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UPDATE: A new tag has been added called "animals". Clicking on this tag will take you to all entries that have photos, information, or facts about the circus animals. Thanks for reading!

Since the train would not be arriving in Huntsville until Monday night, we decided to stay in Nashville for an evening.

On Monday afternoon we hit Whiskey Kitchen for lunch. This is our third time visiting...it's pretty clear that it's our favorite Nashville restaurant! We always get the fried calamari because it's amazing. Someday if I can tear myself away from that tender squid and flavorful seasoning, I'll try the other appetizers! For the meal Jameson tried the fish and chips and said it was delicious. I had the fried green tomato BLT with brie, bacon, spinach, and hot dijon mustard on sourdough. It was delicious!!

We also had drinks because why not. It's 5:00 somewhere, right? I had a "moonshine mule" and Jameson had something called the "farewell Broadway" that had apple brandy, vanilla syrup, bitters, and cream.

After our great meal we bid farewell to Nashville and hit the road. The drive to Huntsville was only a few hours long. We were concerned as the train hadn't left on time and was running several hours behind. We decided to hit a mall and do some Christmas shopping. Jameson got most of his done while I just shopped for ideas. To kill more time we went to see a movie (Office Christmas Party). After that we went for a late sushi dinner and decided to get another hotel. The train was supposed to be in Chattanooga by 1:30pm and it was now 8pm. Sometimes it happens. There have been times when the train was right in front of us and we still ended up in a hotel! Circus life.

The next morning we were surprised to find that the train was still not in the yard, so got a late checkout and went to find food. We then killed time at Walmart until Tim (sax) and Jerome (bass) let us know the train was finally spotted. We got to the yard just as power was hooked up. There are fond memories of this yard and this city. We had one of the best elephant walks I've ever been on here last year. I'm very sad that we can't bring that level of excitement to Huntsville any more. But I'm happy to have experienced such a wonderful moment here.

I spent the rest of the day unpacking, repacking for the trip home, Christmas shopping online, and paying bills.

We opened on Wednesday. Rehearsal went extra-long again as we integrate new people and elements into the show. And although she's been here for a month, it's now official, we are joined by our new Ringmaster, Kristen Michelle Wilson! She is the first female Ringmaster Ringling has ever(?) had, but besides that she's a great vocalist and has a wonderful personality. We're looking forward to working with her! CLICK HERE to see an awesome video of Kristen performing.

The show that evening went well, although this arena is quite cold so the space heaters came out again.

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This is the first long train run we've had in a while. The weather was awesome, starting out cold as we left NJ but gradually getting warmer and warmer as we headed south. I didn't get many pictures on the first day, but on the second I woke early and saw the blue light of dawn outside, and decided to play with the GoPro.

We have passed this peninsula several times in the past three years, and every time I try to get a picture the trees are in the way. Fed up with trying to get a good shot, I kept a blurry picture :P

I didn't get many good shots with the GoPro...still not used to it. After breakfast I came back out armed with my usual phone camera. We went under this thing, whatever it is:

There was lots of construction on the track next to us. The machinery was cool to watch.

We passed some Norfolk Southern camp cars, and this gent was waving enthusiastically from the "kitchen".

The weather was nice for the whole run, and we saw many trainspotters, but these guys were the most handsome. My camera thought so ;)

An unintentionally artsy-fartsy shot of some bridge pillars.

The train taking a mountain curve.

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After our night's stay in a gorgeous hotel, Jameson and I went out to explore Savannah GA!

First stop, brunch at Funky Brunch. This place looks like a breakfast-y Mellow Mushroom.

(photo courtesy scaddistrict.com)

A unique feature of this restaurant is the tables, some of which have built-in griddles so you can cook your own pancakes! The kitchen mixes your batter and includes any fruits/toppings you'd like, and you assemble everything yourself. Neato!

We didn't get pancakes, but enjoyed some mildly alcoholic treats along with our breakfasts.

After that we wandered.
Savannah is a very pretty riverfront city, so just walking and enjoying the scenery was a big part of our day.


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We had a nice train run getting to Birmingham (at least I thought so).
Good driver. I was able to get some sleep :)
During the run I stood on the vestibule and enjoyed the scenery, watched the movie Gandhi, cooked some food for later in the week, and cleaned up my band book/made it legible for anyone who ever needs to sub for me.

'Pig Pen', the guy who built my bookshelf, is transferring to the Blue Unit today.
I got to spend some time with him at the Pie Car on this, his final Red Unit train run.
He's getting a promotion and a bigger room...I hope he enjoys his new job!
He gave me a bottle of maple syrup from his hometown.


Here in Alabama, the Blue and Red units were together in the same yard for two whole hours!
This is an extremely rare occurrence...Blue and Red units tour in different parts of the country, so the closest we ever usually get is several cities apart. Even then we'd both have shows.
In this case, both units were in transit (we had just been spotted), so the Blue train was able to stop for a few hours to visit with us on their way to Nashville.

People waving from the vestibules as the train passed.
There was lots of cheering and shouting as the Blue Unit pulled in.

Red and Blue trains, side by side. (panorama)

Another photo of the trains side by side.

After the Blue came to a stop, we mingled between the trains.
Even though many of us didn't know each other, it felt like a family gathering.

It was super cool :)

I got to meet most of the Blue band, and some clowns and crew too.
Unfortunately our unit was loading in so most people were at the building :/
Still, many of us got to reconnect or meet new friends, and that was really nice.

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It's been a nice week. The show is popular here.

Local CBS Pie Car PR
(for whatever reason this one wouldn't embed. Click to follow the link :/ )


And now, on to Greenville SC!


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March 2017



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