Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Just a quick note before the Thanksgiving weekend. If you get the chance to come out and enjoy the desert this weekend, that is great, we will see you and have a great time. If you don't make it out, I, and all the rest want to wish you a great day wherever you might end up. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rudy Run 2014

This years annual Fall Meet, the Rudy Run was a spectacular event with over a dozen locomotives in attendance and visitors from near and far too boot.
 The Thursday arrivals are getting more and more. Allan and Lynn Ratliff spent the week and with Bill Shepherd's work time in town. Many little projects and clean up items were tackled during the week. I'm sure a lap or two happened with the GE 47 tonner, we'll call that a given. Gary and Margret Stites unloaded the new 'baby'; a few weeks back they travelled up to Utah to make final arrangements and bring home a Mason Bogie 2-6-6T.
She was a steaming bay queen this weekend but promises to be running and gracing the rails soon. There was always a small crowd around it in the steaming bays and turntable area, great acquisition. RGS 41 made it down from Salinas with the Burns'; the transformation of the museum caboose is coming along nicely. Kim Beard even made it down for the weekend and peddled the recumbent around profusely.  Steve Nelson is in the middle of painting his 2-8-0 so the rolling stock made the trip from AZ, and was gladly exercised throughout the weekend. The whole lot of the Maywalds rolled in and their RGS 20 steamed all weekend as did the  SW1500. Paul and Celeste ran their Goose 6 to fill out the roster of RGS equipment. The Colorado & Southern was well represented with the Thompson 2-6-0, Mike and Bruce both made it out and stayed late too. The Barter's met in the middle again, Art rolled out his gondola from the West, and John brought his ten wheeler and train from the East. Erin Swain and family filled out the Flagstaff railroaders. There was a D&RGW 50 in the mix somewhere.
 Friday was a beautiful day and the sweaters if you had one were shed early. Plenty of action on the railroad, with up to eight running at one time. Trains were waiting at all points for their chance to run on the single track sections and things ran like a well oiled watch for a time there.
  The American ran with two different tenders this weekend. Wanting to do some work on the original tender, the tender from my Mogul was brought out. It coupled up nicely as both are Allen products, giving the engine a completely different look. Jerry McPheeters even got to exercise the Alco for a while on Saturday, adding to the engines running at one time on Saturday. Greg Ratliff ran the Plymouth around at some time over the meet, it was busy with something going on at all times.
  Dinners around the railroad are getting popular and on the grill Friday night it was 'Carne Burn', it was bring your favorite Carne Asada and it was cooked over the Oak fire and each built their own tacos from the fixings.
Nobody walked out hungry there. Saturday night was of course Steak Night and again; You bring it, I'll grill it. I think I might have been off on the count, but I got 25 in one head count around the tables at one time. The picnic shelter was throughout the weekend a busy spot unto itself. Always a group of varying size either in conversation over something or a quick respite from the warm weather. Many 'show and tell' items graced a spot on the tables with a group of interested around them throughout the weekend.
 The place was busy with quite a few out for activities on Friday to see the action, they were not disappointed. Saturday was very busy. Terry Watson had a tour of 50 in the early morning, even he admitted that that was like herding cats with a group that big. With another function going on around the full size equipment over Saturday and the 15 inch having a good time on the mesa with a visiting engine in the midst, it was a well utilized space Saturday.
  A good weekend with great weather, people, equipment and attendance. One for the books now, the season has just started for us at Joshua Tree, so plan a time from the calendar and enjoy the High Desert this winter, find out way so many winter around the area from those places that have to shovel snow. If you want to hold a shovel we always have something to do if you are so inclined. Next time out is Thanksgiving and we are planning to get a bit of track laid on the hill. My attempts on Sunday failed other than figuring where the switch will be placed on the next siding. Bill Shepherd moved a few big rocks on our quest uphill and John Griffin has made plenty of good roadbed for us to put down rails. Come out and see the progress and be a part of it as well.  
 A link to my Picasa pictures; https://picasaweb.google.com/Ratsgarage/RudyRun2014November79?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween Opener at Joshua Tree

  I left the porch light off and headed for the High Desert. The Calendar wasn't very kind to us this year and didn't give us two weeks between Halloween and Veteran's Day, this year they are back to back.
   The annual opener has gotten easier over the years with our full time, in his words, 3rd Generation Immigrant Track Worker, John Griffin. He spends all the hot months out here keeping the weeds at bay, filling in the squirrel holes, repairing any rain damage and getting a few miles in on the Freight Motor. Untold trips up and down the High Line slowly excavating or filling as the terrain dictates in our quest to move up the hill. Thanks John, for your activities you have taken on.
   Friday was arrival Day and it looked like a family weekend at the railroad. The day before Friday Allan and Lynn rolled in. Matt "Z" brought up my trailer as he had the big truck and partook of festivities around my house Thursday evening. Greg and Becky made it out in the afternoon too. I got the late start, but Shelli and I made it out by 9:00 and enjoyed a bit of time around the fire barrel before the night ended. The breeze blew a bit Friday night as a storm was rolling in in the low lands. It rained in the Southern California area but not up this way. Saturday morning the breeze abated and the Sun was out much of the day. Some big clouds scudded over, but nothing fell out of them. We kicked a few ties and ran about a bit but for the most part just a nice day to check things out.
  The new gasoline situation, with all its additives that don't fair well with small motors and even more with small motors that sit a while between use has been plaguing my Alco. An upgrade to some of the stuff found around my occupation has solved the problem. After using my Oklahoma credit card to drain the old concoction out of the tank, a fresh tank was refilled and testing resumed. It didn't start missing and stalling after it warmed up and it did start running smoother and stronger. It was even fun to run it as one didn't feel like they didn't know where or when they were to start pushing it to get it back to the barn. The boys were up working on the big stuff, so we went up and offered our support on their project. Enough fun for the day, it was Saturday night, so Steak Night it was. The evening was decently pleasant and not as blustery as the night before.
  Sunday awoke to a beautiful High Desert Day. Probably ordered by the local Chamber of Commerce as it was their Art Tour Weekend and had good connections somewhere. Time was not wasted too much and the 4-4-0 was soon warming to a fire in her belly. Activities around the steaming bays. and lube racks, was busy. The sight was like a full size museum, the turntable aligned with Short line and oddball locomotives, not a mainline high visibility or cookie cutter type engine in the mix. A 4-4-0, an Alco RS-1, Plymouth switcher, GE 47 Tonner, Pacific Electric Steeple Cab Switcher. The worker locomotive that toiled their years in obscurity, not bounding from shore to shore pulling the fastest freight or shiniest varnish.
 The smell of coal smoke filled the compound and soon it was time to run. With four trains running most of the day it was good to see some action around the place. A trip up the High Line with all the trains yielded a convention at the end of line. Then it was back down to the Car Barn to pick up track panels to haul them to the end of track.
Eleven panels made it to the top and we will get to work on them this weekend to extend the track a bit further and to start the siding in that location. A lunch time break found all the trains at Moseley Junction for beans. We ran awhile more till the sun started to head for the edge of the sky and started to hide beyond the hill. It was a great day and we are all looking forward to this weekend for the Rudy Run. Hope to see you there.
 A link to some photos of the weekend, https://picasaweb.google.com/Ratsgarage/JoshuaTreeOpenerNovember122014?authuser=0&feat=directlink