Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sweetheart of a Weekend at Joshua Tree

This past weekend had Valentine's Day in it too, and the weather cooperated like a sweetheart. A t-shirt was good enough and even at night one did not need to bundle as they did earlier. This years Standard Gauge Meet was about standard; those that came out had a blast, we had up to six running at one time. John Barter brought out both the Ten Wheeler and the Consolidation for runs on the track. He even brought his Davenport 50 for dragging things around. All three saw some time on the railroad. Art and Claudia Barter pack the Shay in their truck and it ran around all weekend as well. Allan and Lynn Ratliff of course had the trusty GE 47 tonner, Jerry McPheeters has the Edwards Motor Car all dialed in and it ran quite a bit. Greg Ratliff was running JT&S #7 and it continues to run like a top. I hadn't ran the 4-4-0 since New Years and it was time to run. With six on the track at one time and all heads up operators we had everybody spaced out and as one pulled into the siding your approaching train was doing the same. It was running smoothly, and then of course it's lunch time, butt break, a trip up the high line and enough for a while and the rhythm falls apart....but is was neat to keep up one's end of the schedule and keep things running smoothly.
Bill Shepherd is back in town and it did not take him any time at all to be back at the task of the Conley Mansion. Saturday the Mud Sills were drilled and bolted down after he put the finishing touches of the concrete tops. By Sunday evening two of the wooden walls were standing, by Monday afternoon there was sheeting on two walls to keep things square and plumb. Doing a great job Bill. Tom Arnold was out for a few days and left Sunday morning.  John Griffin has been working on the station curve retaining wall as we have plenty of fill dirt real close by.
The Saturday night Steak Night burned well, Jerry had brought some of his Nipomo Red Oak for the fire and the steaks were great tasting too. Saturday after running we got together and mixed concrete and filled the wall cells of the retaining wall at the loading area. Bill Shepherd will be putting hand rails on the wall for keeping us from stepping into the wrong level of the wash. Continued nick nack clean up of the area and housekeeping chores that have been neglected were the order of things to do. Sunday Shelli and I ran loads of rocks and boulders from the switchback siding area down to the retaining wall project at the station curve so John Griffin didn't have to. The siding area is all cleared now and when we get all the pieces for switches and time and talent they can go in.
Sunday night was Trash Can Tri Tip night and I tried out my new quarter barrel for only doing one or two tri tips. It was a success and the six for dinner polished off two tri tips and put a real good dent in the fixings too.
It was a great weekend and plenty of good people, great trains, and beautiful weather. Things are greening up and the flowers are starting to grow, the Joshua Trees are starting to bloom we noticed on the way out Monday; the Narrow Gauge Meet on March 10-13 should be colorful. See you then.

Here is a link to pictures from John Griffin and I taken over the weekend.