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Saturday, July 31, 2010





TELEPONE POLE - Dramatic, Huh?





After my Day Off yesterday (July 29), I walked from ROCK SPRINGS to POINT OF ROCKS, some 26 miles. Felt rested, but still somewhat weary...could use more rest & good food. In any event, found two interesting sights along the way: Snow Fences and Layered Sandstone Cliffs.

Snow Fences are wooden barriers placed by Wyoming DOT (Department of Transportation) to help control wind-blown snow. At 7,000 feet, considerable snow falls in the Rocky Mountains, where it is typically quite windy. I-80 is often closed due to wind-blown snow...see pic...The Snow Fences hinder free movement on the wind-blown snow by forcing it to pile up. This minimizes the snow reaching the Interstate. A lot of "new " Snow Fences have been installed this Summer.

Much of the rock in this region of the Rocky Mountains is Sandstone, laid down millions of years ago (see prior Blog), As conditions change, the layering of Sandston takes on destinctive identities. The cliffs bordering Rock Springs along I-80 give a up-close look at these layers. The layers differ in actual materials AND also in color. One pic is like a slice of a Wedding Cake, with the successive layers clearly visible only feet away from the roadway.

Point Of Rocks is an actual community nestled in the wild profusion of piled-high stones adjacent to I-80 at mile marker 130 (distance I-80 is from the Utah border near Salt Lake City). This highly unusual rock formation gives dramatic backdrop for the many Mobil Homes nestled in and around them. Seems to have NOT changed since 38 years ago when I was a daily presence going to and from The Jim Bridger Coal-Fired Power Plant.

For many years I was an employee of Star Iron & Steel Company in Tacoma, Washington. My Department was Contract Management. As Manager, I was the "contact man" with the customers during project Proposal and after gaining the award, through the manufacturing, installation, and warranty period. I and my staff of Contract Administrators were charged to see that our Company met all terms of the various contracts.

Star Iron & Steel was a sub-contractor to Krupp Industrie Und Stahlbeau of Germany.

I was offered the position of Contracts Manager for the newly formed USA Division of Krupp, KRUPP INTERNATIONAL, INC, located in White Plains, New York.

Driving to New York in my Ford Pick-up, towing a U-Haul Trailer of my few belongings, I was asked by my long time Customer and Friend, Carl Brimmekamp - newly appointed President of Krupp International - to stop in at Jim Bridger to console them for the 2-years of problems with their Germany supplied Stacker-Reclaimer.
The function of this machine is to RECEIVE raw coal from the near-by coal mine via massive conveyor belts, Using the conveyor seen next to the bucket wheel, the coal is placed (Stacked)on the coal pile seen in the background, As the furnaces require coal to generate electricty, the bucket wheel revolves, "reclaiming " coal from the long pile previously stacked. This coal is fed by conveyor to the furnaces. The Stacker Reclaimer is computerized and has been upgraded by Jess & Crew as technology has progressed these past 38 years,

Being a pencil pusher and definitively not an engineer, I did as Carl asked. A month after reporting to work, Carl called me into his office, saying the Customer, Jim Bridger asked for me by name to come fix their Stacker-Reclaimer. I always believed a particular member of the New York office, who disliked me from day one figured that assignment was a quick and sure way to get rid of me...after all, KRUPP Germany had tried for two years to fix the machine.

NOT KNOWING anything must have been an advantage. I gathered up the drawings, manuals, etc. and flew off to ROCK SPRINGS & destiny with Jim Bridger. What happened is an interesting story....for another Blog on another day perhaps. Suffice to say, in 5 days my team and I found the problem, fixed it, and 38 years later...i.e. yesterday, I come knocking on the front door of Jim Bridger.

I was received with some suspicion. One guard knew the Manager of the Coal Yard, which included the KRUPP Stacker-Reclaimer, who came immediately to the Gate Guard Office. After a short interview with me, asking pointed questions, we returned to the Guard Office where I was issued a Pass and escorted on a personal visit to the KRUPP Stacker-Reclaimer.

After 38 years, Jess Metcalf, the Coal Yard Manager, had someone who understood and appreciated HIS KRUPP Stacker-Reclaimer which he babied and nurtured for the past 25 or so years.

Jess allowed me to take controlled pictures of "our" machine, explaining that the Homeland Security folks were kinda nervous about protecting Jim was tight...

I, and I believe they, were pleased at my impromptu visit...the fact that I WALKED half the USA to say HI certainly was not lost. Jess soto-voice said something about having his own story to tell.

I was a bit chocked up at saying goodbye.

Post Script: Remember my Blogs about Ed, Betty and Lee as I walked through Adrian, Oregon some many weeks ago? Well, we have maintained contact via cell phone. As I was walking back from Point Of Rocks to Rock Springs, my new and dear friend, Betty stopped me on I-80...Hi, Mister...wanna ride?

Fairy Tales are made of this stuff .

After my Jim Bridger visit, I drove 10 miles from Point Of Rocks to I-80 Rest Stop. I parked the Van and walked BACK to Point Of Rocks, On my walk back to the Van, none other than Dave and Alisa (see Blog pic of Little America), with four of their nine kids, blocked my way on I-80.

Been following your blog & were afraid we missed you.

This is just too much,,,

Here, we brought you some new energy drinks...

We're on our way, moving back to Tennessee...will you be walking to Tennessee?

Not this time...perhaps on way back from Key West

When I arrived at the Van, I found a number of the new drink sitting on SAMs trailer tongue.

And I should wonder the throat knots up & eyes water just a bit

Walked all told, 40 miles on this momentus day.


Anonymous said...

I always motivated by you, your opinion and attitude, again, thanks for this nice post.

- Thomas

Anonymous said...

Hello, thought I would finally sign up to forum although I have been following Ric for a long time on the boards. Well anyway it is nice to now offically be a part of the team and I look forward to participating on the forum.

Regards. William.

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