Monday, October 11, 2010

On the Soap Box, off the fuel?

how about joining my family and driving a fuel efficent car? I started driving them in 1984.

OK, never mind that I ride a motorcycle (that gets 50 mph) to no where in particular for recreation and that I burn about 8000 gal. of fuel everytime I go to work.

Still, well... OK, nevermind.

Wait, I'm not done. Someone explain to me why they need a Hummer? Or a huge diesel pickup that doesn't have one single scratch in the bed.

My pickup gets 27mpg, the new car gets 38+mpg, the motorcycle gets 48+mpg

but.... The train gets 362 feet per gal, or so I was told way back when.
Per ton of freight up to 14 times more efficent than a semi-truck

As an Engineer, I can pay my own wages by caring enough to eliminate power braking. Burn dem brakes shoes I say, Burn.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

RR content - kinda 10/10/10 10:10

The RR will not allow me to work because I had a sycopatic episode... again

The story is over on my other blog at:

It's a lot like listening to an old guy complain about his health... OK, it exactly like

Monday, October 4, 2010

RR content - huh?

I'm in Helena standing for

Train Call Time Assign Stand Rested Available Last OS Time
CNAMRBE0DC 13:00-04 E LA14 Rested 11:15-04 huh?
Helper ? Arrive Depart 13:15-04 E

I think its a Roundup coal empty but the C is usually a load, so... huh?

I'll go ride my bike, and wait for the call

Sunday, October 3, 2010

RR content more Indian Summer

I froze yesterday. We had more Indian Summer and we also had the best A/C I've ever felt on a locomotive. The BNSFxx90 froze me out. Just like a railroader to complain about something!

Grain Train
9.5 mph up Winston
1300 - 2345 = 10"45", it was a get on and go train. We got stopped 4 times including Elton. I hate to stop there with a underpowered train.

M/C ride - Indian summer

I was just a little late and the video is a bit dark. It wasn't as dark as it looks... I'll redo it. I could not resist... we had some Indian Summer, I thought I should do Dead Indian Pass instead of repairing my roof!
Videos moved to

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New toy - GoPro

This is the first video with the new GoPro video camera

Old Hardin Road starts at just south of Billings and runs over to Hardin, MT
This will be the first road to BearSTOC.

This is the first 15 minutes give or take.
Also available here

Part 2

Gotta try it on the mountain bike next!

Monday, August 9, 2010

RR content - It's a box of chocolates

Called for the unit train at 1115. I never know what that's going to be. I'll have to let you know. I like a midday call. It means I'll sleep at night. Slept at night last night and will again tonight. I could get well for a bit.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

RR content - We been getting killed

I have been waiting for it to even out. It... is the luck that has eluded us lately. We died on the ML and 2 trips in a row. The ML (or LM) is our local traffic train that we all dodge like it's the queen of spades. RR lineup are so bad that I've always joked that the best way to dodge it is to get the crew office or lineup to say we stand for the ML. We seldom catch the train we stand for. They had us picking up 135 empty coke cars at Livingston. So stupid I asked the dispatcher twice if it that was really what they wanted us to do. Finally, I called the trainmaster. He agreed with me to pickup 41 merchandise cars and 40 empties. Still a stupid number of total cars at 165 but... we died and another crew finished the work. Turn14 has been run around 9 times in the last 3 round trips. My luck has gotta change.

Friday, July 30, 2010

RR content - In the past

Notice the time of this post. As I have mentioned here before, there is a tendency to bitch at the RR. And here and other blogs I have noticed.

BUT... wasted a day yesterday. Layed around napping now and then know I was on the lineup to go to work at 2300 hrs. Awake now and then until called for the "V" train for 6am. Daylight trip on the stack train. Great call. Piss poor lineup... no one to tell so there it is. It's often said we get paid for our inconvenience... this is one of those times.

Watch SPOT

Sunday, July 11, 2010

RR content - See SPOT run

I have had a request to carry the SPOT locator while on the train. It doesn't work well in the Locomotive and inside my grip as well but it sends my location now and again.


Saturday, July 10, 2010


this is a placemarker for my motorcycle trip report a work in progress

Trip Stats
1009 miles
50.1 mpg

Day 1 - Billings, Greybull, Burgess Jct, Spearfish, SD

Day 2 - Spearfish Canyon north to south, Lead, Deadwood, Lunch at the Ruby in Keystone, Iron Mountain Road, Needles Hwy, Custer State Park, Spearfish Canyon south to north.

Day 3 - Spearfish Canyon again, Breakfast at Cheyenne Crossing, then home in 4 1/2 hours via 212 through the constuction zone at Lame Deer

Trip pics are here

turn down the volume for video 1, the river is too loud. The video is here


a Dinkie video 2 is here

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heat Wave

It's been very cool in Montana but the heat wave in the east reminded me how things have changed. I seldom, anymore, get a locomotive that is not air conditioned. Still, I love running with the windows open on a summer night. Earplugs in, Headset on. Whistle ya, know!

Called for an actual mixed freight train as of this post


What does the staff at the Chinese place in Helena eat?

Monday, July 5, 2010


One of my medications went up $30 a month. The drug company taking advantage while they can before Obamacare kicks in? It's a med that has been around for 30 years... no reason for it to go up in price. It's gouging plain and simple. $574 / mo

The researchers agree that modafinil improves some aspects of working memory,

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th - new camera

Bought Maggie a new Camera.... Of course I intend to borrow it for motorcycle trips

Friday, July 2, 2010

RR content - Da "Q" train

I was gonna mow the lawn but the RR called and wants me to run the Q train. It remains to be seen if it is Boeings only like last week. 2 in 3 weeks time after not catching one in about 6 years.

Monday, June 28, 2010

ST content - CoSTOC - Dirt... arrggg

This was the final push home. Through Yellowstone and over Beartooth Pass... 3 miles of dirt on the pass but WY has repaved most of the poor pavement on their side.

Also, retag the Montana Tag using the Muffler men as Tag and ALT

How about a classic picture of the Tetons? Not bad from a Phone.



Time: 11:38:02
Distance: 505.30 mi
Elevation Gain: 23,590 ft

Time: 11:38:02
Moving Time: 09:54:14
Elapsed Time: 11:38:02
Avg Speed: 43.4 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 51.0 mph
Max Speed: 104.2 mph

Elevation Gain: 23,590 ft
Elevation Loss: 26,422 ft
Min Elevation: 3,120 ft
Max Elevation: 10,812 ft
Heart Rate
Avg HR: 82 bpm
Max HR: 120 bpm

Sunday, June 27, 2010

ST content - CoSTOC - Tag failure 11:11:11

This was the best day of riding the entire trip. Greta Garmin tells me I was on the bike for 11:11:11

I was attempting to replace the CO tag in a remote location to tease Baker Boy. He fooled me, posted a new tag making this one invalid. On top of that he retrieved this tag anyway. Beat me twice. Brilliant.

Highlight of the day was for me the ride up Flaming Gorge in the evening. Last time I rode here was north to south and too late. This time the light was perfect except I could not take pictures into the sun and the canyon was to the west. Nothing can beat the human eye.

Quit early in Rock Springs, WY... I'll make it home tomorrow and maybe ride through the park and over the Beartooth for the first time this year.


PICS - Remember these are from my Palm as the Nikon quit after a bath in Blackhawk


Time: 11:11:11
Distance: 454.96 mi

Time: 11:11:11
Moving Time: 08:11:39
Elapsed Time: 11:24:23
Avg Speed: 40.7 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 55.5 mph
Max Speed: 102.3 mph

Elevation Gain: 26,013 ft
Elevation Loss: 24,627 ft
Min Elevation: 4,597 ft
Max Elevation: 10,006 ft
Heart Rate
Avg HR: 87 bpm
Max HR: 109 bpm

Saturday, June 26, 2010

ST content - CoSTOC 1 - Lightning at 10,925ft

I did a solo ride today. Rode up Big Thompson Canyon, and over to Glen Haven to get the CO "tag" and then took my shortcut bypassing Estes Park. I rode down to Mount Evans but it was raining and there was lightning popping all around, I really wanted to see the 13,000+ altitude and get out of the heat.

The rain cooled me down after I went the alt route over Squaw pass and diverted over to Blackhawk - Central City... My trusty Nikon camera got wet and quit. I'm hoping it will dry out. I'm famous for my on the fly shots from the motorcycle. I had a great lunch with a couple and there was a live band. [insert video here later] The owner of the place was an old friend from Evergreen.

I had my closest call today. And by a Boulder CO sheriff for Pete's sake. He pulled out in front of me so close I had to get on the brakes... I was running under the speed limit. I could tell he was daring me to go around him but maturity took over. Yeah, I fight ti but sometimes... Anyway, I turned right at the next opportunity, did my "walk around" and continued on a bit later.

A very enjoyable evening at the campground after my brother joined us a the CoSTOC banquet. Prime Rim for me and Salmon for him. Jim's sailplane stories were better than my motorcycle stories so I enjoyed seeing hem very much.



Time: 10:02:20
Distance: 251.45 mi
Elevation Gain: 24,515 ft

Time: 10:02:20
Moving Time: 06:02:37
Elapsed Time: 10:02:24
Avg Speed: 25.0 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 41.6 mph
Max Speed: 83.8 mph

Elevation Gain: 24,515 ft
Elevation Loss: 24,549 ft
Min Elevation: 5,010 ft
Max Elevation: 10,975 ft

Heart Rate
Avg HR: 90 bpm
Max HR: 132 bpm

Friday, June 25, 2010

ST content - CoSTOC Day 3 - Hot Ride

After the respit from the heat (I got a motel in Wheatland)

Blew on to Loveland via the Superslab... something I rarley do except where there isn't much to look at. And there isn't south of Wheatland.

Arriving in Lovland there was no one at the campground or the hotel yet. I rode up to Estes Park and over to my brothers in Boulder via 7. The disorganisers touted the beautiful vistas and the twisty roads. They didn't say anything about the heat and the traffic. I began to look for a palce to camp in a higher elevation than down in Loveland but didn't really come up with anything. This is a hard place to find a stealth camping spot.

I'm glad I settled for the Riverview in Loveland. But only because I had a great time with Lost Brit, Mile High and Smash from STOwners

I took one picture all day... not much to see, and the heat, I didn't want to stop!

picture just the one


Time: 07:29:25
Distance: 253.22 mi
Elevation Gain: 13,460 ft

Time: 07:29:25
Moving Time: 04:53:15
Elapsed Time: 08:08:51
Avg Speed: 33.8 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 51.8 mph
Max Speed: 97.1 mph

Elevation Gain: 13,460 ft
Elevation Loss: 13,063 ft
Min Elevation: 4,721 ft
Max Elevation: 7,924 ft

Heart Rate
Avg HR: 85 bpm
Max HR: 109 bpm

Thursday, June 24, 2010

ST content - CoSTOC Day 2 - No Right Turn

Rick's ST has the 737 rudder issue... I have a hard time getting the bike to turn right.

Packed up this morning and headed south into Spearfish canyon. One of the best rides in the USA. I ran into my Camp mate at Cheyenne Crossing. After breakfast I started out, attempted to turn right toward Deadwood and the bike headed left back up the Spearfish canyon. I turned around at the other end after having a chat with a bicyclist that owned a car just like my old Red Civic hatchback.

Managed to get the bike headed south again I rode the canyon for the 3rd time. Everything was going fine when suddenly it was hard left rudder again at the Needles Highway. Now the dilemma, do I ride on and through the Custer State Park? Might as well, I've already paid.

Plan was to make it to Loveland and CoSTOC tonight but with all the left diversions I ended up in Wheatland after taking a time out in Edgemont, SD (102F)and Guernsey, WY, both are old away from home RR terminals for me. The RR Resort has the best restaurant in Guernsey. I had a nice shrimp platter.


Time: 12:24:45
Distance: 360.59 mi
Elevation Gain: 20,907 ft

Time: 12:24:45
Moving Time: 07:32:35
Elapsed Time: 12:24:46
Avg Speed: 29.0 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 47.8 mph
Max Speed: 100.2 mph

Elevation Gain: 20,907 ft
Elevation Loss: 19,921 ft
Min Elevation: 3,492 ft
Max Elevation: 6,434 ft

Heart Rate
Avg HR: 92 bpm
Max HR: 124 bpm

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ST content - CoSTOC 1 - Day 1 - Tag

The RR amazes me. It has been difficult to get extra time off. Particularly on the weekend. Today I left to get the STOwners Montana state tag. We play a game that entails taking a picture of our motorcycle in front of a landmark then moving to another landmark in the same state. BakerBoy from Colorado had moved the Montana tag to the very edge of Montana in, well, Baker of all places. I got the tag while a very pissed off dog berated my presence. It might have been the spacesuit I was wearing but I gotta think he is just nuts. I hate dogs and don't care who knows (except my little granddaughter who LOVES animals)

Anyway, I managed to get the tag and the North Dakota state sign as I left ND. There is no welcole to ND sign on US12 eastbound. I got ND and SD as I left ND. Made it to the Spearfish City Campground. I recommend the campground and plan on being here again July 8 and 9.

Route player
Smugmug picture Gallery

Time: 09:57:32
Distance: 425.58 mi

Time: 09:57:32
Moving Time: 07:08:19
Elapsed Time: 21:46:39
Avg Speed: 42.7 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 59.6 mph
Max Speed: 98.6 mph

Elevation Gain: 16,185 ft
Elevation Loss: 15,406 ft
Min Elevation: 2,181 ft
Max Elevation: 3,777 ft

Heart Rate
Avg HR: 80 bpm
Max HR: 115 bpm

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

That's more like it

I get to run the train again today... Graintrain for 1430... it's amazing how much I can get done if the stupid RR gives me 2 1/2 days off. Mowed the lawn, worked on my truck, Fixed the hot tub so the Grandkids can use it as a swimming pool. Installed rain gutter. Vast improvement over recently.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another day slipped away

Not sure if this post belongs in my Michael's Bicycle blog as it might related to the health issues and Shift Workers Syndrome I fight. A beautiful day in Billings and somehow not able to get of the couch. Thankfully I'll be home a bit longer than usual this trip as we deadheaded home last night. I'll worry about tomorrow and try to get something done this evening.

Last trip the phone rang at 0130 for a 0330 PASKCK, we left Laurel at 0555
Helpers on the rear at Livingston and pretty much a straight shot to Helena after that. It took us about the usual 10 hours to get there. Tied up in Helena at 1305 only to back on duty to Deadhead at 1900... I got no sleep and was up up well over 20 hours... the 4 hour rule should be outlawed... not to complain... just part of the nature of this job.

688 days to go

Photo 6/6/10 view from the Locomotive

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Holy cow

I was going to post about the zanyness of a recent trip but didn't think anyone really read this crap... Holy cow

I have got renewed interest 'cause out of the blue there has been interest in the RR posts AND my travels... Holy cow, I didn't know there was interest in this still.

I will make this a quick marker post and pre date a post about a recent trip where we ended up with 147 cars and 9400+ feet of train... pretty zany. I must have walked 5 miles doing the groundwork that day.

Thanks for your email Chris Walker NZ!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm tapering off and backing up

I think the language used in the media is against the rules to be used on the senate floor but has become popular there too. It is a disgrace. The founding fathers had spirited discussions but established decorum for a reason. It got out of hand. We have seen it surface a few times recently as the aisle has been more divided. We need more gentlemanly behavior from our leaders. Has it gone to fist like Japan yet? Won't be long I predict.

Personal attacks are wrong there just as they are wrong on this forum. Tell me if I'm full of shit... it'll be OK

It doesn't take much time listening to Rush or Glenn to figure out that they are first and foremost entertainers who are in it for the money, fame or whatever. The outlandish statements they make prohibit me from taking anything they say seriously. I therefore find it humorous. At least the leftist guys are on the comedy channel for the most part. Rachel has her own agenda and I find her funny too. I admittedly would rather laugh with them than at them but what I think of them doesn't matter. I also laugh at them that take them seriously.

And personally, and I know it is a contraction, but I respect the office if not the individual. A am disillusioned with most if not all politicians but refrain from using derogatory terms even though I could not stand Mr. Bush and am rapidly feeling the same about Mr. Obama.

It is impossible to find out or know what really goes on with our government. I was dismayed to learn that the Coast Guard prevented news agencies from taking pictures as the oil hits the beaches along the Gulf. Transparency in our new administration? Bullshit.

Lately, I have gone burying my head in the sand. If I don't I tend to get wrapped up in the disgust and it can actually affect my mood. I believe in equal opportunity and they are all pissing me off with regularity. I don't watch TV news much, it disgusts me. I just grab my ankles and hang on no matter what they cram down our throats or shove... wherever... you get the point.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

East Portaland down

RR content - less than 2 years left

I'll be eligible to retire in exactly 2 years today. After that I will no longer get to run the train.

Photo of Helper crew at Bozeman

RR video - Mayday

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RR content - Back with Jack

Back with Jack after a 2 year gap

Thursday, January 28, 2010

CoSTOC / NatSTOC / WeSTOC /CanSTOC / BearSTOC Trip planning

I'm already planning my motorcycle routes for next summer. Zoom the map out to see the entire route. Click the link below the map to see a larger Google version.

View Larger Map

go to the BearSTOC website

Saturday, January 23, 2010

RR content - Big Deal... There oughta be a law

at 0930 we deadheaded to Helena arriving at 1320. RR gave us 5 hours off (Big Deal) then put us on a PASKCK with 8'10" left to work. The train had good power but was a pig. 7600ft long and over the drawbar and the helpers had to cut in. We died at Reed Point at 0300. ES into Laurel at 0430. I got about a 30" nap in Helena and have now been awake for 20 hours... how is that safe?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010