Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Fine Winter day in the High Desert

 Punxsutawney Phil needs to move to the High Desert. He would care less if there was six more weeks of Winter if he was sunning himself on a rock at Joshua Tree.
  It was a beautiful weekend among the budding trees including a few Joshua Trees. The Mulberries are a tad confused and by next time will be in leaves; what the Quail don't get to as they are running around with new broods too. Lizards of all sizes had found a favorite rock for the day. Spring is on its way out here.
   President's weekend is the Standard Gauge Meet and we had six of them running and of course the GE 47 tonner too. The Barter boys came from both directions for a weekend of running dirt up the hill. I had to call off the drop bottom Barter Coal loads as we had raised the track far enough above the upper trestle. Bill Shepherd was back at building the turntable wall so it went there instead.
  John Barter came west with his 4-6-0 and Art came east with his 3-truck Shay. Of course plenty of cars as well to fill out the vehicles; the wooden drop bottom gondolas are always a hit around here. We can't wait for the 2 1/2" scale versions to go behind the 2-8-0's they are working on. I brought out the American and the Alco got a running too, the Barter boys used it Saturday afternoon with the drop bottoms and it looked good. Matt Z' had his juice jack pulling more than it's far share and a new visitor from the LA area with a little four wheeled electric locomotive as well as an engine he ran on the "G" scale for the day, Robert Guzman and his son.
  Greg and Becky made it out for the weekend to round out the Ratliff family. A surprise visit from Tom Gazsi was even in the works for the weekend. John Griffin has been hard at work with the Freight Motor as the upper High Line ballasting job has come along nicely. Bill Shepherd has been in town a few weeks and projects throughout the facility are surfacing the longer he is here. Expect to see him through the Narrow Gauge Meet.
 As mentioned the Narrow Gauge Meet is coming up, March 7-10, it is building up to be quite the show, Allan was roped into the Wagonmaster job and he says that all spots to camp are full. If you aren't on the list you better talk real nice and you might get to stay south of Hwy 62.
   We did do a little work on the hill, as John his been adding fill along side the track and ballasting the grade, we kicked the track a little closer to the mountain and it looks wonderful. A quick run with the Laser Level has us within acceptable tolerance's and the next 135 feet of track has steel stakes driven to help the grading process. We are into an area we haven't been in for a while; we need to cut out and remove rock so we can keep a close to flat grade for a siding before we get into the trestle district coming up. This is the last of the pre-graded high line before we get into terra incognito as we work ourselves up the side of the mountain. The grade was completed rough about thirty years ago an we have finally gotten there. We have done quite well working ourselves up the high line with a lot of help from the members, I'm sure we will get a lot further with continued help.
 A link at the bottom for pictures and as usual if you have any questions an E-mail at ratsgarage@yahoo.com will most usually get you an answer. See you at the Narrow Gauge Meet. Brian