26 November 2015

Ye Olde Thanksgiving Post

Back in the day when college did not break for Thanksgiving until the day before the holiday, I was instrumental in making Thanksgiving special to a bunch of college students in west central Minnesota. This silly radio drama was broadcast on KUMM  with the help of some people named Nancy, Kennedy, Lopez, Fluegel and I think Nathan. I have never received any feedback from anyone who heard it originally back in the 90s. Perhaps nobody was listening that night. I doubt another radio drama was ever mounted again on KUMM. Maybe I should re-make this show as a video for the YouTube.
Here is the audio below of the ~12 minute show.

25 November 2015

A Fall day at the Granite City Train Show

Granite City O Gaugers layout
Earlier this month- November 14th to be exact- I partook of a train show in St Cloud, MN.
The Granite City Train show is a twice yearly event at the St. Cloud Armory. One show is in fall and the other is in spring. This show brings in quite a number of both train enthusiasts and vendors. I would suggest that this is the biggest train show between the Twin Cities and Winnipeg and quite possibly Western Washington. Most scales were present along with much railroad collectibles and antiques. I think I even saw some standard gauge track for sale. But saw good amount of rusty or old track which I do not need. My friend and I tend to look for salvageable operating equipment in O scale. There was a modest amount at this show.
This was my third time attending the show.My sub-mission for this show was to acquire more items for scenicing my dormant layout. I came out with quite an assortment which I will post later. In this post I show some of the layouts that were on display at the show.

Kids train area
I like that this show has set aside an area for kids to play with wooden trains and an electric train layout as seen above. Kids these days hardly see this hobby so it is beneficial to let them see and touch. I think by doing that stimulates the imagination. And that is what keeps model railroading going- plenty of imagination.
N scale layout
I acquired a bunch of Kato N scale track for really cheap. I have a few N cars and an engine. An N scale layout is in the distant future. However and temporary layout for a show might be possible.
HO scale layout

My first electric train was an HO Campbell's Soup outfit made by Life-Like. I eventually made a larger layout on some boards. I had a some buildings but very little in the way of scenery. Although I did have a rudimentary block system to control multiple trains.

Let us give thanks (in tablet form)

So giving thanks is supposed to be healthy for you according to this article- http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/giving-thanks#2

Came across this Thanksgiving video a while back. Most assuredly the most non-traditional Thanksgiving meal concocted by a vitamin company.

 So if you don't want to bother with fixing the turkey this year, swing over to Swanson and bag some of those tablets.

12 November 2015

The month of model railroads

November is nearly half over!! And thus half the month of the celebration of model railroading has been missed here on the Royce Files. Well lots has been missing from the Royce Files as of late. I have been a pretty poor blogger. Nonetheless, let's celebrate a little model railroading today with a post about the local train (model and toy) show.
The Spud Valley show has been held yearly in Fargo since the late 1970s. Its existence was in part inspired by the Twin City Model Railroad Club's multiple shows in the Twin Cities (so I overheard while wandering around this year's show.) However the Spud show incorporates much more than model trains. You can see model cars, vintage toys, toy tractors, and even a decent amount of railroad ephemeral (ie. railroad time tables, buttons, paper, calendars, hats, lanterns etc.) Plus, to my knowledge, it is the only train show in North Dakota. There are quite a few up the road in Winnipeg.
I went to the show a few years ago and was a bit disappointed. Not much that interested me from the vendors. And there were only 1 or 2 layouts. But this year was different. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Then I was surprised that I took more pictures of farm toys and trucks than the trains. I think I have more videos of the train layouts somewhere but I know not where they are now.
N scale layout.
There were a considerable amount of N-scale layouts (although 1 might have been Z) at the show this year including the one above. I also saw a Lionel layout and talked with the guy about how he wired it. Of course the Spud Valley Club's modular HO layout was there too.

Lots of Tonka and Tonka-like toys

Toy tractors
There was this odd combine which I saw. Just to the left of the yellow bus there is a Campbell's Soup Combine. No clue where it originated. The Net is silent on simple searches. And yes, to the right of the bus, that Massey Ferguson combine contraption is odd too. Although my Ag Toy adviser states his father had the full size unit at one time.

22 September 2015

Much to do with model trains

My railyard is dormant
 My layout has been dormant for quite some time. I redid the configuration but have yet to re-lay the track or do a power overhaul. I have also been looking for 42" turnouts and K-line switches. There are a few engines waiting to be run. I really want to get it up and running again before Christmas

Dalton O-Gauge layout
Visited the Dalton Threshing Reunion a few weeks ago. The smell of steam abounded. They have a little 2 foot gauge steam engine on the grounds that gets plenty of runs in during the weekend. There is also an area for model trains. The Spud Valley club brings their HO modular layout and then there is another guy with a small American Flyer layout. A large O gauge layout fills out the rest of the room along with a few tables of leftover HO pieces that must have been donated. The O layout is pretty bare for now- just a big double loop and some buildings here and there and particle board landscaping. No fancy Lionel accessories adorn the layout and the trains running were fairly common models albeit with Union Pacific markings.  
Model of Great Northern Dalton depot
The one building I had not seen previously was a model of the Dalton depot. The prototype is actually on the show grounds and serves as the station for the Milton Martinson- the 2 ft gauge steam engine. The model is pretty good. The layout has a lot of possibilities and I hope in future years to see some updates.
American Flyer fun

13 August 2015

6 Eyed Fish

While wandering the hills of San Francisco last month I encountered this image on the street. I am not sure if I had seen it before but it seems familiar. It appears to be a representation of a 6 eyed fish or maybe a whale. I have yet to find anything on the web about the image so I will just post this here to see what happens.

12 August 2015

Pacific Electric and fun on street cars

Visited the San Francisco bay area back in July and enjoy plenty of rides on tracks.
From the Airport I took the BART Train to the Embarcadero and later got on a street car much like the one pictured above. The next day I rode more BART and street cars and topped off the day with a ride on a California Line cable car. All the street cars in the Market Street and Wharf areas are historic and either restored to original livery or given a paint to honor a certain street car line from elsewhere.
The Pacific Electric car above is one such repainted. It originally served the city of Philadelphia. Pacific Electric was a line in southern California with some connections to the Southern Pacific Railroad. The store of the line is no unlike others in America. Rapid growth as people moved outside the city centers and then some ebbs with automobile use increases until finally became uneconomical to maintain the service. Really it is hard to understand how we let these modes of transport die away. There were some scandals concerning the eventual demise of Pacific, not unlike the street cars lines in the Twin Cities. But the business model of Pacific relied on the land development and that can only go on for so long.
Riding in historic street cars is really fun so if you get to the Bay Area take a ride.

13 May 2015

Fargo Marathon 2015: Truth, Justice, and the American Way

It is a cold run man
The biggest story from the marathon probably has been- it was cold. The second and lesser known story I will discuss in a later post. A third does exist but it is more romantic. And that being said there were not too many interesting shots  to get since most people were bundled up good. The only thing I did not see was someone running in a ski mask, but I suppose that I might have missed that one.
The marathon was fortunate to be run during the best weather of the weekend. As the weekend progressed the temperatures and precipitation made for a much cooler Fargo than previous years. But having the race this early in May is hit or miss with the weather. 2 of last years top finishers did not even run despite being registered. I would not say the conditions were adverse. They were good but certainly not ideal. The biggest challenge for running in Fargo is wind.  Nonetheless 20,000 is certainly a good draw for a race in cooler weather. Starting indoors certainly helped.
Costumes were a rarity this year. There were a few tutus. And there were a few costumes I did not recognize as a costume. Would have been a great year for costumes. So I will serve up what I captured.

Super Girl gave a super smile and wave to the camera and then sped off to keep warm in order to finish the half marathon.

Super Girl give us a wave
Yet again Superman showed that he is still the man of steel by running the marathon. Superman's outfit looks pretty good for mile 21. I always wonder what kind of reception he gets at the finish line. Does he just fly off?

Superman Returns
 Finally no marathon would be complete without the American flag bearer. No really a costume but goes with the Superman theme since his motto is truth, justice, and the American way. I wonder if that is still his motto?

The Ameican Way