Many of us who are into a particular hobby have been influenced in childhood by their parents,
and this is also my case here. At age 4, I was taken to my first railfanning trips to Germany,
where my Dad filmed the last operating steam engines in the early 70s with his Super 8 film
camera. I developed a fascination for trains (model and real ones), which went through its ups
and downs over the years, but which always kept alive.
After having finished my apprenticeship in 1988 and earning my own money, I went on my first
trip to the United States back in 1990 together with my then girlfriend who is now my wife. The
trip was not a railfanning trip though, and it was not before 1992, when I saw my first train roaring
past the Flagstaff depot in Northern Arizona. I was electrified immediately by the drama and the
size of these freight trains, and that’s where it all began. After that, we went to train watching trips
all across the US, sometimes even twice or thrice a year. It was great to see the various
landscapes and meet all different kinds of people during our trainwatching trips. At the beginning,
we had only little success in finding our way to the tracks due to inacurate mapping material.
When laptop computers became affordable for the public, we found De Lorme’s mapping
software together with a GPS device which turned out to be the perfect software for our purpose.
We also needed a radio scanner to listen to the train radio. We got more and more successful on
our trainspotter travels, and meanwhile, we have visited all the famous railroad hotspots
throughout the US and Canada.
During our many trips to America, we started to love the American Way of Life, the food, the
people and the cars. After having driven a Ford Escape during one of our rentals, I ended up
buying the same model (called Maverick in Europe) in 2004. In 2009, we got interested in US
muscle cars and visited some car dealers to check out their stock, being very surprised about the
very high selling prices for 40 year old cars. Without intention to buy a car, we were driving on the
freeway, being on our way to our friends place, when we coincidentially spotted a 2005
black/golden Ford Mustang GT which was parked on the property of Specialty Sales in Benicia
CA, who was selling it at an affordable price. A test ride was made, a deal was stroke, and a
contract was signed....... and a car was shipped..... !
© 2011 by usatrains.ch
Year of birth:
Trips to North America:
Miles driven USA/Canada: