Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014: Encroachment

Warehouses spring up in farming country.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 30, 2014: Caught in the Act

From this week-end's trip to Coupeville and Port Townsend, Janice caught me in the act of just chillin' on the Keystone Ferry.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29. 2014: The Snow Fence

Ever since I've been coming to Montana, I've been photographing trains going by this old snow fence.  It's one of those spots where I know there is a great shot, I just haven't quite found it.  Sadly, the fence is nearly gone these days.

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 28, 2014: The Track Inspector

The people in the locomotives get all the glory.  Track inspectors allow that to happen.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 27, 2014; Patterns

The contrast of a winter sun on snow reveals the endless patterns associated with a railroad.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 26, 2014; The Tool Room

A section foreman gathers his tools for another day of track repair.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014: Morning Dew

Early morning dew clings to a cobweb. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014: First Pass

On a foggy morning in early spring a farmer makes the first pass across a field, disking down the winter cover crop.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23, 2014: Trouble

Hey, how do you start this thing?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22, 2014: Merritt Overtake

A westbound container train overtakes a slower coke train at Merritt, the base of the steepest portion of the climb up east slope of Stevens Pass.

Friday, March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014; Steamed Up

Northern Pacific 1070 is steamed up and ready to take an excursion from the little town of Acme.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014; Season's First Harvest

Daffodils and tulips, the first crops of the season in the Skagit Valley.  A picking crew fans out across a field in bloom in the early morning hours.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014: Rows and Rails

The daffodils are blooming in Skagit Valley. The same photo taken in color, all the eye sees is the yellow of the flowers.  In black and white, the patterns of the horizontal and vertical lines emerge.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014: Remembering the Milwaukee

The GE and EMD slug sets lean into a push up Tacoma Hill in the late winter of 1972.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014; Still Kicking

The Old Man turns 92 today.  Still living on the farm, still in good health.  When people talk about "sturdy stock," they're talking about this guy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 16, 2014: Hard to Beleive

These two people have been married 40 years as of today.  Hard to believe.  I guess time does fly by when you're having fun.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 15, 2014: Forgotten Rails

Blackberries and alder slowly engulf a set of tracks near Monroe, WA.  Few remember when these rails were occupied by the orange and black locomotives of the Milwaukee Road.  Fewer still can recall the steam powered trains that once passed through.

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014: Elevation

An eastbound train is about the enter the Cascade Tunnel, drilled under Stevens Pass.  High above the locomotive is the Windy Point tunnel on the old line by-passed by the "new" tunnel.  Elevation, in the case of a railroad, less is better.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014: The Railroad that Went to Sea

Remains of the old interurban line that ran across Samish Bay from Blanchard to just south of Bellingham.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 12, 2014: The Best Time of Day

The sun has just crested the valley, the cows are up and grazing waiting to be milked, the air is cool and crisp, early morning in the summer, the best time of day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11, 2014: The Packing House

Cutting meat that was home raised.  Back when you knew where your meat came from.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014: Railroad Punctuation

An empty grain train climbing Stampede Pass creates an inverted question mark.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 9, 2014: The Canyon Comes to Life

A quiet sunrise down in the Nason Creek canyon is disrupted by the sound of a heavy freight climbing the grade.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 8, 2014: 24/7

Morning milking.  This is where the term "24/7" got it's start.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6, 2014: What Next?

A dairy farmer and wife contemplate their future as the last load of their cows leave the farm.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March 5, 2014: Stilli Sunrise

One of the advantages of traveling county roads on a daily basis, scenes like this are a common occurrence.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014: Beautiful Dust

Shafts of sunlight pierce through the haze of dust on the mill floor of Conway Feed.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014: Easing Her Down the Hill

It takes power to lift a train to the top of a mountain pass.  It takes skill to bring it safely back down.  The engineer of this double stack train eases his train down the west slope of Stevens Pass.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 2, 2014: Axes and Shovels

98 broken bodies lay buried under a mass of snow, trees and shattered rail cars. By this date, 104 years ago, there was no hope of finding anyone alive.  In fact, there was concern some would not be found at all, at least not until the spring thaw.  Axes and shovels is all they had.  Hope had been swept away.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 1, 2014: Violence

Jutting out from under a giant charred fir log is an inverted queen post.  It tells the story of the final moments of one of the passenger cars swept away 104 years ago this past night by the giant Wellington Avalanche.  At 1:42 AM a wall of moving snow struck the two trains of which this car was a part.  The force tripped the car sideways off the track and began to roll it down the steep embankment. As it rolled it turned 90 degrees ending up sliding upside down further down the mountainside. By now, the windows had been blown out and shattered.  The wood sides were being crushed and ripped from the frame as was the interior. Parts of the steel framing were being torn, bent then scattered all the way to the bottom of the canyon. Somewhere within that mass of snow this log was being propelled.  It scraped across the bottom of the inverted car tearing off the steam and air pipes along with this queen post. When the log came to an abrupt halt ramming a stump, the pipes it was dragging wrapped around yet another stump like pieces of limp pasta. 

Within minutes, it was over.

The pipes bent around the stump and this queen post remain as a grim reminder.  If forged steel and  bolted on wood were so quickly mangled and destroyed, how much more violent an end came to the mere flesh and bone sleeping within this car?