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Kevin's Coast to Coast Hobby Shop Adventure

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Posted by MapGuy42 on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 11:12 AM

I am thoroughly enjoying this travelogue.  Excellent photography!  Someday I will make a similar road trip, but right now I'm still a youngun' with kids in school and 20 years of work ahead of me.

I must add my voice to those that suggest you stop at the California State Railroad Museum (if not this trip, then someday).  Lots of great equipment inside and out, and a great running toy train exhibit.  Particularly right now they have a focus on the anniversary of the Golden Spike (including one of the actual spikes). The excursion train they offer is not too exciting, though, you wouldn't miss anything by skipping it.

Also, in nearby Roseville is my LHS, Railroad Hobbies.  Not much in the used front, but it's a well-stocked train store, with decent regular hours (M-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-4).  Across the street is the north end of the UP yard, and Southern Pacific 2252 and a rotary snowplow on display.

Local eats suggestion: Pacific Street Cafe (breakfast or lunch) in Roseville (other side of the yard).

I look forward to your journey up the west coast!

-Donn

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Posted by Tonymm on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 7:29 PM

Kevin,

Amazing trip and very enjoyable to follow along.  The photography, food, birds, and most of all the attitude to explore and enjoy are combining nicely for a memorable time.

Tony

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Posted by ROCK MILW on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:31 PM

RioGrande5761: I also attended Indiana University Geologic Field Station, summer of 1994. Did the same route as you.  I still have all my geologic maps that I made. Loved it. I imagined what it was like to see those Milwaukee Road freights rolling along the Jefferson River. Some of the catenary poles were still standing. When were you there?

Kevin: I am really enjoying your travelogue.  Truly a trip of a lifetime.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 11:24 PM

SPSOT fan
Just out of curiosity how active are you in the live steam hobby?

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Not very active at all. The Mikado is really just a frame, drivers, and side rods. Still a very long way to go. It was started as a project when all three girls were at home and I have no room for a train layout. It was something I could work on in the garage.

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As soon as daughter #1 left home, I started on the "spare bedroom" STRATTON AND GILLETTE, and no progress has been made on the Mikado since. I have collected more parts for it. I have the lead and trailing trucks, but they are not machined yet.

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I also have a balance problem with the frame.

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I have considered scrapping the Mikado idea and going with a full-kit ten wheeler instead.

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I have been a member of the Florida Live Steamers off-and-on for 35 years.

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MapGuy42
Excellent photography! I must add my voice to those that suggest you stop at the California State Railroad Museum (if not this trip, then someday). 

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Thank you for the compliment. I have taken over 2,000 pictures so far. Only a select few are good. I will be at the Sacramento Railroad Museum tomorrow.

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Tonymm
Amazing trip and very enjoyable to follow along.  The photography, food, birds, and most of all the attitude to explore and enjoy are combining nicely for a memorable time.

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Thank you! I am truly having the time of my life. Today I could hear hundreds of birds in the Malibu Creek State Park, but I could not see a single one of them.

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ROCK MILW
I am really enjoying your travelogue.  Truly a trip of a lifetime.

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Yes it is. Half way through right now. Stay tuned.

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 2, 2019 1:05 AM

Day 13:

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This day had a bad start. The oil needed to be changed on the rental car, so I spent the first part of the day at a Buick dealer in Pasadena. The dealership was great, but just not what I wanted to do on the first part of a vacation day.

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Then I finally made it to The Original Whistle Stop in Pasadena, California. Several days ago I started at Ready To Roll in Miami, so it is official, this is a real coast-to-coast hobby shop adventure.

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I had a good find at The Original Whistle Stop. They had a GM&O brass caboose in their case for sale. This is the model I use as the standard STRATTON AND GILLETTE caboose, and this is the tenth one I have. Great score and lucky find.

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Then we kept going Westward. What do you know? If you go far enough West, there is another ocean on the other side of the United States, and you cannot go any further. I have finally seen the Pacific!

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After we left Santa Monica Beach we drove the Pacific Coast Higway way up past Malibu. The we went off of the expressways all the way to Bakersfield, California. This took about 5 hours, but it was so worth it. We saw scenery in the Los Padres National Forest that were incredible.

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The butterlfies were out in force, in swarms! I must have killed hundreds of them with the Impala.

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Outside of Bakersfield I saw this line of covered hoppers. Nothing special, but the only real trains I saw all day.

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I think I chose the wrong hotel in Bakersfield. This Hampton Inn is on the wrong side of the tracks near a 24 hour seedy truckstop. I have no idea why a new hotel was built here.

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We ate at In-N-Out burgers for dinner. When I was young, 40 years ago, there was an In-N-Out in Gainesville. I used to ride my bike there and get a burger sometimes in the mid 1970s. 

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I thought finding an In-N-Out would help me relive youthful memories, but no, it just was not the same.

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This was the best picture of the day. I have to say that California is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I see why so many people are drawn to the Los Angeles area. There is so much fantastic beauty everywhere. I love all the colors in this one, it looks so much like a fantasy world that it does not even look real.

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, May 2, 2019 3:19 AM

 

Oh, I see some live poultry cars in that display case!

 Sigh Not for sale! Crying

Nice find on the caboose, though.

I've always wanted to try an In-N-Out Burger ever since I heard about them mentioned in "The Big Lebowski" but I suppose I'll never get the chance. If you don't mind me sayin, those fries look a little anemic for my tastes. I like 'em a little longer in the hot fat!

 

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, May 2, 2019 10:23 AM

You should have kept to the coast, at least two steam trains and spectacular veiws. Also near San Francisco you are only 4 hr from Yosemite National Forest.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 2, 2019 11:55 PM

gmpullman
If you don't mind me sayin, those fries look a little anemic for my tastes. I like 'em a little longer in the hot fat!

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The fries were certainly not the kind I like either. I like them about twice as thick, crispy brown, and piping hot.

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rrebell
You should have kept to the coast, at least two steam trains and spectacular veiws.

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We are trying to see as many different areas as possible. Agriculture fascinates me, and California is obviously the king of all things farm related.

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

  • Member since
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 3, 2019 12:12 AM

Day 14:

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This day started off badly, then did not swing back to the good side. The truck next to my car was broken into at the hotel last night. They did not break into my car, but they threw things from the truck onto my car. There is a good sized ding in the passenger door, and a few small scuffs on the roof and trunk lid. I don't think anything is bad enough for National to consider damage, but it was still annoying.

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We hit bad traffic back ups while we were leaving Bakersfield due to construction. We did not make it to the California Railroad Museum in Sacramento until after 1:00, which was far behind schedule.

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Then, there were about 500 poorly supervised eight year olds running around the museum. The noise was terrible, and my nerves were pressed to the limit with the screaming and yelling.

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We did not even try to get inside the Pullman and Dining Car on display. I also could not get in the cab of the Cab-Forward locomotive. If anyone ever asks, yes, 10 eight year olds can fit in the cab of a SOUTHERN PACIFIC 4-8-8-2 if they need to.

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I was quite excited to see this display. It is an F7 with the side panels all removed so you can see under the hood. I was unaware the air compressor was driven from the main generator. I have always wanted to see something exactly like this.

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Plus... The kids were not intersted in this at all!

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We walked once around Old Sacramento, and I made a new friend.

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We drove to Roseville, but we were there too late to try the restaurant that Donn suggested. We ended up just grabbing some drive through, but they told us to park the car, then they forgot about us. After ten minutes I went inside to get our food which was sitting on the counter.

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I had to get gas, but I pulled into a gas station that does not take credit cards, WHAT? When I cancelled the sale after inserting my card, the credit card company shut down the card for suspected fraud. I had to clear that up, which was another test of my patience, then I went to a different gas station.

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By the time I finally made it to Railroad Hobbies, my wife and I were on our nervous ends. It is a great store, but my mood for the day was killed and I could not properly enjoy it.

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They actually have an historical identification plaque for their store. That is pretty cool. I bought a couple items that were on my "should purchase" list.

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The farmland in California is simply amazing. The immense diversity of the crops that are grown is staggering. The trees, orchards, fields, and groves are all in perfect shape and I was so impressed. I saw grapes, walnuts, almonds, oranges, rice, and so on, and so on. There was work going on everywhere.

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The farmland scenery is so picturesque. I was thrilled.

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I stopped at a roadside stand and bought strawberries, mangoes, and oranges. This is what I had for dinner.

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My favorite picture of the day is this out of service building in farm country.

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I need to sleep this day off, and get ready for a new day tomorrow.

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Friday, May 3, 2019 12:29 AM

Nice to see you made it to the California State Railroad Museum, a big shame it was spoiled by less that desirable conditions, though I hope you still enjoyed it.

I really want to get down there some day. I’ve heard they have Nevada Copper Belt motorcar number 21 in storage there (it used to be on display but, from what I’ve heard it must have been less popular, because it got moved to the back). NCR’s motor cars are a favorite of mine and I wish I could see one someday.

Keep having fun Kevin!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 3, 2019 1:28 AM

SPSOT fan
Nice to see you made it to the California State Railroad Museum, a big shame it was spoiled by less that desirable conditions,

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The same thing happened when I visited the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry... hundreds of kids running around... it happens.

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They had five pre-1900 locomotives in the museum. In a shed out back, locked in a cage, they had a lot of really neat stuff I could barely see off of display. I don;t know if they change out the displays in the museum or not.

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There was a Santa Fe 4-8-4 in the yard being worked on. That was great to see.

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I did not notice your motor car.

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Friday, May 3, 2019 1:34 AM

I’m quite certain it is in that shed out back locked in a cage. My grandpa once called the museum to see what color the car was originally painted and the caretaker was able to go out and look at it so it’s back there somewhere. It seems a shame to me that a mueseum must have stuff in fine conditio, but not on display.

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, May 3, 2019 2:50 AM

Bench. by Bear, on Flickr

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, May 3, 2019 9:19 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
gmpullman
If you don't mind me sayin, those fries look a little anemic for my tastes. I like 'em a little longer in the hot fat!

 

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The fries were certainly not the kind I like either. I like them about twice as thick, crispy brown, and piping hot.

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rrebell
You should have kept to the coast, at least two steam trains and spectacular veiws.

 

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We are trying to see as many different areas as possible. Agriculture fascinates me, and California is obviously the king of all things farm related.

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-Kevin

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In and out fries can be well done, it is part of their secret menu (not so secret), just ask when you order just ask for "well done fries".

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Posted by Southgate on Friday, May 3, 2019 2:09 PM

One thing I was watching for in your trek through the Sacramento area is to see if you'd find a better hobby shop than anything I could find when visiting family each summer there. Do you recommend this Railroad Hobbies shop?

I'm sorry the RR museum was over run by kiddos. I took some pictures through the bars also last time I was there of the cool stuff in that locked up shed. That Santa Fe engine is sure looking better than last time I saw it. Boy, wouldn't ya love to have gone over to the Sacramento Shops across the river, where SP used to build and repair the big-guns?  I hope you saw it from I-5

Some of the pics you posted remind me of my early childhood in SoCal.  Yep, That big ol' puddle of water has been there all along, at least al long as I can remember! I can still remember that awful taste of the first time I accidently swallowed a gulp of salt water.

Enjoy the trip north. Honk when ya get to the Highway 58 cutoff just south of Eugene. Maybe I'll hear ya from Bend, just over that little line of bumps (Cascades)

Um, while we're on the subject, Eugene Toy and Hobby is nice shop. Not huge, but still the best shop I know of in Oregon till you get to Portland. Tell 'em Dan in Bend sent ya, should you make it in. 

For what it's worth, what's left of the old Southern Pacific engine terminal in Eugene is now owned by a rather informal local shortline. I went up and asked at the diesel shop there if I could go out and take pix of the BIG turntable, sanding towers, etc. They said yes. I could even drive my car around over to get there. Probably not worth the time it might take you in your schedule though.

Dan

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 4, 2019 2:54 AM

Attuvian
If you stop in Portland, OR there are two quality "all-trains" shops. The Hobby Smith is just off I-80 at the Cesar Chavez (39th Ave.) exit. Whistle Stop Trains is 12 minutes away, a mile east of I-205 on Division. Don't forget to hit the cast-off/consignment closet at the latter.

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I decided to make the trip over to Redwood National Park this morning, and did not get to Portland until 9:00 PM. I had to miss both hobby shops.

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Sad

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JaBear
BEARTOON

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Great toon Bear! Very funny.

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rrebell
just ask when you order just ask for "well done fries".

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I do the same thing at Five Guys.

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Southgate
Do you recommend this Railroad Hobbies shop? I took some pictures through the bars also last time I was there of the cool stuff in that locked up shed. That Santa Fe engine is sure looking better than last time I saw it. Boy, wouldn't ya love to have gone over to the Sacramento Shops across the river, where SP used to build and repair the big-guns? Honk when ya get to the Highway 58 cutoff just south of Eugene.

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Railroad Hobbies is a very good shop. It took about 35 minutes to drive there from Sacramento. I really wish I could have gotten access to that shed. The Santa Fe Northerns have long been favorites of mine, I think because of the N scale Bachmann model. I got to go in the back shops at the Spencer Railroad Museum, awesome. I did not blow my horn, too late at night, sorry.

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Saturday, May 4, 2019 2:59 AM

SeeYou190

I decided to make the trip over to Redwood National Park this morning, and did not get to Portland until 9:00 PM. I had to miss both hobby shops.

Sad

Nooo! Crying

I hope you’ll get to them tomorrow... if you’ve got time...

What a loss! Portland has some of the best hobby shops in the area! You can’t miss them!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 4, 2019 3:02 AM

SPSOT fan
I hope you’ll get to them tomorrow... if you’ve got time...

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I can't... tomorrow is another daughter day in Seattle.

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I hate having to make choices. Why can't I have unlimited time and money?

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

  • Member since
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 4, 2019 3:07 AM

Day 15:

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No trains or hobby shops today. We decided to make the trip to the Redwood National Park, and that was a good long ways off of course.

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We started in the National Forests in the Shasta region of Northern California.

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The Impala is beginning to look right at home in the mountains.

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Then we went West to Redwood National Park. The Redwoods are incredible, but they are almost impossible to photograph. They make a nearly full canopy across the sky, and block out a lot of the sunlight.

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I saw two terrible pieces of scenery building today in Northern California.

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Look at the terrible job with these rock castings. You can see the joints between the individual mold sections, and the coloring is not realistic at all. It looks like the rocks on the right were just stained with olive green paint and dry brushed with gloss white. There is no attempt to blend the coloring together. It just abruptly changes from brown to green. Green rocks??? Terrible modeling.

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How about this toy like model of a church? It is obviously just a bright shiny plastic model that was molded in color. There is not any weathering, and the ground cover does not even fully cover the building base. I don't even think this is an American prototype church building. I don't usually criticize other people's modelling, but someone was really cutting corners on the realism here.

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This is my favorite picture of the day. We saw this neat old railroad bridge. It turns out is was part of a hiking trail, so I walked back and forth across it.

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I am spending the next day with my middle daughter in Seattle, so I doubt I will have very much to report.

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Stay tuned...

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Saturday, May 4, 2019 5:37 AM

SeeYou190

This is my favorite picture of the day. We saw this neat old railroad bridge. It turns out is was part of a hiking trail, so I walked back and forth across it. 

  

Wow, that railroad bridge is quite a find!

Kevin (or anyone else), do you know what railroad once used it? Was there a sign or something by the bridge giving more information?

It looks pretty light and small, was it perhaps a logging line, that doesn’t look quite like class one construction to me.

Continue to enjoy Kevin’s adventure!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, May 4, 2019 5:43 PM

What a great time!  Wish I could take a trip like this!

York1 John       

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, May 5, 2019 1:40 AM

SPSOT fan
Wow, that railroad bridge is quite a find! Kevin (or anyone else), do you know what railroad once used it? Was there a sign or something by the bridge giving more information?

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There was no marking or information.

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I am guessing it was a railroad bridge based on its size, and because it was part of a hiking trail, many of which are Rails To Trails.

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York1
What a great time!  Wish I could take a trip like this!

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I have wanted to do this for a LONG time. It is a great time.

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

  • Member since
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, May 5, 2019 1:48 AM

Day 16:

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We made it to Seattle to hang out with my baby and her husband.

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No trains today, but I did get to ride this Monorail to the Space Needle. That is close enough for today.

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The Space Needle was a thrill to be sure. What a view!

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We ate dinner at a little Seattle restaurant that specializes in Southern Home Cooking. The biscuit and gravy were the best I have ever had. The collard greens were perfect.

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Then we had some beer at a local brewery called Optimism. The ABV was a bit high, and I had a great time.

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This is my favorite picture today. We were going through old family photographs and we found this one of a young strapping guy working on a Shrimp Boat in South Florida. What a handsome lad.

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-Kevin

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Living the dream.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Sunday, May 5, 2019 3:14 AM

SeeYou190

No trains today, but I did get to ride this Monorail to the Space Needle. That is close enough for today.

What!? No trains in Seattle!

You must be too busy with other things to check all the rail stuff Seattle has to offer. Sad Sounders, Cascades, Amtrak, BNSF, UP, the list never ends. I hope you get a chance to check something out besides the monorail before you leave!

SeeYou190

 

 
SPSOT fan
Wow, that railroad bridge is quite a find! Kevin (or anyone else), do you know what railroad once used it? Was there a sign or something by the bridge giving more information?

 

There was no marking or information.

I am guessing it was a railroad bridge based on its size, and because it was part of a hiking trail, many of which are Rails To Trails.

A shame there was no markings. I do agree with you though, it looks railroady!

I think it looks like a lighter railroad bridge, so I guess it was once shortline or logging line.

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, May 5, 2019 12:30 PM

SeeYou190
No trains today, but I did get to ride this Monorail to the Space Needle. That is close enough for today.

Kevin, you were very smart to ride the Monorail to get to the Space Needle.  My wife and I made the mistake of driving to the Needle.

After spending lots of time trying to find a place to park (garages were all full), we spent time at the glass museum and other attractions.

Then the real fun started.  At 3:00 p.m., we tried to get to I-5 to go south, using Mercer St.

We didn't realize that 27 million other cars had the same idea.  I'm not exaggerating -- it took two hours.  I'm sure Seattle people know some shortcuts, but once we got into the traffic, there was no way out of it but to move one car length every 5 - 10 minutes.

Looks like you're  having a great trip!  Lots of us envious people on this forum!

York1 John       

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Sunday, May 5, 2019 12:39 PM

Yes, Seattle traffic is terrible! Especially on the highways! You’ve got to budget a bunch of extra time in that city!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Sunday, May 5, 2019 12:41 PM

Now is a monorail really a full train, or is it only half a train?

Yes, the great philosophical questions of railroading!

 

 

So is a 3rd rail electric one and a half trains?

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, May 5, 2019 3:52 PM

SeeYou190

Day 16:

We ate dinner at a little Seattle restaurant that specializes in Southern Home Cooking. The biscuit and gravy were the best I have ever had. The collard greens were perfect.

Kevin,

You're in salmon country...and you eat southern cuisine???  Nothing against southern cooking (I grew up in the south and love it) but...that's just SO wrong. Tongue Tied

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by blackpowder1956 on Sunday, May 5, 2019 4:04 PM

Kevin, the best place to see trains in Seattle is at the BNSF yard at Interbay. My son's family lives in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle real close to the railyard. I always bring a camera when I visit.

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, May 5, 2019 5:07 PM

tstage
 
SeeYou190

Day 16:

We ate dinner at a little Seattle restaurant that specializes in Southern Home Cooking. The biscuit and gravy were the best I have ever had. The collard greens were perfect.

 

 

Kevin,

You're in salmon country...and you eat southern cuisine???  Nothing against southern cooking (I grew up in the south and love it) but...that's just SO wrong. Tongue Tied

Tom 

LaughLaughLaughLaughLaughLaugh

As Jackie Childs, Kramer's attorney on Seinfeld, used to say, and I paraphrase, "Dinner in Seatle without King Salmon, that is simply "lewd, lascivious, salacious, outrageous".

Rich


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