Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Shucky Darn

Springtime in the Rockies. I look forward to putting away this snow rake I’ve had for nearly two decades.

Back in the day in the car biz, we would start with windshields. Every windshield of our 150-200 car inventory was cleared. This was to let the public know, “We are open, by God!”, in the words of one manager. Later one person stayed inside to answer the phone and everyone else was out clearing the inventory. Not sad those days are behind me.

Always found it ironic they were made in Florida. Wonder where the prototypes were tested?

This two day storm isn’t hitting us as hard as Wyoming. Wyoming has the potential to be “interesting” next Saturday.

The Union Pacific will be double heading two steam engines, a restored “Big Boy” 4014 and the ever popular UP 844 along with diesel electric engines and baggage, tool, generator and passenger cars from Cheyenne to Ogden, UT to commemorate the 150th Anniversary Golden Spike Event.

The Central Pacific Railroad, built from California East met the Union Pacific built from Omaha West at Promontory, UT.

Called the Transcontinental Railroad, it wasn’t, but other railroads had reached Omaha so it was feasible to ship coast to coast.

Why will it be “interesting”? Wyoming mud and thousands of railfans trying to find good places to view the train from dirt roads may be a bonanza for tow truck operators.

The forecast is for clearing starting Thursday. Not enough time to dry the dirt tracks/roads enough for vehicles.

My tentative plan is to watch from near Tie Siding, WY where I watched the “Big Boy” being towed back to Cheyenne for restoration.

 If that isn’t feasible then it is on to Medicine Bow or Ft Steele. Both will probably be crowded. Fallback location will be Sinclair, WY.

From there it is off to Maybell, CO via Baggs, WY for a family gathering during the Great American Horse Drive. Few of us care much about seeing 500+ horses but it is a good excuse for a get-together.  

My sister and her sister from another mother will be there and will try to take in a Ute Nation ceremony in the Sand Wash. Roads will probably be marginal but Sisty’s mighty F-150 is equipped to handle them.

“Sis” feels a special affinity for Native Americans and Sisty has a big heart for all people. I may or may not join them.

All this can change based on my Thursday visit to the VA Urology Clinic in Cheyenne for “tests”. Another rant coming?

If not this Saturday, the steamers are scheduled back May 17th. I do want to see them. Maybe twice?

On one of the Facebook groups someone asked why the UP spends what may be $1,000,000+ on steam engines. One responder said the steam engines are to the UP what the Clydesdales are to Budweiser.  Given the overall UP hardnosed approach to cost containment, he is probably correct. Whatever the reason, I’m glad they do it.

Back to the storm. Heavy, wet spring snow is great for vegetation and aquifers. A green Wyoming is always a treat for the eyes.


Fredd said...

Never seen a 'Big Boy' up close. Heard they are humongous. Got 5 inches of heavy wet snow on Saturday here near Chicago, it's gone now. Still cold, though. I live in a hell hole

Well Seasoned Fool said...

In your general area you can see one on display in Green Bay, St. Louis, and Omaha.

LL said...

I'm working in SoCal this week, so the weather is -- eternal summer --. But I can relate, WSF. I'm looking forward to doing some sort of steam train trip (the touristy kind) this summer, sometime. I'm with you. They are just too cool.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Not steam, but bucket list is riding the California Zephyr. Maybe just to Glenwood Springs and back but hopefully to Emmeryville, then catch the Coastal Starlight to Seattle.

Old NFO said...

Looking forward to your pics, I hope to one day see it in person! Enjoy the time with family!

Brig said...

WSF, I sure hope you get to take your train trips. I've taken the Zephyr from Emmeryville to Reno, spectacular! and the Coast Starlight from Chico, CA to Centralia, WA, wonderful trip. There is a fun steam train trip out of Ely, Nevada http://nnry.com/pages/trainride.php

Well Seasoned Fool said...

All my crazy cousins. Pics will be posted.

I've only done Seattle-Portland-Seattle. My oldest so does it every year at Christmas time - relatives in the Portland area.