Searles Junction and The Fremont Valley

Hard to believe but I haven’t posted in two months……..

I had to run to Ridgecrest to get a new prescription filled for Missus ORPO. The base didn’t even know if they could order it so I hit Rite Aid here in Cal City this morning. The closest one with it was in Ridgecrest.

I decided to take the Trusty Nikon today. The following are shots from the return trip……


The Lone Pine Branch ends beyond. This was the line that the Nisei and Issei were transported on to Manzanar.


Senior photography on train tracks – illegal & deadly – WFSB 3 Connecticut

It’s a nationwide problem that railroad companies are looking to solve, and it all starts with a camera.


It’s a nationwide problem that railroad companies are looking to solve, and it all starts with a camera.

Getting on the tracks is very dangerous and outright stupid.

Read more:

raphy on train tracks – illegal & deadly – WFSB 3 Connecticut

Desert Sunrise 21 August 2015

I left the house earlier than usual as the sun does rise later in the latter half of August. I was lucky enough to catch the sun as it broke above the mountains to the East. I got a few of the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains to the East with the Grey Light Of Dawn hitting them and the hill on California City Boulevard as well.

It is interesting how the mountains to the East, West and South have a bluish tint in the early morning. The Air Force Rocket Lab is a bit ethereal at this time of day…………….

This Desert, where I live and work is an amazingly beautiful place.

In the mix is a BNSF Train going East to Barstow with three GE’s on the head end and two GE’s on the rear as pushers………………..22,000 Horsepower!

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Driver: I was following GPS when I turned onto train tracks; Crash closed WB 6th Ave in Lake Worth |Video

Operation Lifesaver has this up on their Facebook Page. Industrial Grade Stupid at an Entirely New Level………………Blaming the GPS! What ever happened to one’s own Situational Awareness, for crying out loud! The dumb ass even said that he put on his four way flashers and said the train didn’t stop! No kidding Einstein!

Makes one go Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Is the Gene Pool going to become self cleaning? The World Wonders.

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief might abandon western Kansas route, come through Wichita

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief might abandon western Kansas route, come through Wichita

TOPEKA — Western Kansas may lose easy access to Amtrak’s Southwest Chief passenger train because of deteriorating tracks and the state’s refusal to spend tens of millions of dollars to improve them.

A new route for the Chief could include a stop in Wichita, though any decision would be years away.

Wichita was home for 11 and 1/2 years. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, The Rock Island and The Frisco all served the Air Capital for years in the past along with the MKT I believe. Now it is BNSF and UP and the Kansas and Oklahoma. I loved traveling by rail when I was a youngster. I spend almost five years working ballast trains and railroads are still something I love. To see my adopted hometown get passenger rail service would be great! I could ride the train from Barstow to Wichita to visit grandchildren!

President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady, Eleanor, soon after arriving at Union Station in 1936. In the background is the Jett & Wood Mercantile Company.

President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady, Eleanor, soon after arriving at Union Station in 1936. In the background is the Jett & Wood Mercantile Company.

Union Station, 2007
Wichita Union Station 2007
Images are from The Wichita Eagle.

Red Gorge on Moffat Tunnel Subdivision

Red Gorge on Moffat Tunnel Subdivision

Following numerous curves along the meandering Colorado River, BNSF’s Denver to Provo freight snakes through Red Gorge between Radium and Yarmony, Colorado, on November 1, 2012.

BNSF MDENPVO led by BNSF 7598 West. This is one of the new GE Evolution Locomotives in service. 4,400 HP giving almost 170,000 pounds of tractive effort.

Hit the link for the bigger version and the straight skinny

Barstow Depot

Went and picked up the Missus and the eldest Granddaughter at Barstow this morning. They rode the Southwest Chief from Newton, Kansas. Bloody train was over six hours late. The had to wait in NM for a switch to get fixed.

But they both enjoyed the trip, all in all. Bailee had an adventure with Grandma and will be with us for three weeks.

Got some pics of today. Including a long Herzog ballast train behind four big UP units. Fond memories of the road with that one.

Barstow Santa Fe Depot.
The Historic Harvey House
UP Herzog Ballast Train, one of the long ones, about 100 cars.


Here comes the Chief!


Bailee and Grammy!
Bailee and Station Sign Barstow


Bailee on an old Warbonnet!

Rules is Rules

This was in the inbox from my buddy, Shane. He is the Roadmaster on the BNSF Devils Lake Subdivision in North Dakota. Dumped a lot of rock with Shane.

Good news:
It was a normal day in Sharon Springs, Kansas, when a Union Pacific crew boarded a loaded coal train for the long trek to Salina.


Bad news:
Just a few miles into the trip a wheel bearing became overheated and melted, letting a metal support drop down and grind on the rail, creating white hot molten metal droppings spewing down to the rail.


Good news:
A very alert crew noticed smoke about halfway back in the train

and immediately stopped the train in compliance with the rules


Bad news:
The train stopped with the hot wheel over a wooden bridge with creosote ties and trusses.

The crew tried to explain this to Union Pacific higher-ups but

were instructed not to move the train!

They were informed that Rules prohibited moving the train

when a part was found to be defective!





(Don’t ever let common sense get in the way of a good Disaster! )



Got an email from a former co-worker at Herzog. He is now the boss on the Satellite Ballast Trains. I told him about two weeks ago that this civil serviced gig was not what I had figured it would be. And if it were a possibility, I would go back on the road with the ballast trains. Money is about the same as I make here as a crew chief. But I have to deal with one hitch wonders and such. And it is the Air Force, which is alien to me. I was in Naval Aviation for those twenty years. Sort of defines me now. And after the cancer fun and games last fall, I do look at things differently than most. It is sort of a let down with more penny ante stuff that I simply do not like dealing with. Especially at my age. And I am doing things that are by my very professional nature, not what I know. And today, I witnessed an event in relation to preparing an engine for installation in my assigned aircraft. The forward roller mount was forced onto the fitting on the forward upper part of the engine by the WL(leadman). Unsat in it’s manner in my book.

BTW, there Snigs, it was malignant. Gotta do the CT scan on or about my birthday from now until my ashes are scattered on the surface of the deep. And I still can’t pronounce the name of the procedure that I had on 21 September of last year.

A Winter’s Day in the High Desert

Downtown Cal City!
Wind Turbines along the Tehachapi Mountains just outside of Mojave.
The boneyard at Mojave Airport. Ex Air Canada 767s including the world famous Gimli Glider.
Ballast Regulator on the UP Main 1 from Mojave to Tehachapi.
Lots of these in the Tehachapi/Mojave area!

I went to the Doctor in Tehachapi today for a check up and such. I took the Z612. I also had to hit the Stater Brothers Market in Mojave for some Diet Pepsi for the Missus. They had a coupon with four twelve packs for ten bucks.