Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dawson Station on the web

At work I do a lot of "proof of concept" work. It consists of writing enough of a computer program to prove that an idea will work. After getting featured on a popular "Small Layout" website, I was getting a lot of interest in my model railroad layout and wanted somewhere to point the people who wanted to learn more. I had this idea that you could use a blog as a website. Here is my proof of concept:


It is easy to update, load photos, and can collect visitor questions and comments. Doing the navigation on the right side takes some html skill, but not much. Keeping the "Introduction" post date the most recent keeps it showing up for the base URL.

Works for me! Now I don't have to bore you with the minutia of the layout.

P.S. The pictures are a sneak peak from a photo I submitted for a magazine contest in April '10. They were not the center of focus, so are a bit blurry, but if you picture the vehicles as being size of a quarter, well, you get the picture.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Random shots around the valley.

Another pitiful attempt to capture the blueberry fall folage (I did a better job last year, see http://bugled.blogspot.com/2008/10/blueberry-as-fall-color.html).

Hull-Oakes picnic table at Avery Park in Corvallis, Oregon. The plaque says there are six of them, but I only know of three (Avery, Fairgrounds, Blogett). Maybe I can do a scale model of the tree they came from.

This is an old SP C-50-5 caboose at the Lewisburg Grange Hall. It sits on a short section of track built parallel to the West Side main line. I keep thinking I need to stop in and ask them for a tour.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just a Run in the Park

We got to go over to Avery Park to watch Emily run. It was a beautiful autumn morning and she made the most of it.

She ran down both of these girls in the last 25 meters.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Devil in the Details

I had a chance to knock out some of the details on the layout that I didn't have time to get to before the Model Logger's Conference in March, and was too burned out to care about afterwards. First was to add some more trees. Of course, with trees and kids you need a some accessories. Ann Marie helped design the tree house, picked the color, and painted it her self. She also (accidentally) contributed the two "toothpaste spatter" purple spots visible above the foliage. I can fix that latter.

There is also a tire swing in the tree on the left. It awaits a seated child figure, yet to be located, but based on the condition of the grass under the swing, it is well used.

The dime in the right corner puts the scale in perspective. Maybe we should call it "D-scale".

One vehicle essential for a saw mill is a straddle carrier. Hull-Oakes has several Gerlingers which were manufactured in Salem, probably before WWII. Each time I have been to visit, these have been ferrying loads out to the storage yard, but I have found nothing even close available in the modeling world. I actually already had one on the layout, albeit 2-D on the background. So, I tried making my first "scratch-built" vehicle, using o-rings wheels from Home Depot(same size as the swing), balsa wood, oven-baked clay, and of course, Dr. Pepper aluminum.

Backdrop image

It does not quite qualify as "fine-scale", but hey, not bad for a first try! It lacks only another seated figure, yet to be located. Yes, as a matter of fact, it can turn on a dime.

The big change to the layout was to the road and lot. I knew I had a glaring discrepancy when the night before the modeling conference my ten year old nephew took one look at it and said, "the road doesn't have lines". I had been working on how to fix that ever since. After several days of experimentation, a method of road striping was hit upon using paint pens. I had to darkened up the gray a bit to help match the background first, and added some fine turf foam for a gravely texture in the lot. Some pastel chalk rubbing adds some realistic traffic patterns.

I usually have some mental picture of perfection that I am trying to achieve when I am working on something (not just modeling). Sometimes I come close, like the straddle-carrier, and say "good enough". Some times it turns out better than I thought was possible, and I just sit there, stare at it, and say "wow, I can't believe I did that"! The road and lot turned out that way. Pictures like this can be found in modeling magazines and catalogs. It would be an awesome feather in my "smaller-is-better" philosophy hat to get Dawson Station published!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Few Daily Distractions . . .

You can RSS stuff like this into your favorite reader for a daily dose of humor!

Awkward Family Photos, and occasional funny stories:http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com

Cakewrecks, shows decorating talent across the spectrum:

There, I Fixed It - Terribly creative fix-it ideas:http://thereifixedit.com

And my most recent find . . .

Improbable Research: Yes, Kansas is flatter than a pancake!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Googling (Earth) Through Time

This is the area north of Adair that got developed over the last decade:

This is a new feature in Google Earth that lets you pull up previous imagery of an area. I tried to make a fancy animated gif, but Blogger didn't seem to like it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Geocaching, Five Years Latter

The weather was so nice after conference, we headed out to find our first geocache in over five years (not counting Camp Alpine). It was near the pond, and we met the volenteer park hosts who lives in an RV and had a nice visit with them. We took Robin and Ann Marie's friends.We also checked out the old hospital smoke stack which is nearby. It has a nice layer of railcar-style graffiti on the inside now. We were trying to estimate the height with the park host, and I went back and got my bottle rocket altitude gear. It is 100 feet high (+/- 10ft).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dawson Junction on Youtube

Here is a video showing the basic operation of my layout puzzle. Robin ran the train for me while I filmed. I recorded some audio of the mill while I was showing them the layout the other day. The whistle you hear (repeatedly) was the "end of lunch, back to work" call.

I'm pretty happy how it all turned out. I just need to put all my videos together in a DVD now. I've got almost 60 minutes worth of Hull-Oakes on Youtube.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

An Audience at Hull-Oakes

I finally worked up enough courage to take my scale model down to show the folks at Hull-Oakes. Last time I was down for a tour, I told them I was working on a model, and they had asked that I show them when I finished.

They seem genuinely interested (or politely humoring). Left to right were the owner, Todd Nystrom (a Hull grandson), and his son Nathan, who has just graduated from OSU, Don Wagoneer (timber buyer and current tour guide), Bill Oakes (retired saw filer and previous tour guide), and Dave Rainey from sales. I told them that the picture would be my "certificate of authenticity", and that I could now claim the layout was "endorsed" by Hull-Oakes.

They asked quite a few question, and I learned a couple of interesting bits. Between them there was over a hundred years of Hull-Oakes experience in the room. It was a bit humbling. They seemed amused by all the graffiti on the cars, and when I had a derailment at one point in the demonstration, they exclaimed, "just like the real thing!" (It was derailing weekly at the end).

Here are a couple of other interesting photos from the trip:

End of the road! Marker just north of Dawson Road indicates the start of the embargo.
They are storing centerbeam cars on the line down to this point.

Caboose for sale. Hull-Oakes is storing this for now (there is more to the story).
For $6K it can be yours! Oh, and it will cause about as much in shipping!

The tracks and switches are still there, just not used in the same way any more.