireless and a train radio so those on the platform can hear all the communication between the trains coming and the dispatchers. We met a gentleman on his way to a Florida vacation from Scranton, Pa. It was noon and he'd been there since early morning. He was headed off to find some lunch when another young man sitting there told us it was going to be a busy lunch hour. His computer program told him we had trains coming from both directions. "Looks like we're going to get a meet," he foretold. A "meet" is when trains meet and you get to see both at one time - but you'd figured that out, hadn't you?
Well, that let out going to get lunch. We took lots of pictures and met some nice folks. We eventually did make it to the McDonalds drive-thru and then ate our cheeseburgers back out at the track. Mike still hasn't quit grinning.
Folkston, Ga is also the "Gateway to the Okefenokee Swamp" and you can tell they have a hard time in their museum choosing trains or alligators for their tee shirts, videos, and logos.
Trains and Alligators all in one little Georgia town. Ain't this a great country?


Jfer said...

I have a very vivid memory of Folkston from when I was very young. We were driving from Waycross to Jax one time and we stopped at a Gulf gas station (remember those?). We went inside, presumably to pay, and my daddy got to talking to a man that worked there. The next thing I remember is the man opening a deep freezer and pulling out all sorts of frozen animals, most of which were snakes. I can only presume that he did taxidermy on the side and kept his "prizes" there. I just remember being terribly freaked out and frightened and never wanted to go to Folkston ever again.

Kay Dew Shostak said...

Oh my, Jennifer - funny how folks be proud of what they do! Thanks for sharing your Folkston memory!