Friday, May 30, 2014

The Start of the Peonies

I thought I would stop by Nichols Arboretum today to see if the peonies were starting to bloom.   Well, they were starting to bloom but not in any significant quantity.  Based on what they were saying, I should be able to have more later next week or by the weekend.
 There were a few that were blooming and they looked pretty nice.  Some of the partially pink ones.
 The deeper red ones.
 Another sort of pink one.
 I guess this is the hot pink one.
 A more pronounce pink.
 From a different angle.
 I'm not sure what these are.
 Or these.
 Same with these but I think they are pretty anyway.
And the house.

I will check later next week to see if things are more in bloom.  If so, I will have more pictures.  Enjoy these though because it means summer is around the corner.

Sturgeon Falls, MI - A Fictional Town

Roughly a month ago, I started to get myself some model trains.  At first I was just going to have them as static displays.  Then I decided that it would be much more fun to set up some track and start to play with them.  So I set up a rudimentary track system.  Then I decided to get another controller so that I could run two trains at once.  Then I made my setup a little more complicated.
After a while of playing around with it, I decided that I needed some buildings.  With that I also decided to base it on a setting I'm familiar with.  So I present Sturgeon Falls (there is a real one but this is not that one).  It is loosely based on some of the smaller towns I find in my travels around the state.  Rather than going out to buy the buildings, I've decided to try to building them myself.

The first building I created was the passenger depot.  It is loosely based on the one in Ypsilanti.  For now I'm going to keep the basic look but I think I want to paint it and make it look more realistic.

Sturgeon Falls was established in 1855.  Like many towns in Michigan it was in response to the lumber boom.  As the forests were depleted, they were converted over to farm land.  The first train passed through Sturgeon Falls in the 1870's, like many of the trains at the time, it was run by the Michigan Central Railroad.  The passenger depot was built in 1885.
The other buildings are loosely based on what I call "Standard Midwestern Town".  I imagine there is a blueprint somewhere that is titled that.  I also plan on painting these at some point.  So far, I have a trackside restaurant called "Eat", a hardware store, general store and hotel.   The hotel is known as the Railway Arms and was built in 1895 by the Michigan Central Railroad.  In its day it was a pretty nice place to stay.
Just an overall shot of the town.  I also plan to add a couple more buildings to the downtown area.
Sturgeon Falls is serviced by 5 of the major railroads.
An overall shot of my layout as it currently stands.  There is a small rail yard at one side and I guess something that would represent destinations.  Another building I plan to add is some sort of grain elevator.
A shot of my Union Pacific engine.
Same engine from a slightly different angle.
A shot of my small rail yard.  I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with the switcher though.  I like my layout so far though.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Random Boats on the River

Just some other boats that didn't really warrant a separate post.
 A Michigan Conservation Officer headed somewhere.  I think with fishing season in full swing again, these guys are in full swing.
 The tanker Nordic Oslo.  She is owned by Nordic Tankers out of Copenhagen, Denmark.  Built in 2005 she can can carry almsot 13,000 tons of cargo.
The Manitou and William C. Gaynor.

The Ken Boothe Sr./Lakes Contender Makes an Appearance Again

I also saw that the Ken Boothe Sr. and her barge were making their way up the river as well.
 I decided to linger around St. Clair and a little longer to catch her there.  Next to the Presque Isle, I think this is my next favorite tug/barge combo.
 It's not actually a bad looking combo.
 A shot of her bow.
 The Ken Boothe Sr.
 A shot of her pilothouse.
 She makes her way past St. Clair.
 I waited at the spot where I caught the Blough to catch her as she headed out.
 An almost head shot of her.
 She works her way past.
 Part of the Blue Water Bridge as the backdrop.
 A shot of her tug.
 Another shot of her tug.
One more shot of her as she heads out into Lake Huron.  I believe she is headed to Duluth.

The Roger Blough on the St. Clair River

So then the ship that I was waiting for appeared.
 As you know, the Roger Blough is by far my favorite ship.  She probably has the most appearances of any ship on this blog.  I was hoping to catch her on the way down but she appeared too late for me to get decent pictures.  When I saw that she was coming back up yesterday, I decided to go out and catch her.  I believe this was her first trip to Ohio this season.
 A shot of her pilothouse.
 A closer shot of her bow.  She's had a rough opening to her season.  I believe her hull was pierced somewhere but I couldn't tell exactly where.
 A shot of her deckhouse.
 She starts to work her way from Marine City.
 I caught her next at St Clair.  It was my plan to follow her all the way up the river.
 The beam shot.
 And a shot of her stern as she continues to head up the river.  By all appearances, she was booking.
 Next I caught her at Marysville but I was almost too late because I was sticking around for another ship.
 Another shot of her deckhouse.
 And a shot of her stack.
 The rear of her pilothouse.
 The shot as she was pulling away.
 Then I went to another favorite spot.
 A shot with the Willam C. Gaynor in the foreground.
 So then I grabbed my spot near the Blue Water Bridge.
 She slowly makes her turn towards Lake Huron.
 The full on head shot.
 She starts to pass by.
 A shot of her under the bridge.
 The almost full shot.
And she starts to enter Lake Huron.