Monday, May 29, 2023

Like Steam Engines?


Union Pacific 4014 Summer Tour

Departing Cheyenne June 7 and returning July 3

The “Big Boy” UP 4000 series were not the largest steam locomotives in the United States. That said, they were among the largest and, arguable, the most successful.

Their design was tailored specifically to the grades and curve radius's of the UP tracks from Cheyenne to Ogden, Utah.


Worth a visit is the railroad depot.


On rare occasions Steam Shop tours can be taken. None are currently scheduled.

A few years ago I was able to take the tour.


Diesel Electric Locomotives

They are not sexy. They are efficient. Steam locomotives are high maintenance. WWII slowed the availability of Diesel Electrics as the power plants, mainly produced by Fairbanks-Morse, were needed for submarines.

The UP and other railroads tried using other kinds of locomotives with marginal success. A/C diesel locomotives are bottom line better. As an example, Amtrak uses D/C locomotives. Reliability is not good and often you see Amtrak with one or more A/C locomotives as back up.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

You will find me somewhere in the vicinity of:

41°15’13.90”N   104°07’23.15”W

As always, YMMV

Wednesday, May 24, 2023



Road Trip

3,000 miles altogether. No major drama, just a lot of windshield time. Some light rain and mainly overcast skies made for an easy drive.

Sights along the way – a ribbon cutting ceremony at a new convenience stop in Colby, KS. Given the country’s current economic picture, I’m amazed anyone is investing in a new business.

Nashville, TN is always a clusterf**k.

A convoy of nine late model Corvettes all doing exactly the speed limit.

Waiting for a tow truck – British Columbia license plate.

Special for Virtual Mirage. Opens at 10:30 so missed it this trip.

Atwood, KS motel. I’ve never stayed there but like the name.

Smoky Mountains

Sunday was left open in case family wanted to get together. Instead, they all headed to the ocean so I took the opportunity to explore some of the Appalachian foothills rural roads. Below is typical. What a great palace to own a sports car or high performance motorcycle.

I’ve seen the area from a light airplane but never from the ground. An interesting drive. Two elk alongside the road. Nearby where I took my feeble attempt at an artsy/crafty photo, a bear was halfway up a tree.

Leaving the park you drive through Pigeon Fork, TN. IMO several ghastly miles of tourist traps.

For the most part when time isn’t a consideration, I stay off the Interstates. Sometimes they are unavoidable. If you do, have maps to check against your GPS.

Between St Francis, KS and Hagler, NE was especially enjoyable. The terrain is hilly and everything was green with cattle grazing. Later, headed West on Highway 34 at a one lane only construction zone, I had the opportunity to contemplate what early settlers contended with.

Banner Report

He spent seven days at Sisty’s. He was overjoyed to see me. When I was putting him in his harness, he was so excited it was like trying to saddle a green bronco. Once back at the apartment he kept busy seeking out the treat suckers and getting lots of pets.


Something different for those who want to relocate away from stress but still want to keep working.


Generations of our extended family have shopped here. At one time my father set up an account there so his younger sisters could buy food.

Damn Cancer

Some sixty+ percent of our extended family have died from cancer, or are currently fighting it. The latest death was an aunt. Now, at Stage Four, is a cousin. A Vietnam Navy UDT veteran, he just turned 80.

For the record, since childhood, we have never liked each other. No real reason; just one of those things.

Home on leave in Boise, ID, he saved a life. A boy fell into a concrete lined irrigation canal with no way to climb out. Gene jumped in, grabbed the boy, and they went through five head gates before finding a place to climb out.

As always, YMMV

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Graduation AAR


Five hundred twenty four 2023 Graduates of the Boiling Springs, S.C. High School. The curse of alphabetic order when your last name is White.

Crystal gets her diploma

Returning to her seat.

Beautiful young woman

Victory Lunch

Baby brother, graduate, and stepmother.

The Boyfriend

A Navy PO3, he finished 52 weeks of Nuclear Power School two days before her graduation. His next assignment is a welding school then Bangor, WA and assignment to a SSBN. He impressed me with his demeanor.

Granddaughter will attend Emery-Riddle in Florida to become an Aerospace Engineer.  An Honor Student since 1st grade, she has earned a six figure scholarship and a five figure grant. This will allow her to get her degree without incurring crippling debt or needing to go the ROTC route.

With her in Florida and him in Washington state, I see a lot of frequent flyer miles.


My principal motivation for driving 1,600 miles to be there was twofold. First, her Dad and my son died four years ago. I wanted to be there in his place, as much as possible. Second, to let her know in person how proud all of us in the family are of her and in awe of her accomplishments.


She was so pleased to hear commentators on this blog saying BZ. She offered a sincere thank you.

The trip

To be covered in a future blog.

Mission Accomplished, Back in Battery, AAR to Follow

Monday, May 15, 2023

1941 Studebaker


A used car dealer lives nearby and often has interesting vehicles parked at his home.


The Econazis that have Californicated Colorado make Front Range residents vehicles pass an emission test before plates can be renewed.

My son’s car needed a catalytic converter replaced. The Colorado compliant fix is over $1,800. His car now has a new, non Colorado compliant catalytic converter installed by a Wyoming muffler shop.

Cost? 1/3 and a vacation day.

The Cheyenne muffler shop manager told me he does at least a dozen Colorado cars a month.

The check stations rarely open the hood and never crawl under a vehicle that I’ve ever seen.

Climate Anxiety 

Surprising to see this coming out of the University of the People’s Republic of Boulder, aka University of Colorado and the Denver Pravda, aka the Denver Post.


Always something to alarm the younger generation, isn’t it? In my day it was nuclear war. Around age eight I worried that every contrail I saw was a Soviet bomber on the way to nuke Denver.

Business Vision, Not!

When the coffee/espresso craze started, I was living in the Seattle area. After careful analysis I concluded it was a fad and nobody would stand in line to pay $1.25 for a cup of coffee. Most certainly my cheap ass wouldn’t.

While talking about this to my former boss in the car biz, he said in his young days he couldn’t understand why anyone would pay for water when it was free everywhere. Then he stood up, went to a storage closet and showed me several cases of bottled water.

The picture was taken Mother’s Day morning.

Off on the road for eight days. See you when I get back.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Rain, and more Rain

 Semi-arid Great Plains

The “official” description of the lands East of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Not this May. In the four years I’ve lived in this location, this 12’ deep retaining pond has never held more than a foot of water.

The good news is the rain has been steady which should help fill reservoirs and perhaps aid failing aquifers.

Potential bad news is a rare repeat of those years the monsoons arrive early with the mountain snow pack not yet melted.

My work takes me on many unpaved county roads. There is a reason I run aggressive Mud+Snow tires year around.


As this is posted it is still raining. Banner, a lab mix, hates water.

Just because there is a disaster doesn’t mean someone doesn’t prosper

8/12/2015 an EPA orchestrated disaster released millions of mining waste into a branch of the Rio Grande River.


Who prospered? Excerpt from the article.

Butler estimated that cleanup costs in the area could total $300 million, though he acknowledged much of the money goes towards attorney fees and documenting the damage rather than physical cleanup.

At the time the EPA had on staff 1,000 lawyers but not a single mining engineer.

Even less blogging and comments

An eight day road trip coming up. The older laptop will accompany me but no certainty of connections along the way.

Hinting Firearm Confiscation Required?


Instead, build more prisons and put violent offenders away, IMO.

Thank you for your service

Pitchpull's  blog has an entry about military service and Vietnam.


That stirred a memory. Steve Earl’s song, Copper Head Road, has a line, “Round here they draft the white trash first”.

My senior class had 42 graduates. The “upper crust males” went to college and ROTC. What were the odds, without some string pulling, that every one of them went to Germany instead of Vietnam? They graduated college in 1965/66.

Colorado Politics

This year’s legislative session is over, thankfully.


Our buffoon senior senator. Probably hasn’t a clue where the Republican River is located.



My mortgage assignments are, for the moment, about pre COVID level. Hopefully I won’t come back from the road trip and find two pages of assignments.

Middle son contributes

As always, YMMV

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Road Tripping

In eleven days a granddaughter graduates from High School in South Carolina. I plan to be there. She has been an honor student since 1st grade. Joining the NJROTC at her high school she has risen in rank to LTC. In addition, she was in the marching band.

To my knowledge, she is the only officer of any kind in our extended family.

Her older brother is a 5th generation Army soldier.

Most likely, she will be in the military. Her future is bright!

But, and there is always a but, there is a boyfriend, currently an enlisted sailor.

Sisty always accuses me of over thinking. I call it careful planning.

 Regretfully, Banner will stay with Sisty. He road trips easily and is no burden. I will miss him. My primary reason for not taking him is his safety.

 My late son, the Medic, would be so proud. He fought so hard to create a safe place for her to grow up. The birth mother was, and probably still is, bat shit crazy. Many thousands of dollars were spent permanently ending her parental rights. Money well spent.

I will be driving, just under 1,600 miles each way. I loathe the whole commercial air travel experience. Been there, done that, for too many years.

Friday, May 5, 2023

The Dog

Banner Report

As we move around the apartment complex residents will call out, “It’s Banner! And Frank”. That seems to carry over to those who read this blog. Inquiring minds want to know.

He is not allowed bones. His jaws are so powerful he breaks them into pieces and swallows them. He has had more than one trip to the vet because of this. Rawhide? It will take him maybe twenty minutes to breakup and swallow.

After trying several chew toys, Banner was most content with Benebone Wishbone for Aggressive Chewers from Amazon.

Several neighbors love giving him treats. Rather than make an issue, I provide the treats for them to give him. This controls what he eats, so only four per day of these are needed.

His favorite Abuela.

“Now Banner, sit”, and he does.

Not Law Enforcement’s Finest Hour


For many rural counties and small towns, the choices of who to hire will come down to who is available and is willing to take the job.

 That is not to excuse the actions of the officers in this case, should the real facts be as reported.

 Back In the Day

E-3 starter kit.

 Refreshing Truth


 News about rare earth elements sources in Wyoming might mean an end to China’s near monopoly.

 One company, Ramco Resources, is trying to open a coal mine near Sheridan, WY for raw stock for producing graphine.


They have recently announced finding seams of concentrated rare earths within layers of coal.

 Another large find is the Halleck Creek Project.

 Bright future? Doubtful, with China owning the Biden Family Criminal Enterprise.

As always,  YMMV.