Thursday, May 28, 2009

We Take A Ride On A Steam Locomotive

The Original Virginia & Truckee Railroad

Following the discovery of rich silver and gold deposits in Virginia City, it soon became apparent that something beside freight wagons was needed to carry the ore from the mines to the mills along the Carson River for refining. Additionally, a better transportation system was needed to bring lumber from the Lake Tahoe region to Virginia City, where it could be used to timber the underground mines and feed the mining furnaces

To address these needs, William Sharon and his Bank of California partners incorporated the Virginia and Truckee Railroad Company in March 1868. The plan was to build the railroad between Virginia City and the Carson River (near present day Mound House) and extend it later to Carson City and Reno.

Work began in February 1869 and by early the following year regular train service was established between Virginia City and Carson City. By 1872, the line had been extended to Reno, where it intersected with the Central Pacific Railroad, the transcontinental railroad that had been completed in 1869.

In the early to mid-1870s, Virginia City’s mines were so productive that from 30 to 45 trains operated daily on the 55-mile-long railroad, which, because of its winding route became known as the “Very Crooked and Terribly Rough Railroad.” Additionally, in 1880 work began on a second railroad, the Carson & Colorado Railroad, which operated between Mound House, where it connected with the V & T, to mining districts to the south and southeast such as Candelaria and Aurora.

The V & T’s fortunes began to wane with the decline of mining in the Virginia City area in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, the railroad had shifted its focus from transporting ore to carrying tourists and other passengers. In 1906, the V & T was extended south of Carson City to Minden.

The railroad’s financial situation worsened after 1924, when mining had virtually stopped in Virginia City. The railroad struggled to stay in business during the next 26 years (with the unprofitable Virginia City to Mound House spur shut down in 1938), losing money in each succeeding year. In 1950, the line was formally abandoned and the railroad’s historic rolling stock was sold to Paramount Studios.

Rebuilding a Legend

The rebirth of the V & T Railroad began in 1972 when Robert Gray, a railroad enthusiast from Sacramento,California, acquired a portion of the V & T right of way and began reconstructing the historic route. He laid the first tie in 1974 and started running his train for tourists three years later.

Despite setbacks, such as collapsed tunnels, steep grades, and aging equipment, Gray, his staff, and many volunteers have persevered. A few years ago, the V & T line had extended a few miles down the hill from Virginia City when it reached the entrance to the original Tunnel 3. Gray and his workers tried to reconstruct the tunnel but found it impossible to do so safely. The railroad was forced to extend the track around the hill, avoiding the tunnel. The result, however, is an even more spectacular trip as the train slowly sweeps around the side of a hill, offering a panoramic view of Gold Hill and the surrounding environs.

Pick The Perp!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Some Girls Have ALL The Talent!

That is right she is playing a Swiss Alphorn!

Still not sure what an Alphorn is? I present the next video.

Flight Returning From The Sun

My New Toy - The Kindle 2

Say Hello To Kindle!

Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback

Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images

Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging

More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books

Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns

Read-to-Me: With the new text-to-speech feature, Kindle can read every newspaper, magazine, blog, and book out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable

Large Selection: Over 285,000 books plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs available

Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise

Spotted This Off The Side Of The Road In Mound House, Nevada

Tahoe Flowers!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ultralight On A Summer Night

Best Friends... To A Point

A Shanghainese woman forces her boyfriend to buy her a Buick at the showroom

The Badgers Next Door

Deb called me upstairs, "Hurry, hurry!" We both looked out into the perpetually unfinished yard of our neighbor to witness FOUR badgers climb out of their hole! By the time I grabbed the camera three had already descended, but one hung around long enough have his/her photo taken.

Breakfast Of Champions!

Hmm, what could it be?

Some kind of sandwich?

It would be chocolate filled french toast!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Autoworkers Compete to Keep Jobs, Livelihoods on New Reality Show

Recession, schmession...some stuff REALLY selling right now

Profits in the first three months of 2009 at Hershey Co., the nation's second-largest candy maker, surged 20 percent and beat Wall Street's expectations. Kraft Foods Inc. reported double-digit growth in macaroni and cheese dinners - the consummate comfort food.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Pool Is Open For Business!

We took our first dip in the pool Saturday night and all is well. I'm sure the pool opening people enjoyed sucking up the carcasses of several unlucky mice and even a mole! It took 24 hours to go from a leaf filled, ice cold swamp to a crystal clear, 85 degree pool.

As a side note: While I was walking around the landscaping pulling weeds, a spider or a centipede sunk their fangs into my finger! It was a whopper, much like being electrocuted! The target finger has swollen a bit but my whole hand aches. I never did get a look at the creature, but I think I might start wearing gloves when I pull weeds from now on.

No, we did not place them there!

If you are not expecting cats in your laundry hampers, it'll make you jump!