06:25 hrs, departure Hamburg - Fuhlsbüttel airport
Yesterday, I checked us in via internet and so we didn´t need to join the waiting line at the check-in this morning. Just dropped off our checked baggage and off to security in no time.
There, the usual procedure: take off any metal from the body (including belt), show the notebook, and pass. This time, security didn´t want to test my camera but my computer instead. Ok, off to the extra booth and have it checked. Maybe some of the white stuff left over from the last session remained under the keys :-)).
The flight to Amsterdam (first layover) was plain boring: no near-crashes or something like that.
In Amsterdam, we had 6(!) hours layover to fill in. Why are these flights scheduled this early then???. Anyway, somehow the stomach started to make funny noises and so we went off to look for a decent breakfast. Don´t get me wrong: These "breakfast bars" are actually called "coffee shop" but you don´t get just coffee there; mainly aromatic herbs...
Well, try to find a breakfast bar at 9:00 AM that is already willing to earn some money. After three failures, we ended up in a side road and there we could finally read the word "breakfast" on the menu. Plus, it was open! So we entered and ordered. What we got was absolutely worth the money: a huge platter to fill the stomach. The coffee was just right for me but when Joern - my travel companion - took a sip you could see the curtain behind his eyes snapping up and somersault :-).
Being a smoker, I found it very comfortable to have an ashtray on the table. A nice cig after a decent meal is a must. Ironically, the waiter came up to me and told me that smoking cigarettes was not allowed in the restaurant. What!? Sitting at the next table was a couple sharing a waterpipe which emitted sweet smelling plumes. Ok, I got it... So I smoked my cigarette in the open. After the smell of the waterpipe was really getting on our nerves, we decided to go for a little walk. It is quite astonishing, how poeple can survive and even live in those houses which don´t seem to have one right angle. Some pictures taken during our stroll can be seen here:
The "New Gerrit" was one of our preferred motives (Insider)
Since we mainly wanted to take railroad pictures, a sidestep to the main station was a must.
In the Amsterdam central station we found this commuter train with a wheel arrangement of B + B + B.
Mounted high under the ceiling of the station hall, we spotted these information tiles. Now what do they want to tell us ?
This very interesting track connection was also found in Amsterdam´s central station:
By the time we got back to the airport, we couldn´t resist to take pictures in Schiphol airport station. Unfortunately, it was pretty dark in there and so the engineer compartment (located under the ceiling) of the so-called "Koploper" [Head-Runner] remains a dark secret...
The Dutch ICE presented itself in a somewhat better light while Joern was in a hurry to catch this engine of the Dutch 1700-series...
After this short intermezzo it was up to the airport. Security-check, the second. This time, we also had to take our shoes off . Then boarding... After that was accomplished, the lights went out for me. I worked through the night before and so I had to catch up some sleep. Somewhere over Scotland, I woke up: I smelled coffee... After sheer endless 9 boring hours, we touched down in Memphis, Tennessee. This time, we only had two and a half hours overlay and that was just enough time for the third security check. Since this was our arrival airport in the US, we had to pass immigration and grab our checked baggage - only to have it tested once again and and check it in to Charlotte,NC.
It is a rule that always soemthing goes wrong when you travel. This trip was no exemption: Our plane was 20 minutes late but we actually didn´t care any more. At least we knew we would arrive today... Luckily, the plane was an Airbus 319 and no narrow Boeing as it it is mainly used on inner-American flights. Finally, after two more hours: Charlotte, North Carolina.
Now grab the baggage, take over the rental car, and off to the motel. Made an appointment for next morning´s breakfast hour and off we were to sleep!
Charlotte to Aberdeen
Today, we actually started the tour. The Charger had just been maintained and ran smooth as silk and so we could roam the roads without any worries. If one doesn´t use highways, it takes about three hours to go to Aberdeen. Hmmm, I could have spared all the work with route planning - Joern had his new toy with him - a cellphone with built-in GPS-navigation. Works pretty well. The weather was fine, too. At 35 centigrade, it was (and still is) quite cosy. Pretty good that the car is equipped with an aircondition...
A short distance after Wingate on US-74 Joern´s "track sensor" jumped into action: To the left he saw tracks with a string of cars (waggons) and behind that there was movement. Now, if something is moving behind parked cars, it can only be an engine on a spur. So I used the chance for a U-turn and put the pedal down (you don´t want to miss something). On the right I saw a small dirt road leading to a (private) grade crossing. Oh well, we are private... Joern took his camera and I snatched the video-cam. What happened then was somewhat discouraging:
the engines uncoupled and left the beautiful (and long) hopper train standing where it was (grmpf). Then the engines ran around the train and passed us at normal track speed.
No, I didn´t drink... The video cam is pretty small and lightweight, and I had to get accustomed to this little jewel. Moreover, it seems that the focus has difficulties to follow the zoom fast enough...
After having driven a little further down the road, I spotted a "Dollar Tree". That´s a shop where everything costs one dollar. This was an excellent source for filling up our provions. Then we drove on to Aberdeen on US-1. Just shortly before the town limit (7 miles), I booked our rooms at the Greenleafe Inn.
The motel in itself is quite nice. No noise, large, clean rooms, and a very nice manager. If only he hadn´t forgotten to supply a chair for the desk so one could work at it...
The red toy in the foreground was our vehicle, a Dodge Charger, although incomplete: it was missing 2 cylinders. The rental car company gave us a 6-cylinder, 2.7 Liter version instead of the ordered 8-cylinder version. After all, a decent engine starts at 8 cylinders ( I like gas guzzling but only in America)
Right after having checked in, we were off to Aberdeen to present ourselves to the management of the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad. The manager in the office first was a bit surprised but when I pointed him to my email sent in early August (which had never been replied to), he immediately became very friendly and replied to our question for a photo permit:" Well, we don´t have any trains running today but sure, you can go anywhere you want and snap away." Well, we took him by the word :-)). To start with, we wandered around the office building and the station building in Aberdeen and then wanted to follow the track a bit in the direction of Fayetteville.
Here too, I could rely on Joern´s track sensor. He spotted the entrance to the shops. Spotting and turning right were one move since we also saw two beautiful diesel engines sitting in front of the shops. Of course, the area was fenced in... but we had permission to go wherever we wanted. So we parked the car, snatched our cams and waived a friendly ":Hello" to the men working on the engines.
Obviously, these gentleman were glad to be interupted as they waived back and invited us in and in no time we were all tied up in having a nice little blarney over the differences between American and German diesels in particular and railroads in general. Of course, we did not forget to point our cameras at about every motive that looked worth to be captured. After about an hour or so the sewat poured down our necks and clothes and so we decided to seek shelter in our airconditioned car to follow the line further down. Not without the promise to return in the afternoon, though.
The GP7 and GP18 of the Rockfish & Aberdeen are definetely the crown jewels of this company. Both engines have been purchsed new from EMD way back in the 50´s and are in daily service since then. The logo-design also appelas to me...
During our stay at the engine facility, the shop guys told us that CSX virtually "wrapped" a freight train around the deopt shown a bit further up.
A freight train blasted through Aberdeen at about 70 mph. Unfortunately, the turnout (switch) was blocked by a stone or something else and wasn´t properly lined up. The first engine just made it over the turnout - the second one didn´t. The cars of the trains then were spread all around the station building... Luckily, no one was hurt in this incident, even the engineer escaped in time.
Also located at Aberdeen is the Aberdeen, Carolina & Western Railway. We didn´t see much more than two nice engines (GP40-2), though. If you are curious about the cabs of these engines : They are Canadian built and therefore have a safety-cab.
After some miles´ drive, Joern´s navi-system told us that the track would diverge too far from the road and so we called it a day. On the way back, we bought a sixpack for the guys at the Aberdeen engine shops and went back to them. Just as we arrived, on of the engines was about to go into the shed. So: out of the car, cams up, and: shoooot! After that, I gave Curtis (the foreman) the sixpack. The result - apart froma loud "Hey, this man knows what we need!" - was a guided tour through the shops. Great, just what we needed! Then Joern became big eyes when he saw the tools these guys work with. They all originate way back from the early 1900´s and still work flawlessly. Of course, we were also allowed to climb the locos and closely inspected them. A German engineer would certainly embrace the space in the cab but definitely not the missing aircondition ...
At around 6 PM we went downtown Aberdeen. Somehow, we completely forgot that humans have to eat from time to time... After that, we were totally exhausted (mainly by the heat) and drove back to the motel. A bit of work (sorting the pictures of this day) and ready them for the web and that´s it for this day. Next morning, I woke up with the notebook by my side, running TV, and in a lit-up room...
It´s only a 45 minute drive from Aberdeen to Sanford and so we took it easy this morning and left at around 11 AM. The adress was found without any problems, and yes, there still is an old SW-1200 RS!
Close to the SW-1200, a hopper was parked. In Germany, we have a saying when we want to indicate that a room is not tidied up: "This looks like underneath Hempel´s couch!". Well, this car was certainly in a mint condition and in no way comparable to such a room...
Close to the historic depot,a steamer is perched on a piece of track. However, the state of this old Consolidation is that bad that I only "wasted" only one picture on it.
Parked on the main line was a short hopper consist, headed by a GP-10. Being the "weathering guy" at the Miniatur-Wunderland in Hamburg, this train instantly caught my eye as it had a few heavily weathered cars in it.
From the paint scheme, I first assumed that the engine in it´s former life served the Baltimore & and Ohio Railroad but I was wrong: This engine was built as DRGW 5943 (GP9) in July 1956 and rebuilt by ICG as GP10 #8323 in January 1977.
Isn´t this car a feast for any weathering fan :-) ?
Graffities are also one of my preferred weathering motives as they add a bit of "life" to the car!
We followed the right of way further down and passed a modern transloading facility for sand and aggregate. Unfortunately, the property was fenced in and so we had to use the tele-lense.
So this was the Atlantic Western Railroad in Sanford. On we went to Taylorsville where the Alexander Railroad is located. Rumor had it that a GE-44 tonner should be parked there. The trip was interrupted by a short lunch in a shopping mall before we took on the last 80 miles of the route. After a short but heavy rain shower, I could revert to the meanwhile common 60 mph.
According to Google maps, we had to pass Winston-Salem and leave the I-40 to make a turn into NC-1610. Well, we spotted a NC-16 and a NC-90 but definitely no NC-1610... After going on for another 5 miles we decided to make a U-turn and ask Joern´s navi. Ok, there´s the sign for Taylorsville and, hooray, the navi told me to make a left turn which I duly did. When we finally reached the end of the line, we had to state that nobody was at home. A neighbor told me that she sees a few guys humming around the building every day but she doesn´t have a clue what these men are doing there :-))
Hmmmm, looking at the trackwork showed that, judging by the rusty surface, obviously no train has rolled over the tracks for many days... So back into the car and follow the line. Just behind the town limits we saw a wide open space... with tracks neatly placed on it.
Better yet, a single (and very old) bulkhead flatcar was basking in the sun. After having documented the car and the surrounding scenery (and there´s a lot of it around here) very thoroughly, we followed the tracks further down.
So far, we didn´t see anything that resembles a locomotive. Self-propelled equipment showed up instead. In a relatively short siding, we found this two-way truck and of course had to ban it on our memory cards!
There was also some other MOW equipment that cried to be photographed:
A bit further down the road, we also had a change as far as rolling stock is concerned. We were already a bit bored by the hoppers we got to see.... and here we saw a highboard gondola sitting on a spur. It was accessible and the end hatch was open. The crane at the car´s end had the sole purpose of holding the hatch open so the straw in the car could be easily unloaded.
Pepped up with new energy, we continued our way. I had to concentrate on the traffic now (there were two other vehicles on the road) when I was disturbed by a loud "Uhhh-ohhhh" from my right side. Finally, a loco! And a nice one,too!! To our disgrace, it was fenced in (maybe the owners didn´t want it to escape) and so some fotos from an unusual angle were created (I shot from underneath the fence) in order to avoid the darn fence being in the picture.
We followed the line to Statesville (approx. 30 miles from Taylorsville) and finally ended up on a bridge crossing the tracks. From here, we were able to shoot some "model railroad" turnouts. Hey guys, stop telling me that the real world doesn´t use small turnout radii!
Today, we took a trip to the Smoky Mountains. After a hearty breakfast buffet at Shoney´s we took off. US-64 is very beautiful from a scenic point of view (if you have the time to admire it). In order to save some time, we took the interstate (after all, we had 145 miles to cover). However, driving on the interstate is like driving on the German Autobahn : dead boring. After an hour or so we had to turn off the interstate and found ourselves on state roads again. I had a blast driving over these curvy and partly quite steep roads! The Smoky Mountains can be compared to the German Alps, only here it is definitely warmer and the vegeation is thicker. After a few "fun brakes" left the road, I was able to chase the Charger and have a bit fun driving again.
Bryson City is located in the Cherokee River Valley and mainly lives from tourism. Nonetheless, a nice little town, especially as the Smoky Mountains Railway is located here. This is purely a tourist line with GP7s and GP9s as motive power. They also own a Consolidation but this engine is out of order and will not be back in service before two years. Bummer! Since we were already there, we bought a ticket for the last ride of this day known as the "Lone Ranger Tour". During that trip, two bandits staged a hold-up but the Lone Ranger naturally saved the world...
Another surprise were the moderate motel rates for a tourism - town and so we booked a room for two nights. Tomorrow we will chase the train going through Nantahala Gorge. Hopefully, we will find some backroads that take us parallel to the tracks. Google maps doesn´t show much here but Google isn´t nessessarily always right (we learned that already).
First, however, we had a look at the museum attached to the GSMR - station. Following are a few pictures ...
The displays showcase mainly models made by Lionel (O-gauge and 1-gauge), from the very early to contemporary models.
A couple of layouts are also displayed in the museum. Apart from two smaller ones - I´d like to describe them as functional layouts - there is also a very neat O-gauge layout.
But now: back to fresh air - even though it is a lot warmer out there. Our train for the "Lone Ranger" tour has been readied and is waiting for us. And of course, this tour has to be documented :-).
All right: It´s train chasing for today! After breakfast we want to follow the Natahala Gorge train and take some nice pictures. A few video clips should alse be feasable. The gas tank is still half full, the navi system is prepared, only our stomachs need some grub. We took care of the latter in the station area and were ready half an hour before the train left. Well, you don´t need much time for an omelett and a cup of coffee...
After we stated that we had to make a right some 500 yards behind us, we made another U-turn to take US-19. Just behind Bryson City city limits, we found a dirt road leading into a park. Great! Enough space to park the car and find a suitable photo spot. Convienently enough, the train passes the river on a more than 100-year old bridge. This guarantees for nice pictures...
A shady space for the car was quickly found. Hmmm, alcohol and fire arms are not permitted here but shooting works also without them :-))
Nantahala Gorge train
The train has to negotiate a grade before it enters the bridge. I was hoping for a small smoke plume...
Back into the car after the bridge scene and then the Charger could show it´s capabilities. Speed limit? What´s that? After a short spell on US-19 we had to leave it again since Joern discovered a small side road featuring a grade crossing on his navi. right turn, left turn, park the car and wait for things to come was one.
Not only the railroad was at stake, Mother Nature also had some to show off:
A couple of miles further down US-19, the next announcement: "Make a right at the next chance." Heard it, did it. In a 90° right turn, an old trestle was basking in the sun and in front of it was enough space to park the car. Joern took care of the right side while I stayed at the left, camera and video cam ready.
The caboose had just passed by and we were back into the car, cutting a few curves. To my surprise, one or two serpentines forced me to cut down to 20 mph. But an automatic transmission can also be handled like a manual one... After 9 miles of curvy roads we had to state thet the track and the road diverged too much and once again, we had to turn around and go back. On US-19 again, we went to the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Directions were quite simple: stay on US-74 and make a sharp right at the entrance. We just made it. Somehow, we must have been a bit faster than the average because it took another 15 minutes before the train´s arrival. Only, it didn´t stop (as we were told). This guy went right through the station! Which initiated an alarm-start on our side...
From now on, the right of way parallels the road, only on the other bank of the river. Complicating the situation (from a photographer´s point of view ) was the fact that the area is heavily forested and there are only a few spaces where you can stop and park the car safely. Statement from my right side: "In about 600 yards is a side road to the right; take it." Pity, the car doesn´t have a classic handbrake: Those 600 yards suddenly were very short. Well, if I can´t drift, I have to brake. Turn the wheel to the right for 270° and put the pedal down again. Now, we found ourselves on a dirt road leading to a gravel facility. Since that was private property we decided to stay on the dirt road and wait for our train here:
After having "played" with sideroads for another three or four times, we found a wide open area directly at US-74. So we perched up here and waited for the train. We heard it well enough... only we didn´t see it coming up. Suddenly Joern, who was on lookout, told me that the train wasn´t a train any more but only locos. Darn it! So we headed back to the outdoor center and waited there. This time, the train stopped and we had a nice blarney with the conductor (Thanks Toni!). After all, he had to kill an hour overlay here. Inbetween, we heard the comments from the riders who of course saw us following the trains. Some of them were quite funny and we had a blast relaxing at the center. After that, it was back to Bryson for a decent cup of coffee. The rest of the day was declared as siesta and used to sort out the pictures.
From the mountains, we returned to flat land via Charlotte and went to Hamlet (no, doesn't have any connection with Shakespeare).
But first we wanted to visit the engine shops of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which are located somewhere in Dillsboro. After some searching and a couple of dead ends, we finally found this "holy grale of spare parts" and duly introduced ourselves. To get the permission for taking photos, I just needed to sign a waiver which basically says :"You are allowed to kill yourself, but are liable to clean up the mess afterwards." Well, if that is all...
After these short formalities, we were unleashed and roamed about the facility, snapping away. Poor 1702 ( a steamer I mentioned before)!!! Basically, all that remains on the track is the frame with wheels, the boiler, and the tender. Apart from the tender, the engine is in a very desolate state. The guys in the depot have a goal though: in about two years(!!), they want 1702 back working the tracks of the GSMR, most probably with the help of a grant from the state of North Carolina. I wish them every bit of luck in the world to achieve this because they are a really nice bunch.
Who says that only model railroads showcase steep turnout angles??? The prototype can do this as well (or did the real world copy the model in this case?)
Some spare parts for #1702 were also to be seen, some stored on the ground, others on the tracks. There were a couple of engine frames and two boilers from other Consolidations.
This is the original boiler of 1702 seen from the front...
This nice caboose of the Southern Railway is also tucked away in the Dillsboro facility.
I couldn´t find out, however, what this old jail bus is doing here. Maybe the hobby of the employer???
Just short of the wheel storage...
... we found the tender of #1702 in a relatively good state.
This is the remainder of former Illinois Southern U-30 #1901.
This engine facility is not a large one. You can´t get lost here. For us railroad fans, however, it is a treasure chest full of materials from all railroad eras. Very interesting!!!
A friend from the Trainnet-Forum wrote me that there is a huge CSX-yard in Hamlet. It is there, only CSX is not at all cooperative. All over the place you see signs like "No Trespassing! CSX Property". But what can you do if you want to ask for a photo permit with nobody at the gate and the office in the middle of the "forbidden land"? So we drove right in and asked somebody where the main office would be. Well, the guy there told us we have to call the public relation manager in Jacksonville, Florida, drive down, pick up the permit and come back. Didn't he know that there are fax machines and email available??? Anyway, I tried the PR department a couple of years ago and was turned down. Suddenly, the guy said, we could go to "Tower B" located at the west end of the yard and ask there. So we did ... and were turned down again. On our way out, I saw a yellow pickup following us and behind the wheel sat the yardmaster from Tower B! Just when I wanted to make a turn onto the highway paralleling the CSX-yard, we were stopped by another pickup and out jumped : CSX-police! He then explained that we entered private property and wouldn´t discuss about the "no information" habit of CSX. OK, so he took our names, adresses and what. I just wondered why he didn´t want our DNA. Guess, I am on the black list of CSX now. Well, I can live with that. With this experience in mind, we decided to move on and passed the grade crossing at the east end of Hamlet yard when we saw an engine coupled to a yard slug. A slug is basically a cabless booster for the engine coupled to it. Well, this time, we were on public ground and nobdy could tell us off. Of course, the only tree in the area stood right in front of the engine and so we moved a few yards further to have a better view. And what a view we had: just when we crossed the grade, a train with 93 cars sneaked out of the yard onto the mainline.
The Amtrak station in Hamlet is a very interesting structure. It is tugged into one angle of the tracks crossing here at right angle. The station building has been restored to it´s historic state and looks really nice. Train traffic, on the other hand, is denitely low here. We spent two hours with no train in sight and when we looked at the time table, we didn´t wonder anymore: Just two daily Amtrak stop here - at 09:21 AM the train from New York to Miami and at 11:21 AM the one from Miami back to NY. Apart from the building, this location is off my list.
Today we went on to Rocky Mount. When I fly into the States via a northern airport, I normally spend the night here before I go on to Florida. The check-in at the motel was quickly done and after an hour´s rest we went down to the tracks. The station building always remeinds me of early prussian constructions in northern Germany.
Parked at the station building is an old business car of the former Atlantic Coast line. The restoration to it´s historical state is well done although we could only peek through the windows.
According to Joern´s navi system, there was a wye a bit further down the road. Well, one leg of the wye had obviously been removed a long time ago becasue we could not find any evidence for it´s presence. Didn´t matter as we saw the trackwork behind the wye. Just two turns and a short walk through a small park, and we stood right at the tracks, overlooking a yard area and the mainline down to Rocky Mount station. Suddenly it seemed that we heard the sound of closing crossing gates and we saw a train waiting at the depot - for roughly half an hour. The gates opened and nothing else happened for another half hour while we were eaten by moscitos. But what don´t you endure for a good shot... Then the gates closed again and approaching was a freight headed by a C44-8. This guy was kind enough to change tracks and thundered by in about 18 feet distance with a load of steel in tow.
After the steel train passed, the other train at the depot still didn´t move. So we decided to take a chance and move closer to it before the moscitos had eaten us completely. That worked "just in time". The cameras were just in position as it started to roll: 50 cars full of ballast or gravel were headed by a C-44 duo.
After that, we found a nice place with no trees and free sight to the yard on the opposite side of the tracks. There, I caught this SD-7. We'll come back tomorrow morning as it seems that this line is highly frequented.
Well, today we went down to Morehead City and wanted to take pictures at the port railway. Of course, the area was fenced-in and upon my question for photo permission, the officer at the gate declined with a friendly but official "No Sir, that´s not possible." Ok, that was the second "Forget about it" on my list.
The Aberdeen & Rockfish were a lot friendlier anyway and so we decided to follow their line from Fayetteville back to Aberdeen. On the way, this freight also found it´s way onto our memory cards...
Today, we travelled along the line of the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railway from Fayetteville to it´s end in Aberdeen. A very scenic drive and - during weekdays - very interesting for railfans when trains are running.
All pictures in Fayettevill were taken from a platform of the AMTRAK station:
When we passed a small village, we saw some maintenance-of-way (MOW) equipment standing in a siding.
Back in Aberdeen, a CSX freight was idling in the siding.
After having listened to the idling engine for about two hours (and nothing else happening), things got boring and we decided to carry on to Charlotte. We were on the way for barely 10 minutes when we saw a train approaching from Hamlet yard. Consequence: U-turn and put the pedal down. There, we spent another half hour without any action until I had the idea of looking down the line. I could see the train all right but it didn´t move. This went on for another one and a half hour and we slowly felt like being played a joke on us when all of a sudden a diesel plume showed up behind the parked train. Well, it was about time!
After this relatively short train had passed, we were visited by two employees of the Aberdeen, Carolina & Western Railroad in their two-way vehicle:
Then we passed Hamlet yard again on our way to Charlotte. On Hwy 74, we were able to catch another long freight with an interesting concrete load.. Joern, my travel companion, told me that the gates were down at a crossing to our right while I was in the center lane of the highway. Luckily, nobody was behind us and so the sharp right turn was no problem at all. The car was just parked when the train hammered by.
To tell the truth: we never ever were out of the car this fast during our complete tour :-).
It is our last day in North Carolina and we are back in Charlotte. Since we had a few hours to spend until our departure, we looked around for - guess what - railroad action here. And we found it!
A glimpse at Google Earth showed us that there is a yard more or less "down the road". North Tryon Road led us directly to the Amtrak depot where Matheson / E 30th Street turns off to the right and leads over the tracks. This is a great photo spot! Slight drawback: Nothing to lean the video-cam on. Another lesson learned: take the tripod with me next time!!!
When we arrived, Norfolk Southern was working the yard and the local passenger traffic also didn´t let us down.
It is barely visible, but there is a hump here... Ok, the engine had to give a little push but it works!
A bit further down North Tryon Raod is a grade crossing with ample space to park the car.
And here we saw the first and only container freight during our tour. Pay attention to the jerk who appears in about the middle of the clip...
Well guys, that´s it for our trip to North Carolina. My conclusion: A lot of fun, some (minor) drawbacks and a lot of railroading.
I definitely had a blast and hope that I could initiate some interest for the next NC-tour...
Take care and always keep in mind: Railroading is fun!