The Portland Show has become what must be the largest
stationary engine show in the world, and as such, seemed the ideal meeting place for the members of the Stationary
Engine Mailing List. Over the past year, plans to make this the engine party of all engine parties developed. Aside
from the show, there were to be two other major events. Firstly, at a dinner attended by every ATIS member at the
show there was to be a presentation to Brice Adams, founder of the Engine List, and then the following night a
"World Beer Tasting" was organised, with List Members from around the world bringing samples of their
This is a very personal view of the show from the French family of England, and for us it was a huge adventure.
None of us had ever been to America, our sons, aged 8 and 11, had never flown or even been out of the country before.
Friends on the List gave us plenty of advice about unmissable sights and sent all the necessary maps and guides
(but even with my limited map reading ability, I still think the California map was somewhat superfluous) and we
set out on August 16th. Despite making an early morning start and having an eight hour flight, it was midday local
time when we arrived in New York - a good time to collect the hire vehicle and see the sights of the city,
the most important of which were the Statue of Liberty
and the view from the Empire State Building.
Eyes propped open with matchsticks, we finally returned to our motel to recharge the batteries for Day Two.
Day Two saw us heading across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania, aiming for the south of the state. We noticed that
this took us close to the home of a List Member, George Lauderback, who we knew would not be attending Portland,
so we tracked him down and paid him a surprise visit. At the Lauderback residence,
this is Jim, Vicki Griffin, Christian, Tom, George and his wife Peg and friend Clyde Griffin, posing in front of
George's Hercules. Clyde was on his way to the show at Kinzer, and led us there, taking the local roads and pointing
out the sites. Even though it was quite late when we arrived at the showgrounds, it was a hive of activity, and
we were introduced to many new people and shown some of the engines housed there.
Day Three started with breakfast at the Rough and Tumble showground, then we headed off to Strasburg, to indulge
Christian's passion for trains, with a visit to the ChooChoo Barn, home of a 1,700 foot square model railway, and
a ride on the Strasburg
steam train. The afternoon was spent taking
in some of the show at Kinzer,
and meeting a few List members - Rick Kramer and his father, Bill Lopoulos, Ted Brookover and Edd Payne. That night
was spent in Gettysburg.
Gettysburg was viewed on Day Four, from the an open-top bus, with a tour
and dramatized narration of the battle. Then it was north east to the Pocono mountains, where we hoped to find
an alpine slide, if not a little white water to raft on.
Cloud and drizzle greeted us on the start of Day Five, which disappointingly closed the alpine slide we'd found,
so it was further north again to New York state, where the next attraction on our agenda, Howe Caverns,
was 200 feet underground and could not be spoiled by the persistant rain! According to the guidebook which was
dictating our every move, Cooperstown was full of "original" and "picturesque" buildings. The
subject of baseball was glossed over in favour of historical information, but on arriving there we discovered the
town to be full of dedicated baseball enthusiasts. Luckily, we found a room in a delightful bed and breakfast,
full of antiques and all the "originality" we could have hoped for.
Still raining as we drove east towards the Finger Lakes on Day Six, but the weather was brightening all the time,
and we enjoyed the scenery - although some of it was not what we expected to find in Upstate New York!
The long summer drought had left many of the "spectacular" waterfalls either completely dry or with only
a trickle of water. However, we still enjoyed a late afternoon hike around the dramatic Watkins Glen,
before reaching Buffalo for the night.
Day Seven - Niagara. All the hype, pictures and personal accounts can't prepare you for the amazing sights and
sounds of around half
a million gallons of water per second going
over the Falls. Most of the day was spent marvelling at the view from the river,
side, under the Bridal Veil Falls
and the Canadian
side, and we finally headed away into Canada.
Expecting things to be similar to America, we soon realised our mistake when we found motels to be very scarce.
However, just as we were beginning to face a night in the van, we reached civilisation in the form of Tillsonburg,
complete with motels!
Day Eight brought us back to America via Port Huron, where we couldn't resist a swim in the lake
to add to the list of monumental events of the trip, and a leisurely drive down to Ann Arbor to recover our energies
for events to come!
Day Nine found us at the Greenfield Village
museum at Dearborn where we saw as much as possible in a very limited time, before heading south, for the big meeting