Friday, September 29, 2017

The Ann Arbor Railroad at Work Tonight

Today at work, I heard the train horns all day long and that was an indication that the Ann Arbor Railroad was doing stuff.  Unfortunately, I can't just drop what I'm doing and go out to catch pictures.
 As I was getting ready to leave, I heard the train horn again and I was hoping that it wasn't a case the train getting ready to go back home.  So I headed down Textile to be greeted by the sight of an Ann Arbor Railroad engine headed my way.
 Only it didn't continue, it just sort of waited there.  I was fine with that because it meant that I could get more pictures than I would have otherwise gotten.
 If you look in the background, you can see some tank cars.  These were being stored in the area and I think they may be moving them out.  This engine was waiting for a group of them to get moved down.
 I kind of like the lurking in the cornfield look.
 I like this lurking in the cornfield look even more.
 I decided to head to another spot to see if I could see them moving the tank cars and sure enough, here it was.  I think they had to move a certain number forward so that they could move them down the main line.
 Which is just as well because it gave me more opportunities to get pictures.
 Her cab.
 And she moves by.
 The engine backing up to move the cars down the line, they were going to connect them to the first engine I showed.

 And she ducks back around the corner.
 BAcking the cars up.
 A better shot of the first engine.

 After that, I went down Morgan Road and saw the train again.  It was waiting again.
 But that gave some opportunities for pictures.
 My favorite shot from the night.
And one more shot before heading home.

My Diecast Airliners

For as long as I can remember, I've liked to build models.  I still try to build them but not as often as I used to.  I was okay at building but I don't think I was going to ever win any contests because I don't have any patience to put some of the nitpicky details on them.  Several years ago, I discovered die cast models.  These aren't the die cast of my youth though because these are some pretty detailed models.
Most of the die cast models I've gotten over the years were military models.  Recently, I decided to get a couple of commercial planes.  These are the planes I mostly love.  While these aren't quite as detailed as the 1/72nd scale military planes I have, they aren't bad.
 First up is the Queen of the Skies, the 747.  Even at 1/200th scale, this plane is a beast.
 But a nice looking beast.
 The amazing part is when I discovered that I have pictures of the 1:1 version of the model.  The tail number is N668US and is one of the earlier 747-400s that Northwest bought.
 Next up is my favorite commercial plane, the 757.  This particular one is a 757-200 which is the smaller of the two versions.  Currently Delta has a couple of these flying humanitarian missions down to Puerto Rico.  They also used a couple to ferry supplies and people to Florida.
 I honestly don't know what it is that made me fall in love with this particular plane.  I mean it's a nice looking plane but still.
 A profile view.
 I wasn't sure if I would have a picture of the real plane but it turns out that I did.  This particular aircraft has a tail number of N6702.  And you see it landing at Metro Airport here.
 The next one is one of Delta's newest planes, the A350.
 I was kind of surprised they had this one out already but the real plane has been out for a while.  I'm sure it is pretty easy to switch the paint on them.
 This particular plane has a tail number of N501DN and was the first A350 delivered to Delta.  This is a picture I got of her on her 3rd or 4th day of training flights.
I don't have pictures of the real versions of all my planes thought.  I saw this one and had to have it.  At one time, Northwest was considering buying the 787.  In fact, I think they were going to be the North American launch customer for it.  But first Boeing was having issues getting it to production and then Northwest merged with Delta.  Delta still had the order on the books until this year.  Kind of a shame because I would love to see more 787s at Metro.  The only thing I don't like about this one is that it almost looks like it was based off a concept version.  It doesn't look exactly like the real plane but I still think it's cool.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Traveling M-52

One of the things I was doing on this blog for a while was traveling the various state highways and taking pictures of them as I went along.  I haven't done that in a while and I want to start it again.  I figured M-52 would be an easy highway to trace since it's not that long.
 M-52 was first designated a state highway on July 1, 1919.  Originally it started at the Ohio Border at the end of Ohio Route 109 and went through Adrian.  At M-50, it turned east towards Tecumseh and then turned north to Clinton where it ended.  In 1960, M-92 was extended to Clinton and M-52 was extended north to Manchester.  In 1969, it was extended all the way to its current end.
 And since we were entering Michigan, we were greeting with the Pure Michigan sign.
 Adrian was founded on June 18, 1826 by Addison Comstock who was a promoter of the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad.  Originally it was named Logan.  In 1828, it was renamed Adrian after the Emperor Hadrian by Comstock's wife.  Throughout the late 1800's and early 1900's, Adrian was known as the fence capital of the world after the invention of the wire fence by Wallace Page.  In this time, Adrian was one of the first fence manufacturers in the world and would ship fences around the world.
Between 1900 and 1912, Adrian was shaping to be a motor capital of the world as it had a couple of car companies.  The first was the Church Manufacturing Company and they produced the Murray and the Lenawee Car.  Both were popular but due to bad financial decisions, Church went out of business.  Another was the Lion but that factory caught fire and ended the company.
 Adrian is the County Seat of Lenawee County and has about 21,000 people.  This is the County Courthouse.  I'd swear this looks like every other county courthouse in Michigan.
 In 1824, the land around Manchester was surveyed by John Mack and it was noted as being a good seat for a grist mill.  John Gilbert, who was originally from upstate New York, moved to Ypsilanti.  In 1832, he decided to look at the land he held in the area.  He decided to build a grist mill along the River Raisin.  In 1835, the village of Manchester was established.
 I'm not sure if this is the site of the original mill but it works.  Currently, 2,091 people live in Manchester.
  At it's heart, Chelsea is an agricultural community.  Just outside of town are a number of farms and in town are some things that come about as a result of those farms.  It was first settled in 1820 by Cyrus Beckwith along with the brothers Elisha and James Congdon.  It was named after Elisha's home town of Chelsea, Massachusetts.
 Chelsea is also home to the Jiffy Mix Company.
 Stockbridge doesn't look all that much different from many of the other towns along the way.  Its first settlers arrived in 1835.  The town was planned by Elijah Smith and he was going to name it Pekin.  Before he could register the town, he was bought out by Silas Beebe.  Mr. Beebe thought the railroad would be passing through and Mr. Smith knew that wasn't going to happen immediately.  The railroad wouldn't arrive until 1883.
 I will admit that it was this building that caught my eye.  This is the Stockbridge Town Hall.  It was designed by Elijah Myers and constructed in 1892.  It is a Romanesque structure and not only does it house the local government, it also was host to many cultural events.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  It was restored in 1982 with the assistance of Federal Grant money.
The only problem with these trips is that the towns start to blend.
 One of many barns on M-52.
 A post office was established in Perry in 1850.  It is named after Oliver Hazard Perry, the famous Naval Commander who won the Battle of Lake Erie.  It was officially incorporated in 1893.
 The first settlers in Owosso were Alfred L. and Benjamin O. Williams.  They were followed by Elias Comstock who built the first permanent home there.  It was incorporated as a city in 1850.  Currently there are around 15,000 people that live there.  One of Owosso's most famous residents was Thomas E. Dewey.  He was the Dewey part of the "Dewey defeats Truman" headline.  Owosso was also home to Mel Schacher, who was a member of Grand Funk Railroad.   It was also home of Alvin Bentley, whose wife gave a large donation to the University of Michigan which enabled the Bentley Historical Library. 
 Owosso is also home to the Curwood Castle.  This belonged to James Oliver Curwood who was an American Action-Adventure writer and conservationist.  His books were amongst the top ten best sellers in the 1920s.  At least 18 movies were based on his works.  At the time of his death, he was one of the top paid authors in the world.
 His statue.
 A bridge near the castle.
 This is the house that was built by Elias Comstock.
 M-52 ends somewhere north of St. Charles, Michigan.  I couldn't go any further along M-52 proper because it was under construction.  St. Charles is roughly in the middle of Saginaw County.  This does not look like a typical Midwestern town though.  It almost looks like they couldn't decide the look they were going for.
However, it seems like this clock is fairly standard these days.

One of the things I like about taking these rides is that they give me a chance to learn little tidbits about my state.  I'm not sure what highway I'll do next though.