Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mid Winter Run January 17-20, 2014

    Mid Winter...that's what the calendar says, it was a nice weekend to try out sunscreen and t-shirt styles for the summer months. There wasn't even much snow to look at on the back side of San Gorgonio on the way home. It was a light turnout but a lot of things were taken care of.
    Over the years we have called our weekends out at the tracks "Runs" to attract visitors, naming them "work weekends" shies people away from bringing out their equipment and running the railroad. We only have eight weekends normally during the season to accomplish things around here. We work during most of them, if someone wants to haul buckets of fill up the hill during a meet am I going to say no you can't? Bring it on, making your steam engine or train do more than run in circles is actually fun to do. If folks want to help out laying down fifty more feet of track up the hill, I'll find the track screws and joiners real quick, and a bucket of refreshments too. This place wasn't built over one weekend and it takes a lot to keep it going, and always plenty more to do. Limited time and limited workers; the sweat only spreads so far. So I'd call it a steamapalooza, railfest or what ever it takes to have interested parties roll out here for a day or weekend and see our railroad thru the rocks.
   Lots of things over the weekend, from Dad's list we had;

John: while We were gone: Hauled Dirt to end of track. To increase grade,
Leveled Spot by "G" Gauge for Don's Parking. Dug Trench to move water
spout to inside the Upper Ballon (Big Rock).
Emptied fire barrel,
cut a load of wood.
Visited Gary, great visit, he was in great spirits and trotting the attributes of medical alternatives
Hit the Hardware store and picked up supplies for water plug move.
Moved water line and discussed water leak that we had no idea about except second hand,
refilled water line.
Delivered wood for retaining wall at lift, leveled out area before so no one falls in.
Delivered wood for Don's Landing.
Dumped ashes, lifted track at end of track were John had dumped fill.
Fitted in and welded three lift out tracks in Engine House; Brian and Greg.
Blew out sand and leaves out of lift area.
Changed the garden valve by the Bird water.Stopping a leak; Greg,Brian
We started isolating different areas to find leaks; Greg, Brian, Brendon
Dug up shut off by trash can. Valve would not shut off.
Old wood stop ,that holds the Blue Bell together was rotten . We replaced
the stop and push the Blue Bell back together.  Went to town to by fittings
to bypass valve that would not shut off.
Refilled both dirt piles for loading up the hill with Brendon's Bob Cat.
Brian and Brendon installed bypass valve we bought Saturday.
More Isolation testing.
We found a wet area by the shut-off valve at the Pullman.
We DID NOT Dig in that area.
Brendon took out thrash barrel Sunday .
Drive in rods to retain RR tie on south side of lift. Fill to be added later.
Cut Rods 48" 42" 30" for retaining wall north side of Station and for RR tie wall already installed in camp space at Horseshoe.
Emptied Fire barrel. Cleaned BBQ out and ready for next time.
Cleaned up around Tie area.
Brian painted flashing around Engine House.
Washed down posts of Lift. BLUE again.
As I write this JOHN G is making multiple loads of girt and rock up the Hill

That's quite a bit of stuff done on a "Run", We did unload the engines, the GE and the American Friday morning as well, ran the GE and picked up and did the Friday stuff by rail. Saturday the welder was delivered by rail. Brendon brought out 3030, and we actually had all three trains running Sunday afternoon. Sunday morning Brendon got an early start and we listened to steam in the early morning. There was time to play too. But, is getting to spend time out in the High Desert and enjoying the great weather really work?

Next month is the Standard Gauge Meet, February 13-16. Bring the skinny wheels out and run the hill. I can bet you the Barter Boys will spend at least a day 'working' loads of fill up the high line. Smiling the whole time. This Winter either hasn't got here or is going to be a mild one. Plan on mild and plan on being out for the Standard Gauge Meet.

Link for pictures down here and any questions give me a rattle at .

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Years Weekends at the Tracks

With New Years Day falling on a Wednesday this year it makes for a staggered holiday, or a real long one. Some of us chose the long one and others came out for a few days before or after.

Of course Mom and Dad headed out as soon as the Yule Log burned out and Greg and Becky made it out Friday, I tried something new and drug the trailer to the Ranch in the morning so I could make a quicker getaway on Friday myself. Dad had the GE 47 tonner and Greg brought out the Plymouth which hasn't been to JT in a few seasons. I brought out the 4-4-0 with it's new trim. Saturday Jeff and Kevin Tolan rolled in with a Suburban full of rolling stock and the Pacific Electric box cab. John Griffin has been using the Edwards Freight Motor for maintenance and hauling fill up to the turntable sight, a lot has been ran up the hill in the last month. Saturday we had four trains running for a bit, never any pressure to do anything but enjoy the weekend. Saturday Night was the Carne Burn, Jerry McPheeters furnished the Carne Asada for a local Market  and we all gorged on that for the evening.  Sunday the Tolan's rolled up shop and went back to town, two days was enough.
 Monday rolled around and a trip into town yielded a phone number of our roofer that did the station. We needed to do something about the engine house before it got to far away from us. The Maywalds rolled into town for a few days of fun at the tracks with their new RV. Doug and Bailey can handle the trailer floor but Mom and the girls like it a little fluffier. RGS 20 was in the trailer as well as their MP1500. Monday afternoon we set up a picture in the Van Wingen Yard as we had six locomotives to fill the tracks down there. Monday afternoon Matt rolled in from Chula Vista by way of Nacimiento.

Tuesday Lonnie from Elite Roofing rolled in and we talked roofing for a bit and agreed to get the roof finished on the engine house. We had to finish the front trim yet and peel the old tar paper and nails off and out of the way for them as they would be back Friday. Lonnie wasn't out of sight down the road and a crew was on the roof stripping the roof. It took a little longer to get the materials for the front trim but we had it all done except for paint in a little over two hours. Still plenty of time to run a train or two before sunset. The hourly train rides on New Years Eve started at 7:00 and lasted till 12:00 I made a few. New Years Day was just a nice a day as all the rest, in fact the whole week had been beautiful. Warm enough for a t-shirt during the day and not frightfully cold at night either. The breeze that tormented the Southland was not evident where we were.

Thursday it was just Matt and the folks as most of us had jobs. The paint was applied on the front of the engine house and Friday morning the roofers came. The job was impressive and done quickly. Saturday was another beautiful day as I rolled in Friday night again for one last day or two of the week. We did a lot of little projects throughout the week and enjoyed ourselves in the process. We got in a little surveying on the high line to get a feel for where we have to be on the hill. It is going to be an engineering feat as they say. With the Mid Winter Meet coming up real soon we hope to see you out there. See you then.

Here is a link to the pictures. I have found it best to right click and open a new tab for the link. I never profess to know these computers, I just find ways to work around their quirks.