Wednesday, October 21- I again successfully escape my fetters and hastily drive back north, over the Grapevine. Happily, another uneventful trip would clear my head. Since the truck bed was to be relatively empty, I took a load of lockers for the shower car, provided by our good friend and member John Hachey of Ontario, California. A stop for lunch in Sacramento was in order with Paul Zaborsky, old pal and currently a director at Bay Area Electric Railway Association. Paul looks and feels much better now after his recent transplant surgery. For the first time in his life he is no longer diabetic, and we wish him the best with the replacement parts. Another leg of the drive over Donner Pass, with the fall colors in their full glory, and a mid afternoon arrival back in Portola, again. Peace and quiet at last. I enjoyed at least ten hours of sleep in the Pullman, after vacuuming up the cat hair. Cat hair and I don’t get along. A generous application of Febreze® didn’t hurt either.
Nathan “Maverick” Osborn and James “insert nickname here” Cowdery arrived Thursday and immediately started taking readings on the wrapper side sheets. As of this writing they have completed the first one thousand or so readings, with quite a few left to go. Suffice to say they have the process down. Mike Mucklin checked in and began photographing the goings on. Some of his and Nathan’s excellent photos are included in this post. More of Mikes photos from the week can be viewed here. Thanks again guys! He also made a nifty plywood template to match the curve of the roof sheet, the top of the wrapper sheet, at the location of a needed patch under the rear sand dome, to be utilized when the new piece of steel is rolled.
The shiny dots are where readings were taken on the side sheets.
James Cowdrey carefully removes the rust prior to taking ultrasound readings.
The bottom portion of the front tube sheet is removed.
Matt Parker having a good time in the pit.
Mike Mucklin and I consult on rigging the cab prior to the "pick".
After a few turns jockeying the crane, boom, Rod and Mr. Noodle around, the cab was finally off and down on the ground. Eugene Vicknair and I helped guide it to its final resting place outside of the shop. The woodwork can now be removed and cataloged, and the cab sandblasted and primered prior to starting the body work. Roger Stabler arrived just as we were wrapping up. He spent the day down in Woodland fixing our invaluable porta-power ram, which no longer squirts hydraulic oil at you when under load. Another case of what you may perceive as a small job taking the whole day. My old friend Jim Blake returned for another visit. Jim is active with the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society in Pennsylvania, and now thanks to cheap airfares, with us. The Wallace family also turned up Friday night to work on their Santa Fe caboose. Everyone ended up going their separate ways, and I had dinner at the former Log Cabin, (which is now a “Roadhouse”) with Roger and Jim. I enjoyed a pretty decent piece of prime rib roast and good conversation. Later a bit of time coalescing with David Wallace in his waycar rounded out the evening.
Saturday October 24- With the cab removed access to areas of the boiler shell was made easier in spots. Charlie and Duane became men possessed; parts of the cab floor and cab support came flying off at a frightening speed. They made some great progress and got to areas of the engine that are in desperate need of cleaning, scraping and chipping. Jim Blake tried to keep up by sweeping the floors of any detritus and tripping hazards, and did a good job of it. There was a lot of rust, grease and etc. that came down. The cab floor plates will need to be replaced. Roger managed to get the blowdown valve off, which has been a thorn in our side for some time. He also was able to run down the driving box wedges in preparation for freeing up the driving boxes at some point.
Roger Stabler argues with a stubborn blowdown valve.
The 165- now resembling a submarine, missing it's cab.
After wrapping things up we made our regular trek into town for pizza, and as luck would have it the local kiddy football team showed up just as we did, so it was a slow, noisy dinner, but we persevered. That evening I parted ways with most of the crew. Sunday morning I said goodbye to Roger and Jim and was back on the road headed home. The fall colors going through Sierraville were brilliant. -JCA