Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Narrow Guage Meet

Great weekend, you missed a good one if you missed this one. Weather, people, trains....
It was a very busy weekend from Thursday through to Monday. Bill Shepherd is in town working on a project up on the 15" but spent some time on the high line mid week and we are getting close to being through the rock moving section above the Tedder Shed. Things around the steaming bays started Thursday too. The Burns', with RGS 41 rolled in from Salinas. John Norquist with his RGS Goose 7 all the way from Upstate New York or Phoenix. The Stites' GE 47 Tonner and Steve Nelson's C-21 fresh out of the paint shop made some track time Thursday. The Thursday night crowd was in full swing by the time Shelli and I got in. Greg and Becky weren't too far ahead of us.
Friday Morning Five of us made a run to Palm Springs Air Museum to see FiFi, presently the only flying B-29, we stayed long enough to get a walk around her and watch the lumbering beast take off; then back up the hill to play trains. Friday I got a chance to get out the 4-4-0 and the Alco but didn't get to run till Saturday. Paul and Celeste Lavacot brought out Goose 6 to round out the RGS faction with the addition of Maywalds #20 to 6,7,20 and 41. Colorado and Southern was well represented with Thompsons 2-6-0 #13 which spent a lot of time out running flawlessly. Anthony Duarte had his 0-4-0 out and ran the wheels a little smaller. Out for it's debut in its new electric drive system and Sumpter Valley Yellow paint job was the Joshua Tree Davenport. After a few years of neglect and attempts to at least stay on the track Matt took the project under wing and got her to roll, and it spent a weekend a while back in tow just to see that it would do that and it was off to the next segment. Greg and Matt worked out an Artzberger drive that works well on the GE's so they adapted that to the Davenport. Right now it is running sans side rods but it still did wonderfully all weekend. It has four batteries under the hood and in the cab so she has some weight to go with the torque. The paint and body work were done by Matt and JT&S #7 starts it's next assignment ready to go.
     The weather was almost too warm the whole weekend, and a jacket was too much for when one was by the fire. The place was green as the wildflowers were still in the growing stages. The Mullberries were pushing out buds and fresh green leaves. By the end of the weekend little yellow flowers were starting to emerge in the sunnier of areas. Wildflower season is near. It was a busy weekend and I do believe most everybody had a good time, plenty of old familiar faces and quite a few new ones too. I hope I didn't miss many. Of course there is a link to my Picasa for a few pictures, not bad for an iphone, and I stole a few from others if I could. Off to Maricopa Live Steamers for a road trip.

Friday, March 6, 2015

All Sorts of Progress

Our resident workaholic, John Griffin, has been tirelessly plugging away on the rocks in our way on the High Line. Affectionately called Gibraltar Numbers 1, 2 &3, John has been trying different methods on each to see which way is best, easiest and looks the most on what we are trying to achieve.
 First and foremost is aesthetics. We are trying very hard not to make our trek up the hill look like a Caltrans project, with a scar up the side of the mountain. We are only trying to move as little as we need to traverse the countryside. Second, we don't mind sweating a little to reach that goal. John likes to get out in the fresh air and has with very little micro management on my part done a prenominal job with what he has chosen to work with. His go at it alone and at his own speed method has shown great progress. Today I was sent many pictures of his latest achievement. Gibraltar number three has now a new name of Half Dome,

as the offending half is now being split up into moveable sizes. The other half, with no need to move will stay put. It's drill marks a lasting testament to only removing what need be.
  Gibraltar number One was taken care of by only removing what was in the way by slowly chiseling away at it till it was below grade or out past our parameters. Number two is still a test bed for a different way of  removing the offending granite. John has had good luck with what are called Wedges and Feathers. A series of holes are drilled in line and the feathers inserted with the wedges in the center of the hole. by hammering the wedges further and evenly the rock splits and becomes a more manageable size. Great work John, see you next weekend.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The End of Track

The end of the year does not signify the end of anything but a calendar. Time marches on and life continues. Just like the end of track over the years out here at the tracks. It is just a line in the sand that we have reached, and after time, unless we look back upon our archives we do not realize how far we have progressed over time; be it a year or a decade. For some of us grey beards that have a few years in this place we talk about things that have been in the ground for ten, twenty and even longer than thirty years. The 7 1/2" started in the hot Summer of 1979. There are pictures of young and even younger working on this railroad. Some are still with us, and some have gone on to other places. But after every time we have gone home from here the end of track is somewhere. Some years it moves often and other years it inches along. Some times it isn't even at an end but where we are working to make this place better for the next time we come out. Enjoy a look back at the progress.

Shelli's View Through the Viewfinder

One of Shelli's interests is photography, and more the process after the picture is taken. The shading, cropping and the like to bring more out of the subject. You know me....good enough picture and it gets the message. Shelli spent a while the last trip out and took a load of pictures, came home and went through them and gave me two dozen to put into her own report of sorts. I do like to use other peoples pictures and to see them because they look through different eyes then mine. Hopefully this will be an ongoing segment in the Joshua Tree files, as wildflower season will be upon us soon and be in full bloom during our upcoming trips to play trains. Enjoy the view from beyond the tracks.