Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Break in the High Desert

This past weekend we made yet another trek to the tracks for a little R & R at the RR. Friday was an enjoyable afternoon and evening around the patio. A small dedicated few made progress over the weekend. Friday evening the breeze came up but sometime in the night it abated. Saturday dawned nice enough and the task of installing the I-beam for the overhead hoist was tackled. Bill Shepherd had left one panel with screws in it so it could be removed for this task. Simple enough, Bill likes his screw gun and there were plenty to remove. Then to get the beam in place, fortunately there is a bank nearby to rest the end before getting it in place. Once installed the beam was a tad long so the handy-dandy Hack saw came into action and saved the day. Not much to remove, just that extra on the end due too an angled building and a square cut. With that finished the wall could be replaced and the trolley installed on the beam. The breeze came back while this project was going on and the plan to paint was scuttled. A bumper was installed at the turntable end of track to keep equipment out of the construction area unexpectedly. The breeze didn't stop the visitors from arriving and visiting. Saturday nights dinner was inside for reasons the salad wouldn't blow off the plate. Sometime Saturday night the Zephyrs abated again and Sunday dawned warm and calm. The paint crew seized the opportunity and in no time at all the second coat was applied to the new engine house. The lead tracks were then relaid with steel rail for photogenic reasons and the engine house is a couple of more steps closer to completion. A good, weekend with enough projects completed to make one feel an accomplishment was made. Good weekend, great visitors and the blooming desert was worth seeing once again, the desert is coming alive as we saw many critters basking in the sun. See you next time.         https://picasaweb.google.com/Ratsgarage/SpringBreakWeekendAtJoshuaTree?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Engine House is up, and Painted

This was a very productive weekend with just a skeleton crew, great weather and good times. Friday was a Good day and spring in the High Desert is worth the trip out. Allan and Lynn Ratliff made it out Thursday and I even made it out before noon on Friday. My buddy Don drug out the dump trailer with yet again another load of wood and pipe from my project in town. Matt Z made it to Corona for the soon to be famous Carne Burns at the Garage on Thursday nights. Greg and Becky rolled in before dark too. A afternoon trip to the store for paint in readiness to paint the fresh wood on the Engine House.
Saturday morning the paint crew was assembled and we put the first coat of color on the Engine House. It sure is easy when you don't have to cut around the windows. The windows will be installed as they are fabricated hopefully over the summer. The same goes for the engine doors. Bill Shepherd will install the people door and the roofing after he returns in the fall.  The rest of the day was spent enjoying the great spring day.
 Sunday we installed 50 feet of track on the switchback tail to extend it to the point where the turntable will be. Bill Shepherd had excavated beyond the old end of track so that we would have a siding equal to the length of the short leg of the wye at the bottom. That is the limiting factor, if you can turn on the wye you can clear the sidings on the high line too. There is a nice narrow hand dug cut before the track opens up for the turntable area. Great work Bill. Now we just have to get the siding in. We have plenty of fill that needs to get up the hill for that endeavor.
 It was a great weekend and we go back out in two weeks for the Spring Break run. April 11-13, make plans now to see the desert before all the wildflowers disappear. See you there. A link for the pictures on Picasa below. https://picasaweb.google.com/Ratsgarage/EasterWeekendAtJoshuaTreeMarch2931?authuser=0&feat=directlink