My ride behind the Movie Star. A few rays of sunlight poke through the clouds as the legendary Sierra Number 3 passes her fire patrol during a run-around maneuver at Rock Quarry. The short train ride that I took this afternoon was probably the most special one ever for me. Many many years ago, back in 1963, it was this very locomotive that got me interested in steam engines. Back then, she was the power on The Hooterville Cannonball, whistling her way onto our black and white TV screen every week at 9PM. I had to beg my mom to let me stay up and watch. Sure, she was dolled up with a fake diamond stack, an oil lamp headlight and a pile of wood on the tender, but to me, she was the most perfect locomotive on the planet. For eons, I thought this engine "lived" in Portland, Oregon. The credits on Petticoat Junction couldn't be wrong....right? Not until almost 40 years later in the era of the internet, did I find that her real home was in Jamestown, California. Unfortunately, by then she was out of service and in pieces. At that time, I made a promise to myself that if the Three-Spot ever ran again, I was going to be there. So it was this past summer when the folks at Railtown 1897 completed their $1.6M restoration effort that I made plans to travel to Jamestown and finally see and ride behind this special engine. Although clouds prevailed during the day of my visit, they could do little to dampen my enthusiasm. The Movie Star looks a little different now....no more diamond stack or oil light....but this is one little gal who looks damned fine without make-up!