Tuesday, February 19, 2013

President's Weekend/Standard Gauge Meet

This past weekend was our President's Weekend, Standard Gauge Meet. Not that you could only be Standard Gauge prototype with skinny wheels, if you brought it out you could run it. And those that did had a good time. The late winter weather was very hospitable, which lent itself to being a enjoyable outing. The breeze was blowing something fierce in the San Gorgonio Pass area Friday, but as one turned and headed for the high desert the Zephyrs ceased. Friday evening was cool but not chilly. Having got out to the place just minutes behind Al and Lynn we had the GE unloaded in no time at all. The second Skoglund flat car returned to native trackage after an interesting time at Rat's Garage getting new trucks, couplers and a sub frame to assist the old wooden car through a few more decades. The Linseed oil still stinking up the right of way as she rolled around. A new paint job added the finishing touches and she rode effortlessly all weekend no issues at all. The Barter Boys, John and Art showed up in the afternoon as well, bringing their Ten-wheeler and the Shay along with plenty of cars to pull around. The Barter Coal Co. wooden hopper cars ran many a trip spreading ballast along the high line. They are a wonder of late 19th century wooden car technology with their rods and levers working as the prototypes did when things were done with brain and brawn. Greg and Becky made it up in the early evening and we got to see Sydnie too. Basketball season is over for now so she got to spend time with family. Robert and Barbara rolled up from the low desert where they snowbird from the Great White North. Saturday dawned just as beautiful as the day before and a little warmer at that. Soon the Westside flats were hauling the necessary equipment to the Engine House area for the assembly and welding of the front door frame. It is of steel so it will look as of wooden beams. Final prep for alignment before we drilled anchor bolts happened as well as some concrete poured to support the one side to make the doors square with the bays inside as the alignment was a tad off; not bad as the whole engine house never was really planned or built at one time. Art and John spent the day running their engines and easily running loads up the hill between laps down to the station. Soon the sun was setting over the hill and it was time for activities around the patio. Timmy and Scotty Lewis rolled in before dinner and spent the rest of the weekend with us. They came up from Chula Vista to the Santa Fe shin dig at San Bernardino Saturday, so as being halfway here made the rest of the journey. There was plenty of red meat cooked over a tantalizing bed of Oak coals along with plenty of side dishes. Saturday evening was filled with many stories around the fire barrel, one knows not how many may have been true, but fun none the less. Sunday was even better weather wise than the two previous great days. T-shirt weather is once again back in town. Erection and welding of the door frames was in order and quick work of the project with plenty of help and advice filled the morning. Timmy had Matt Z's freight hack out for exercise most of the day, only the batteries kept him from running it more. One of the weekend fix-it projects was the switch frog to the middle track on the east side of the station. It has been giving a few engines fits for some time. It was given a proper bending and re gauged and it gave not a hint of trouble the rest of the weekend. Robert spent some time oiling, fixing and adjusting the Edwards Freight Motor and it ran quite well for him. He said it had been a few years since he had a vehicle with a manual choke and it would come back to him after a bit. I guess I'm spoiled, my favorite around town vehicle I drive these days has a manual choke, standard transmission and roll up windows; and I think of them as luxuries. The 47 Ford even has a hole for a hand crank, not that I would want to try that. We had five trains running over the weekend, plenty of people with smiles abound. March 8,9,10 is the Narrow Gauge Meet, we hope to see you out for another great weekend in the high desert. As usual, click on the picture below for more great views of the good time had by those that attended.
President's Weekend at Joshua Tree, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Little Snow at JT

One of our local members, John Griffin, took a trek up to the tracks this morning, February 10, 2013, after we recieved a dusting of snow in the area. It was not much but enough to add a different look to the area. As the sun poked over the mountain it quickly melted away, as you can see in his pictures from up the fire road. Just click on the picture below to see the slideshow. Thanks for sharing this wonderful morning John.
A Little Snow at JT 2-11-2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ready for the Weekend

The second of the Skoglund Flat Cars is ready to roll, after major work to save what could be saved without it being an all new car, she is painted and oiled with new trucks underneath and even new couplers so she can roll anywhere, anytime on the railroad. New end beams had to be made to fit as the old ones were in numerous pieces after disassembly. The rest of the wood was saved but a healthy few coats of primer and stain were applied to slow the ravages of time and weather. I know I am impressed on how good it looks after seeing it in pieces on the engine stand. The pile of sand and grit below tell a tale of its own. The new Artzberger trucks underneath allow us to retrofit the rest of the museum cars as they are rebuilt with roller bearings instead of brasses. Come on out this weekend for the Standard Gauge meet and see the recent activities that have transpired these last few weeks of winter. See you there. Any questions give me a call. There has been concern about where the link for pictures is at? This website is best seen from a computer or laptop, reaching it via a smart phone doesn't do as well. The link for the pictures is to put your pointer on the picture below. Hey, cool isn't it? The Museum Flat Car Project 2013">