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Thursday, June 21, 2012


SPIA in her parking spot last night at the rail yard of Lake Whatcom Railroad. The rail track in the above image is the actual main line BNSF Railroad. Nearly 100 years ago, Lake Whatcom Railroad was connected to the main line. Today, only 4.5 miles of track remain, all owned by my new friend, Frank, who together with his brother purchased the right of way and a number of pieces of railroad rolling stock, including two engines and a number of passenger cars.

Above is the main line BNSF train as it passed through Frank's rail yard last evening. I was standing much too close to the track to take my pictures...and for my stupidity, received a number of blasts from the train...GET OUT OF MY WAY...

...all too soon, that same train was disappearing North to connect with the BNSF cross country main line near Bellingham.

Please say HELLO to Frank.

In 1972, Frank and his brother purchased their new railroad from the old Northern Pacific Railroad, which stopped running passenger trains.

Please say HELLO to Teresa.

Teresa is my new-found niece...nephew Carl's wife. Teresa and I hit it right off...she is a biker with a 650 Hog look alike...I have a nearly identical 650 Hog look alike. If I stick around long enough, perhaps we two can make some nearby motorcycle trips.

Please say HELLO - again - to Angie (L.), Frank, Carl, and Teresa.

In the bygone days of Northern Pacific Passenger Rail service, Wickersham was a regular stop.

AMTRAK does not even come this way.

OK...I somehow edged my way into this group photo.

One of Frank's purchases...a "boiler" car, once part of the Unlimited which ran between Seattle and Chicago. A boiler car was used to heat water into steam, which was used to keep the passenger cars warm - for the comfort of passengers.

Frank and Angie took us on a tour of some of the passenger cars he uses in his business...which is to give tourists rides on his train all the way to the end of his 4.5 mile track and back.

These cars are of a vintage of 1900 - 1925.

Carl and Teresa are standing on the rear platform of the "Office Car", which was used by businessmen and politicians in the way-back-when-days.

Historical Note: During the 1948 Presidential Campaign, President Harry S. Truman's train stopped in my home-town of Kennewick, Washington. President Truman gave a speech from that rear platform. I did go see President Truman.

It was already quite dark inside the cars as we were guided by Angie and Frank. I tried to take photographs, but the camera images turned out nearly all black. Running the pics through my computer program, I was somewhat successful to pull items out of the we see in the next few images.

The Office Car Sitting Room.

...and from the opposite end of the room. The silver side table is for drink glasses...the center being a smoking ashtray.

A sleeping compartment on the Business Car. Frank said he actually "lived" in this compartment for several months early on before their home was available.

The "Canteen" portion of the Office Car.

Today, Angie works this canteen, offering drinks and snacks to passengers on the 4.5 mile tour.

First Class Coach...very surprised we can see everything so clearly...this photograph was totally black out of the camera.

This photograph decorates the Passenger Coach Car. The Engine pictured is the same one Frank purchased from the NP.

The "driver" of Franks Steam Engine # 1070. The horizontal shaft is attached to the drive wheel of the locomotive - which is coal fired with "fire tubes" for heating the boiler water to create steam; i.e., "Steam Engine".

The horizontal shaft is connected on the other end to a piston rod which operates inside a pressure chamber...steam is vented into the chamber, pushing the piston rod back and forth - which is attached to the drive wheel (white painted rim), which rotates, causing the steam engine to move.

I could not see the "boiler" of Engine 1070 at was much too dark inside the Car Barn...took the pic anyway...and through software magic, we have a rather good look at the front of Engine 1070.

This bird is a KILLDEER. As we walked into the Car Barn, this bird was flying around and at us yelling it's head off.

When we came out, it was quite dark. Again we were yelled at; but this time the Killdeer did not move. She was sitting in between the rails of Franks train tracks. Looking closer, we could see three eggs she was sitting on...trying to protect them from being stepped on in the dark. I actually walked within three feet of her...she yelling all the time.

As soon as we turned away, she, still sitting on her eggs, just looked at us ... quiet as a mouse.

Frank's Diesel Electric Engine.

A bit before Sunrise, I was on Highway 9, walking North toward the town of Deming, Washington.

The valley below was shrouded in fog.

Here again, I played with the computer software to lighten up this image. It was actually still quite dark down in that valley.

Exiting the Cascade Mountains, the foothills still offer some worthy hills.

Trucks zip past every minute or so...often times a half dozen in convoy.

These peaks are well known to Pacific North West residents.

Known as the THREE SISTERS, they provide a measuring stick for our local Volcano, Mount Baker, which sits a bit to the left. Mount Baker is 10,650 feet high, and is an active volcano giving out steam on a regular basis.

Mount Baker is our local Ski Resort. Being 80 miles from Bellingham, it usually opens for skiing in late October and stays open until the end of May.

Mount Baker has the distinction of receiving the greatest amount of snow in a single year of any spot measured on Planet Earth; that is total inches of snow for the entire year...not all at one time.

Three Sisters.

Mushrooms are popular in and around the Western Cascade Mountains...if you know where to look and know which are edible and which are poisonous.

Please say HELLO to Stephany.

Stephany was a "flagman" (no offense, Steph) for the ASPLUNDH Tree Cutting Company, which was removing tree branches from the local power lines.

Please say HELLO to Jorge.

Being Mexican, Jorge said his name is (phonetic) YOUR HAY.

At the small village of Acme, I stopped in for a bite of breakfast.

Acme, Washington General Store.

Acme Diner...newly opened on May 25, served up an excellent breakfast.

One more look at the Three Sisters.

Will end this blog update at this point. I walked a bit beyond Acme before returning to SPIA. We then drove to the town of Deming, Washington, where SPIA parked while I walked a second leg of about 16 miles.

We then moved to the town of Lynden, Washington, where we are encamped in a "secret" spot...secret because we are only 10 miles from the Peace Arch, having arrived two days too soon. Tomorrow, I will walk about 10 miles BACK toward Deming to pick up miles we drove today.

SPIA and I are both rather filthy.

This evening, I received my first real shower in over two months....mmmmm good.

Tomorrow, it is SPIA's turn to receive a thorough cleaning inside.

At some point I will walk on to Blaine, Washington to unofficially complete my walk. On Sunday, I will drive SPIA close by the Peach Arch, park her, and walk on over at 2:00 pm, making it official that my walk has ended.


Anonymous said...

I am happy that you are about to complete your goal, yet sad as I've followed you daily for 2 years and will miss reading this for now. I wish I could be there when you 'unofficially' hit the Peace Arch as that will be the 'real deal', but I will be there when you return on Sunday. I wonder what you must be thinking right now...I'm thinking it's mixed emotions! Congrats completing your very noteworthy challenge and for being an example for us all.

Anonymous said...

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