My train layout planning

I like inter-model trains.  The Dash 9 is the engine that I want to base my layout around.  I want to pick a location and industry to model and this layout will have some water involved. 
I use to live in Portland Oregon so the Columbia River Gorge is an area that I have considered modeling.  The BNSF trains use this route to get from the west coast through the Cascade mountain range.  When i took my family on week end hikes in the gorge it was really cool to watch the long trains snake their way along the river.
I would also consider modeling an area near my current home in Georgia.  The Savannah area is on the Atlantic coast line and the city is also a port.  This area would introduce hipping to the model railroad.  Doing this area would also give me inspiration to take pictures of buildings and dock areas and then scratch build structures for my railroad.
In my fantasy railroad I could have the best of both worlds and build a river gorge and a port city based on what ever I want.  That is the whole inspiration and reason for creating a model railroad in that you can do what ever you want.