Sunday, July 18, 2010

Railroad Art

Among my many interests, the combination of railroads, locomotives/trains and railroad stations are one of my priority categories. They represent both the history of the USA and the future of transportation. Time and our infrastructure investments will tell if we can and will adapt to changing conditions and needs...actually learning to utilize the rails for passenger travel once again.

Robert Thomson is my brother and he's also an artist who has captured the beauty and power represented by the railroads. Two of his paintings are attached... The first is of Union Station in Kansas City MO and the second is of an old Diesel Streamlined passenger train moving on down the line.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Italian from Queens!

Well, the other night we took another couple to Willie's, a small, very casual Italian restaurant we'd visited once before for lunch. During the first visit, we had the Cheese Ravioli and the Chicken Florentine...and we almost licked our plates clean. The goal this time was to confirm that the food was as good as we thought it was on the first try...and we wanted to see if others would confirm our impressions.

The food was as good as we up to our expectations. (The best Italian Food we've had since relocating from Chicago) The couple that was with us had Eggplant Parmesan and Lobster Ravioli. We had Fettuccini Alfredo and Penne Pasta with Meatsauce and Meatballs. The meals also came with a chilled house salad and Garlic Bread Knots. We had nice crisy chicken wings with Honey Mustard Dip for an appetizer. The food was great...fresh, homemade sauces and meatballs...and more food than anyone should eat!

Service was very friendly...if a bit quicker than we would have liked. For those who would care, Willie's doesn't serve alcohol. Then there was the cost/value consideration. The total cost for all 4 meals, the appetizer and 1 ice tea with tax came to $48.00! Quality food at a great price!

Willie's isn't exactly a name one would expect for an Italian Restaurant...but the owner/chef's full name is William, he's a big guy and he's from Queens NY. He can call his restaurant whatever he wants! Willie's is almost hidden in a small but relatively new strip center at 11612 Chapman Highway (US Hwy 441) just south of the intersection with US Hwy 411. Phone: 865-773-0170.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day Tripping...

As we explore the countryside, we have found that the 'little' things along the road provide the most interesting and often, the most satisfying experiences.
Recently, we discovered the Menonite farmer's market off of US 411 near Delano TN. Great produce, bread, watermelon, pickled beets and other items! Great quality at very reasonable prices... There was no electricity of course and cautionary signs request modest dress for women. This market is a busy place and earlier in the day is better if you want the best selection. They are open for business until 5 pm, Monday - Saturday in season.
Moving north along US block west of the highway in Etowah, we found the Farmhouse Family Restaurant at 1201 Ohio Avenue. This is a southern meat & 2 or meat & 3 style restaurant with specials every day. In addition they offer a general menu every day except Sunday...when they have several set special meat & 2 or 3 offerings to chose from. We had the roast chicken & stuffing + 3 sides. This is good basic down home cooking at one heck of a price! Currently, it's $5.95 for a meat & 2 and only $6.95 for a meat & 3! Almost everything is homemade including the desserts offered every day. The service is really down home friendly! We'll be back to check out other daily specials and dessert but we'll have to order the Meat & 2 this time in order to have room for dessert!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Railroad Station - Dunedin New Zealand

These photos were taken in 2000. This is the railroad station in Dunedin on the south Island of New Zealand. The station is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Note the spectacular ticket windows and the tile mosaic floor medallion.

Some aircraft photos from a June 2010 visit to the Tennessee Museum of Aviation in Sevierville. Planes shown are an airworthy Douglas A1-H Skyraider, an airworthy P-47D Thunderbolt, a Mig-21, a replica P-51D Mustang and the Red Bull Catalina PBY. Several vintage aircraft from this museum are flown periodically in various airshows around the country. Check out this museum at

Best BLT Ever!

Below is a photo of our lunch a couple of days ago... This BLT was about as good as a BLT can be... Heirloom tomato, Romaine lettuce, Mayo, toasted English Muffin bread from VG's Bakery in Farragut the most critical ingredient of all...Benton's Smoked Bacon from Madisonville TN. (

Sunday, July 4, 2010

First Entry...Train Photo & Postcard from 1989

This is my first Blog attempt... I started with an old photo and postcard from a family trip we took to the Northwest USA and British Columbia back in 1984. This is The Royal Hudson steam locomotive and train. The photo was taken at a rail crossing near Vancouver. My son, David, was only 15 at the time... The power emanating from the locomotive as it blew by us was very impressive.

This locomotive was a semi-streamlined 4-6-4 Hudson owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and built by Montreal Locomotive Works. In 1939, King George VI allowed the CPR to use the term 'Royal' after Royal Hudson number 2850 transported the royal train across Canada with no need of replacement. These locomotives were in service between 1937 and 1960.