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Mon. June 10th: Trains and Planes

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<– Day 37 – Sun. June 9th: Defecting to Canada | Trip Overview | Day 39 – Tues. June 11th: Checking Out Butler –>


So many cool things in this one-of-a-kind toy store!

After our failure to defect in Canada on Sunday, we decided to head south on Monday toward the jeep-mecca-that-is-Bantam: Butler, Pennsylvania.


On Monday June 10th we drove from Niagara Falls, New York, to Butler, Pennsylvania.

Though we’d spurned Canada, the country seemed to haunt us. I guess we were there long enough to look Canadian. For example, when we stopped by a Niagara Starbucks Monday morning, we were told by a cashier that we could go online and get Starbucks Cash (or points or something) for completing a survey. He then announced the cash (or points) were good in Canada, too. Ann and I looked at each other wondering why he thought we were Canadian. Then I realized I was wearing a “Canada” shirt.

From Buffalo, New York, we drove south through rain until we got bored of the Interstate. I spotted a town called North East, PA. Thinking that was an odd name, especially since it was in northwestern Pennsylvania, we decided to explore it. It was a strange town. For example, they grow plants over their parking meters.


After lunch at Lacasa De Pizza in downtown North East, we tried to visit their nearby railroad museum, but no one was home. There weren’t any hours posted on the door either. They did have lots of trains and a train station as well.


I never did learn why the town was called ‘North East’


Here, Ann is sharing the finer points of shifting a train track (I’ve been told a Switchman would be “throwing the switch”). I just hoped that she didn’t hurt her knee!

They did have several Fairmont built rail cars.


I think these two Fairmonts are about to throw down and fight.

From North East we drove southwest until we reached Erie, PA. We had planned to check out their maritime museum, but decided we didn’t want to spend the money. So, we looked upon Lake Erie, which satisfied our goal of seeing all five Great Lakes on this trip!


Our view of Lake Erie wasn’t all that great, but it still counts!


I guess the gate was intended to stop us from using this ship to defect to Canada?

After Lake Erie, we decided to drive straight down to Butler. During our drive, we did some searches to find something wonderfully odd to visit in Butler.

We found it in the form of a B2 Bomber shaped toy store. Playthings, Etc, is a toy store located eight miles north of Butler on Highway 8 that bills itself as the ‘world’s coolest toy store’.  It might look like a B2 Bomber to the uninitiated, but my wife explained all the details it lacked (she worked on the original).


Great sign!


The back of the ‘plane’ is where the entrance is.


This is the back of the store, which is the front of the plane. My wife assures me it looks different in person.

Inside, they encourage you to touch, test, and try all kinds of toys.


This is the entrance . . .


Look mom! I’m playing with toys and not getting in trouble!

After playing with toys all afternoon we were hungry. I suggested we eat at the CHOP SHOP, a restaurant that had received some great reviews. But, it turned out the CHOP SHOP is only open for breakfast and lunch (unless it is Friday). Outside the restaurant we spotted a Bantam Festival Jeep Sign:


Outside the CHOP SHOP I spotted this Bantam Festival sign.

Instead of the CHOP SHOP, we settled for Rachel’s Roadhouse, which was near our motel. Ann had a seafood pasta that was great, but a little on the spicy side. My reuben was very tasty.

On Tuesday we will explore Butler a little bit, but mostly we plan to rest.

<– Day 37 – Sun. June 9th: Defecting to Canada | Trip Overview | Day 39 – Tues. June 11th: Checking Out Butler –>


2 Comments on “Mon. June 10th: Trains and Planes

  1. Colin Peabody

    Ann is performing “Switchman” duties. Spent a lot of years in the small railroad town of Winslow, Arizona and got to know a lot of “rails” and what they did. Winslow had a switchyard back in those 1960s days.

  2. Lester Senn

    The technical term is called “throwing the switch”,In the old days the brakeman would have to jump off the slow moving train at a switch and run ahead to the switch.Usually since he was running or sprinting he would grab the switches operating lever and give it a “throw” to operate it.Nowadays switches are operated electrically by computers in the large railyards.

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