Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oxbow Bend

A very easy and nice place for wildlife watching in Grand Teton National Park is at the Oxbow Bend Turnout. It's conveniently located along the Snake River, plenty of parking and over the course of a few hours we saw deer, elk, pelicans, even a river otter ... and some light rain.
Since we came with the RV, we had dinner right there on the river to envious looks from other wildlife watchers.

We heard from others that evening that they saw a moose cow with calf at the nearby Willow Flats turnout. There's plenty going on and to see here. It takes a little bit patience, but you won't get bored.

Most of my wildlife photos are a bit blurry due to being taken at dusk. When going on a trip like this, remember to bring your tripod ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park is one of these places that you rarely hear about until you are planning to go nearby. It is incredibly pretty and the photos don't do it justice.

There is boat service to hiking trails on the other side of the lake. However, due to construction, parking at South Jenny Lake was very limited, and we would have to be very lucky to find a reasonable parking spot with the RV, so we spent the afternoon on the East side of the lake, enjoyed the views, and had a great time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek Campground is in the Snake River Canyon between Jackson Hole and Alpine. It's basic, with no hookups, but quiet and comes with nice scenery. We relaxed here after a rather adventurous whitewater rafting trip down the Snake River.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Alpine, WY

We have arrived at our stop for the night. Greys Cove RV Park in Alpine, right after the Wyoming state border. A neat little RV park on the banks of the Snake River.

Time for dinner!

I did not see THAT coming!

When you drive from downtown Twin Falls, ID to I-84 north of town, the road is lined with stores, shops, light industrial, more stores, coffee-to-go places, car dealerships, the Magic Valley Mall, really nothing special...

Suddenly the buildings give way, and you're on a bridge with the most spectacular view:

We're crossing the Snake River, flowing peacefully deep below us in a canyon. The bridge goes straight from one side of the canyon to the other. Once we recovered from the surprise, of course we stopped and walked back to admire more of the view.

East Humboldt Mountains

I woke up early today despite the long drive and alcoholic beverage ingestion yesterday. I went on a short walk through the neighborhood and enjoyed the view of the East Humboldt mountain range. We are at over 5,000 feet. The three snow covered peaks are over 10,000 feet with the Hole of the Mountain peak in the middle at 11,306 feet (3446m).

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wells, NV

We arrived at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada. A very nice, neat and clean RV park near the freeway. We're going to stay the night and will leave Nevada behind us tomorrow.

California Trail

I-80 is roughly follow the California Trail taken by early settlers. While it takes us only a few hours to get from California through Nevada, the settlers mostly walked the same distance in about a month. I'm having trouble imagining what it was like, but it surely is more convenient today ...

Lovelock, NV

Lovelock, NV is a little rustic town along I-80 where we stopped for lunch in a small city park near the freeway. They have a nice downtown business district, and I particularly liked their the restored SP station building.


The point of a road trip is to experience the vastness of the country. ... If only some stretches weren't this booooooring.

Gold Run

Before the climb to Donner Pass, we're stopping for breakfast at Gold Run.

"HEY LOOK! We found a dinosaur!"

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Road trip

We are all set for our road trip. RV is loaded. The house is in good hands. Weather forecast is looking great.

Friday, June 24, 2016

First train servicing the Hallelujah paper mill

Engineer Jim Gifford and conductor Bob Stetson have arrived at Hallelujah Paper with train #380 delivering the first cut of cars to service the paper mill on the lower level at Silicon Valley Lines.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wildlife on the commute

I barely missed this gopher snake while cycling home today. It was on Coyote Creek trail right under the Silver Creek Valley bridge. I convinced it to get off the trail, just in time before a Mountain Biker came barreling down the trail.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's the President!

While President Obama was visiting Yosemite, we visited the President at Sequoia National Park.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chillin' on a Saturday afternoon

Marble Fork Kaweah River, Lodgepole, Sequoia National Park

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tbis 871 (Maerklin 47300)

I picked up a set of the sliding roof / sliding wall cars Tbis 871, formerly Klmmgks 68 (Maerklin 47300) at a price that makes me overlook that the car is from more than a decade after the year my layout is set in.
The doors or roof sections don't actually open on the model. The detailing is reasonably fine and accurate, except for the grab irons, which are just as thick as on the version from the early 1980's. I do like the nice job they did with the various patches and changed lettering. With some light additional weathering these cars will look great on the layout.

47300 comes with four individually numbered cars.

Monday, June 13, 2016


The new decals on the Silicon Valley Lines switchers are sealed with Dullcote. Now getting ready for weathering.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Where did I get this utterly insane idea from to populate the number boards on the two SVL switchers?

The numbers are only slightly wider than the blade of the utility knife, and I ended up cutting them out with the fine blade in an Exacto knife. This doesn't bode well for my ideas to renumber some of my German freight cars. Since European car identification numbers are substantially smaller than what's common in the U.S., most of the numbers I will need to piece together have the same size that drove me almost insane here. It did get a little bit better with practice, but I also grew more impatient.

Does anyone have any tips or tricks for working with really small decals such as individual numbers in tiny fonts?

Update June 13, 2016:
... and looking at prototype photos of CNW 1078, the number boards are actually not populated either! Sigh. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble here...

Friday, June 03, 2016

Summer is here with a vengance

Yep, it's hot today. Weather Underground reports over 40C in our neighborhood.

Thursday, June 02, 2016


Our visitors have arrived. Thank you for the Mitbringsel, Christoph and Daniela.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016