We also visited Dr. Jack Fisher in Nashville – after we made a stop at the Nashville train store. Dr. Jack has a large layout in the basement that runs through a couple of rooms, breaking the layout into isolated scenes.
Dr. Jack also has a modest garden railroad, but the falling leaves were covering much of the layout.
It was time for me to thank Larry and his wife Sue Ann and move on. I left Clarksville, headed for Memphis and a visit to Graceland. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend at Graceland, but I was too close to pass up the opportunity.
After leaving Graceland, I headed for Mountain Home AR to visit Alan and LaKeeta Arnold. That was a hard piece of two-lane highway driving since I was in a hurry to get there at a reasonable hour. I was in for several surprises when I arrived.
Alan’s house is a converted A-frame church. They added a loft for a bedroom, but they still had a large open area at one end of the A-frame. Alan added on a large extension that houses a media room, his train layout and a garage. When Alan took me into the layout room, I suddenly realized that Alan was the skyscraper guy!! He has some beautiful high-rise buildings on his layout. His room has an extra-high ceiling to make tall buildings possible. (Alan has an architecture background.)
And that was just the start. We went next door to Alan’s neighbor who runs an 0 scale 2-rail layout. The layout is around the wall with a peninsula.
We had dinner at a local steak eatery, where we were joined by Charlene & Craig Chesbro. I wouldn’t get to see their train layouts until the following day.
When we got back to Alan’s house, I found that my bedroom in the loft also had a train layout. This was a compact military layout featuring all kinds of Lionel rocket launchers and other weapons.
The next morning we drove over to the Chesbro’s house. Charlene has an On3 layout that she is building in the garage.
During the summer months they also run a garden railroad that has extensive landscaping. Most of the buildings were already stowed away for the winter, but there were still a few things to see.
That was the end of the train layouts. I high-tailed it from Arkansas to Amarillo for a night’s sleep, then on to Albuquerque for lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant, then overnight at Flagstaff.
I visited the Lowell Observatory in the morning. This had special significance for me. The planet Pluto was discovered at the Lowell Observatory by Clyde Tombaugh. When I was in Cub Scouts in Las Cruces, one night we went over to a guys back yard to look through his telescope at the planets. It was a fairly big telescope. Turns out the “guy” was Clyde Tombaugh! We didn’t realize the significance at the time, but now that I think back on that rare opportunity I cherish the moment. The Lowell Observatory visit was like a pilgrimage to honor Clyde. After the Observatory I hopped into my trusty Malibu and headed for a dinner date with a lady friend of Larry Levin in Phoenix. We had a pleasant evening, and then I decided to drive the 400 miles to home that night. I got in very late, but I was glad to be home.
The photos here are just a mere sampling of the hundreds of photos from the trip. I wish I could include more, but space just doesn’t allow.
I want to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to this wonderful trip. The hospitality was outstanding and the sharing of trains was unconditional. I made a lot of new friends. I am blessed to be able to embark on such an adventure. Thank you, one and all. I do intend to go back to see Dr. Jack’s new passenger terminal peninsula and Johnny Dawson’s scenery. Also, Larry promises me that we will go to Cincinnati and other exciting places…..
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