Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ridin da Skunk Train

OK... so I'm late posting this one ..... there were probably 600 pictures to go thru... all bringing back great memories of a couple days up in California Redwood country. On the week end of 6 Jun,  Baron and I took a trip up to Fort Bragg .... camped by the sea and rode the famous Skunk Train.

Go here for their story and some historic fotos....

This was a trip especially offered for photographic opportunities. They stopped the train often and staged shots over bridges and out of tunnels. It took a half day just to reach the half-way point where lunch was served. The first picture you see is the engine that pulled our train for that day. The train is fueled with oil  now and does not make that much smoke unless the engineer does it purposely ,,, which he did for the pleasure of the photographers. In earlier days, when wood was the fuel, the engine smoked on a regular basis. One of the first engines used on this line gave off a very pungent odor which smelled much like a skunk,,, hence the name. In those days they said you could smell it coming long before you could see it
This is a typical viewriding thru the Redwood Forest. The loggers cut down most all the original growth so what we are seeing now is only 100 years old +/-. .... there are a few trees that are much older that were left standing. Cabins and residences remain isolated amoung the redwoods which are accessable only by the Skunk Train ..... which will stop and pick up passengers standing by the tracks.... they also pick up shopping lists and bring grocery orders to those folks way back in the Redwood forest.

One of the many stops we made for foto ops.
They did a good job on picking spots... notice the tunnel

 The passengers were able to ride outdoors on a flat car ... standing and moving about at will ..... when tired of that there was always the option of sitting inside the historic passenger car.

Notice the small platform high on the tree... that is where a man with a big saw would stand to cut down the tree ..... it is pretty high up there .... notice in the next picture where the platform is relative to the size of the locomotive.

The Train Singer was always available to provide song and stories.... just the right man for the job... he was very good.

 One of the highlights of the trip was when they let us ride in the engine with the engineer. He stated that the temperature at the firebox door could get up to 600 degrees and that at the end of his belly it was not uncommon for it to be around 140. During cools days it was not so bad but on the really hot days that engine became quite uncomfortable. The engineer drank lots of water. He often heated his luch by the firebox door. This was a job only for the very rugged soul.

Baron enjoyed the engine ride.
This is not a straight rail line... many curves, bridges and several tunnels. The scenery was awesome. I love the redwood forest and the train ride was an excellent way to see sights that were not available anywhere else.

At the half-way point there were a number of buildings, houses, maintenance staion and side tracks to park trains and to turnaround.

Yup... there had to be one of these to get all those chores accomplished and carry the tools.

The engineer had to hang out the window to see when backing up ... no cover on that window,
The train singer was with us for both directions.

We also got to ride at the rear of the train for a different view.  Snacks were served on board in the rear car .

There's the big eight wheels that you heard about in the train songs.

This is a special holiday car ... it was parked at the Depot in Ft Bragg.

Take little side trips in life.......

1 comment:

  1. Heidi and I ride the Skunk Train this week. Thank you for the insight. Let's get together soon for a walk at Davis Creek. We love the new paintings.