Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 2012 - Business Trip Part 2

Today starts with me up at 6AM (which my brain thinks is 5AM back home). A quick shower and a shave and I'm ready to wait in the lobby for my two travel companions for our tour. 

The Frank Lloyd Wright-ian nightmare of the lobby.

Taking the path the Nuvi prescribed for us, we made our way through the old industrial buildings and aging factories of downtown Erie. There were some truly awesome churches and older buildings that I would have loved to stop and take pictures of, but we were on our way to "work" so I snagged a few random scenes with my phone.

The pictures I would really love to show you are the ones that I wasn't allowed to take. I would love to spend about four hours with full access to the facility and get some amazing shots of the whole process that goes into building an engine, a "loco" as they call them. The whole operation takes place inside gigantic buildings that are literally a hundred years old. It reminded me of the trips that we've taken to Sloss Furnace in Birmingham. Huge multi-pane windows on both ends of long, spacious rooms and everywhere steel, dirt, chipped paint, concrete and brick illuminated by orange-yellow sodium-vapor lamps and the blue-white of florescent tubes. 

However... a quick search for images in Google has revealed to me plenty of pictures of the shop floors and manufacturing areas that I did visit. Some of these are promotional material, and one is a pro-union video on YouTube. Here are the links:

But the best video I can find is this one: GE Evolution Series. It gives a great behind-the-scenes view of the trains and the areas that I toured. It even shows them doing a "flip", something that I didn't get to see in person.

Via Google Maps, this is an aerial shot of the location to give you some sense of scale. Keep in mind that these buildings are six and seven stories tall. 

And here are the pictures of the outsides of the buildings that I was able to take.

After the really cool tour and some actual business we had lunch at the Smuggler's Wharf right in the bay next to the Bicentennial Tower and within view of Presque Isle and the Perry Monument.

Bicentennial Tower
With our work done we walked around the Millcreek Mall for a while before turning in for the night. One place thought caught our attention was RavenRock Workwear, a store dedicated to clothing and accessories for all your on-the-job needs. Highlights included steel-toed Converse and this great Stetson-style hardhat that Bill is modeling below.

I did manage to make two Geocache finds today as well, right outside the hotel- which adds Pennsylvania to my map and gives me a new "furthest north" find too.

After all was said and done, there was only one other thing to do before hitting the hay. I tried the sauna, but it was like sitting in a closet with a space-heater. Hot and boring. I had better luck with the hot tub.

A few more pictures of Wednesday can be found right here.

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