Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Weekend 2012

The weather did not know what to do this last weekend. When I was going through Beaumont at 11:00 Friday morning the thermometer was sitting at 58 degrees, is it not the last weekend in May? Friday night it was downright chilly after dark. Saturday morning the breeze was still blowing a bit but as the day progressed, the wind regressed.
Saturday’s project was the westward extension of the Picnic shelter for the new windbreak. The foundations had been poured the last trip out so the woodwork was what needed done this time. First the posts were fitted and secured in their positions and then came the walls. We had plenty of help as the day marched on. Terry and Gary came up from town. Gary and Margret Stites made a day trip out of Saturday. Mom and Dad set the place up as usual, Greg, Becky and Sydnie got a jump on Friday afternoon and made it out well before dark Friday, Becky’s sister, Colette braved the wind Friday too enjoy the time with us too. Martha came out early Saturday to spend a little time out in the desert as well. In addition, Matt made it up from the South to round out the group. Somewhere between the first cut and the walls starting to go up Martha made a trip into town for a few gallons of paint for the project. The new color is darned near the same as the old color, and it looks good. Something that needed done a long time ago I presume. After the new wall was attached the old wall, or should I say the old sheets of plywood nailed together in the form of a wall, came down giving the inside of the shelter two feet more width inside and a whole lot better protection from the elements. An improvement right there if we were to quit right then. But No!! The whole idea of this project was a barn door, or should we say a boxcar door that could be extended out if needed without the props, braces, splinters and rattling like the old apparatus did. First, the track was attached up high and then the door was cut to fit the amount of space we had. Of course, by this time the painting crew of Martha and Margret had gotten a jump on us and was greening up the place so to say. The new door was actually painted before we hung it so it could be dry as we had to man handle it a few times to get it in the right place. By afternoon we had it pretty much finished except for the tweaking and adjusting that comes with starring at it for a few hours. A kick here or there, it looks great and thanks to all the helpers that made it a enjoyable and rewarding project for the betterment of the picnic shelter. Sunday a bit more painting of the rest of the shelter as Martha was on a roll. Dad moved the spools she used as steps to reach the higher beams. Painting the north side really made an improvement to the place. On the railroad, the switchback switch was finished and we can now run a train up the grade to the upper trestle. Some grading was done after dinner but the bulk of the grading was done Monday and by 1:00 in the afternoon we ran the first train over the Upper Ophirish Trestle for the first time since it was erected New Years Eve Weekend 2004. We got a lot accomplished over the weekend and it was all due to some great help. Thanks again to Al and Lynn Ratliff, Greg, Becky and Sydnie Ratliff, Colette Gordon, Martha Hall, Gary and Margret Stites, Matt Zacharzuk, Gary Conley, Terry Watson and the guy in the orange shirt for a great effort.
The Shelter wall before.
After we sweated a bit, the finished Picnic Shelter
The Switchback Switch.
Over the Upper Trestle.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Road Trip to Train Mountain May 2012

Peter Moseley wrote a story on the trip to Train Mountain, and he graciously allowed us to spread it around as a JT Road Trip. We had a great time at the meet. Jimmy Booth's brand new C-16 #223, his RMI #50, Ron's propane fired #278 and Bill & Holly Boller's "bee" along with Ray and Becky's #18 Mogul and #50 gasser made up our local group. Gil Gross rode up with Ron and I and Jimmy had a couple of friends from Ukiah. Bill Dobbs and Dennis Weaver had been there for some time. There were only three other steamers there, one a large sweet creek like propane fired engine with oversize D&RG cars. It ran very nicely. Bill Dobbs didn't run his K-36. The folks at TM were very accommodating and welcoming and the atmosphere was good. The weather was nice and things ran well. Jimmy Booth had been working 16-17 hour days on the engine for the prior three weeks getting 223 ready and it ran flawlessly. There was an issue with the cross head support mountings, but a few hours on the mill in the back shop and we modified the bars and made new mounting blocks and fixed a weakness. The engine fires like mad and Jimmy had the firebox door open and the injectors running coming up the Serpentine. So a great opening weekend for the engine. We used Ron's propane fired engine to go across the way into Friends Land (my term). The track work they have done there is amazing and a really wonderful ride. It took us 6 hours to do the very scenic loop including some water stops and a lunch break. We learned a few things about Ron's engine on propane and were able to make some tweaks after the long ride that improved the steaming. We had too much draft going up the hills and too much cool air was being pulled into the firebox so it couldn't keep up. Someone suggested putting an extension on the blast nozzle so that the exhaust was up in the smokestack to further kill the draft. This made the engine run much better. Surprisingly the bark was really loud and I had to wear ear plugs to run the engine. I will calm it down by enlarging the hole in the end cap I have on the extension pipe. For all the running we did we only used about 8 gallons of propane. We were worried we would run out, but had almost 1/2 half our capacity still in the tanks when were done. The timing is off on the engine and needs to have a real cure. Between Bill, Ron and I we purchased 45 bags of char from Bill Dobbs. Added to our existing stock it is enough for the rest of our lives and then some I suspect. Sharon was in attendance and seems very earnest in her desire to keep the place going. She appears to be living there now. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. But we got the sense that, one way or another, TM was here to stay. So a great meet that was very lightly attended. Don't be afraid of going to TM. It's still a great place. Peter, Ron & Gil
Proud new builder of a C-16
The local group
Serious talk.
Crane flat - C&TS tank and Cumbres section house.
Gil gives it a try
Off and Running
Bill leaves for a run. Thanks to Peter for allowing us all to enjoy his story. Next Road trip Bittercreek.