We were in the right place at the right time yesterday.
Erika, Christian, Finley and I took an afternoon off from work (and play) around the house and farm and went out to lunch and to do a little antiquing. While we were leaving the antique store the sales person mentioned that "the 611" was coming through Culpeper in a few minutes. Feeling a little dumb, I asked her what a "611" was. Well it turns out to be something quite wonderful and we got to see it!
We could have waited for it in Culpeper, but it was going to go through our tiny town, too, so we decided to wait there instead. Everyone said to expect it around 4:30 but it was nowhere to be seen. We took turns keeping Finley occupied and dry (it rained off and on) and chatted with the few other people lucky enough to have heard about it and to be able to stand around for a couple of hours doing nothing on a Wednesday afternoon.
While we waited, we also wandered around looking at pretty rocks and found a squashed penny!
At about 5:30, someone shouted that someone had called to say it had just left Culpeper and was headed our way.
About 15 minutes later this is what we saw:
At first it was pretty small and oddly quiet.
But as it got closer the NW611 got bigger and bigger and when the engineer blew the horn and released the steam, there was no doubt that we were in the presence of something awfully special!
In a few moments it was just a memory but one that was well worth the hour and a half we waited for it!
(If you'd like to learn more about the restoration of the Norfolk and Western 611 locomotive. you can do it here and lots of other places on the internet.)