Old 01-09-2011, 05:44 PM   #1
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Cool T.V. announcer "My question is why?

Hello forum readers,

I know we all have received the weird looks from people driving by as we wait for trains to show up, have been asked by local authorities what we are doing and getting the "doing what?" look back and just scratched our own heads sometimes after a long day/trip that didn't go well but some of us have had other experiences dealing with explaining our hobby that have stuck in our minds. This is where I have decided to share my story even though it occurred some 15 years ago as it has been etched in my mind ever since hearing the comments made on t.v. and I seem to think about it on my long drives to catch trains.

The following quote came from a forum in response to an article in the New York Times talking about railfans and acquisition of BNSF by Warren Buffett and to me sums up many onlookers thoughts towards our hobby....."too bad the reporter still misunderstood some of the concepts. At the end of the day, no matter how hard you try, there's no way to describe railfanning without sounding like a dork."

My story came about when I picked up Candlepin Bowling to get away from the rigors of farming for one night a week. First off, I better explain what Candlepin Bowling is as most have that lost look when you mention that, lol. Aside from a few lanes in Florida and New York (not sure they are there today), Candlepin is confined to the New England states and the Northeast Provinces of Canada. A much more challenging form or bowling that frustrates people like golf can so I'm told. Within a few years I started competing on the local t.v. shows and while competing on the "Tournament of Champions" series I was being interviewed by the two t.v. hosts before my first match as they would tape several shows in a day having a month's worth of shows done in one day. During my interview (done many times before but never mentioned railfanning) I was asked what other hobbies I had and part my response was "photographing trains" and shortly there after the match started.

Not until I actually saw the taped show on t.v. (the bowling shows were always the #1 viewed programs at the time but production costs and the demographics of the audience eventually brought an end to all candlepin bowling shows) did I witness the tv host talking between each other and one had mentioned my following of trains and the other instantly said "My question is why?" The one host hearing the response tried to relate my following somehow to farming to tone down the sarcasm in the other announcer's voice, but I'm sure to the viewing audience as well as myself it was yet another dumbfounded reaction to being a railfan! With the large audience the show had, I can only imagine how many viewers were lost in relating to my strong interest in trains!

When I'm driving for several hours to get to certain train spots I still to this day think of hearing "My question is why? and chuckle. Well, I figured I would share this with the railfan audience as it makes no sense to try to explain this to other people as even my wife is laughing at me typing this now . Hope you enjoyed and would like to hear of your experiences beyond the normal gawking we get trackside .

Rich Clark
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:41 PM   #2
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I don't try to explain. I just tell 'em, "There are only two kinds of men in the world: those who like trains, and those who don't yet realize they like trains."
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:57 PM   #3
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Something that works, Its like hunting but I can do it 365 and do not have to buy a license to do it. Normally that's gets them to stop thinking dumb somewhat. LOL and show them a Trains magazine with my photo if there still chatting ends the dumb looks.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:04 PM   #4
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Something that works, Its like hunting but I can do it 365 and do not have to buy a license to do it. Normally that's gets them to stop thinking dumb somewhat. LOL and show them a Trains magazine with my photo if there still chatting ends the dumb looks.
Yeah, I was talking to my bro, who hunts a lot, saying how funny (but mostly ridiculous) it would be if there was a railfanning season. Yes, you can only shoot trains September 1st to January 1st, if you're shooting digital. But, you can shoot in August with film. No, I am very glad we can shoot year round.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:15 PM   #5
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Yeah, I was talking to my bro, who hunts a lot, saying how funny (but mostly ridiculous) it would be if there was a railfanning season. Yes, you can only shoot trains September 1st to January 1st, if you're shooting digital. But, you can shoot in August with film. No, I am very glad we can shoot year round.
At least most of us can. I'm not so sure the people who live in some of the shittier states like Wisconsin or Minnesota can do much from December to say, March. Unless you are into something exciting like ICE FISHING

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Old 01-09-2011, 10:28 PM   #6
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At least most of us can. I'm not so sure the people who live in some of the shittier states like Wisconsin or Minnesota can do much from December to say, March. Unless you are into something exciting like ICE FISHING
Its cold we go out and we live and have a blast doing so. No bugs stinging, Mostly nice if the winds not blowing!
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:28 PM   #7
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At least most of us can. I'm not so sure the people who live in some of the shittier states like Wisconsin or Minnesota can do much from December to say, March. Unless you are into something exciting like ICE FISHING
Shittier in what way?
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:30 PM   #8
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Shittier in what way?
Under 75 lol
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:39 AM   #9
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At least most of us can. I'm not so sure the people who live in some of the shittier states like Wisconsin or Minnesota can do much from December to say, March.
Ah, but that cold just keeps out the riff-raff. The sunlight is spectacular that time of year. I'd sooner go there (and do) than Florida during any time of the year.
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:04 AM   #10
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At least most of us can. I'm not so sure the people who live in some of the shittier states like Wisconsin or Minnesota can do much from December to say, March. Unless you are into something exciting like ICE FISHING
And Troy strikes again with his broad-brush of stupidity...
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:13 AM   #11
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I liken this to what Harley-Davidson fans say:"If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand."
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:44 PM   #12
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Talking This remark was funny.

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And Troy strikes again with his broad-brush of stupidity...

I want one of those.

Where does one get a broad brush of stupidity?



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...[portion omitted]... over snow, ice and fat chicks who may or may not look as fat in a parka and have all their teeth
This statement is so particular that I believe it is based on some actual life experience.

Do enlighten us won't you Troy?

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Old 01-10-2011, 07:24 AM   #13
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At least most of us can. I'm not so sure the people who live in some of the shittier states like Wisconsin or Minnesota can do much from December to say, March. Unless you are into something exciting like ICE FISHING
Now some of us on here happen to like to ice fish. I know I do and to be honest if the bite is on it can be some of the most fun fishing all year. On the other hand, who doesn't like a good snow shot or a good drift busting.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:29 AM   #14
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Now some of us on here happen to like to ice fish. I know I do and to be honest if the bite is on it can be some of the most fun fishing all year. On the other hand, who doesn't like a good snow shot or a good drift busting.
Now really is it the fishing or the drinking?

Everyone "I" know who ice fishes gets snockered every time they go, fishing.

[S]hittier states like Wisconsin or Minnesota[.] Wow, that is pretty harsh.

I thought nothing is a Shitty as California.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:50 AM   #15
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Yeah, I was talking to my bro, who hunts a lot, saying how funny (but mostly ridiculous) it would be if there was a railfanning season. Yes, you can only shoot trains September 1st to January 1st, if you're shooting digital. But, you can shoot in August with film. No, I am very glad we can shoot year round.
Haha. I am an avid hunter and I am a railfan. I really like this response "There are only two kinds of men in the world: those who like trains, and those who don't yet realize they like trains."
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:21 PM   #16
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Something that works, Its like hunting but I can do it 365 and do not have to buy a license to do it. Normally that's gets them to stop thinking dumb somewhat. LOL and show them a Trains magazine with my photo if there still chatting ends the dumb looks.
Richard, I have used that comparison before as far fewer seem to think it's odd to wait for hours while hunting and sometimes never see a thing like us waiting for trains! That would certainly suck if we indeed had a "season".

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Old 01-10-2011, 01:03 AM   #17
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I knew that comment would get some interesting responses

I love the Florida hating, I wish more people from up North had your same viewpoint
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:33 AM   #18
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I knew that comment would get some interesting responses

I love the Florida hating, I wish more people from up North had your same viewpoint
Who's hating Florida? We were talking railroad photography, right? Are you really going to tell me that Florida railroad photography is much more interesting than what you can find in Wisconsin and Minnesota??

Hey, I love Florida...just not for railroad photography, because it pretty much SUCKS.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:43 AM   #19
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Who's hating Florida? We were talking railroad photography, right? Are you really going to tell me that Florida railroad photography is much more interesting than what you can find in Wisconsin and Minnesota??

Hey, I love Florida...just not for railroad photography, because it pretty much SUCKS.
I agree with that completely. I was making that original comment pretty tounge in cheek. I have something like 200 photos on and I think only 10% are actually shot in the state I live in. Maybe less. I was just commenting on the humidity and mosquito jabs.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:48 AM   #20
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I was just commenting on the humidity and mosquito jabs.
We have plenty of that up here.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:58 AM   #21
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I'm fortunate enough to live in an area where people actually know what you're doing when you're standing at a rail road crossing pointing thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment at a big dirty coal train. Then again I have had to explain to some people, and I still get the puzzled lolwtf? look from time to time.

I've also found out, if your coworkers know your a gun enthusiast, never say that ''shooting'' trains are one of your hobbies.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:49 AM   #22
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I love the Florida hating, I wish more people from up North had your same viewpoint
Florida has two things going for it as I see it NASA and ladys on the beach otherwise the SW has much more going for it.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:09 AM   #23
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..[some stuff was omitted]..... At the end of the day, no matter how hard you try, there's no way to describe railfaning without sounding like a dork."..[a whole bunch of other stuff was left out]....
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:28 AM   #24
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It's pretty obvious that Florida railfanning sucks.. There are only so many options.. Take a look at what Bob Pickering posts..

All you have is CSX and the FEC.. I'll take the Midwest anyday!

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Old 01-10-2011, 08:20 PM   #25
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Betcha neither one of those women have ever set foot in Minnesota.
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