Showing posts from April, 2013

Mystery Train from the Old Navy Yard

Seeking out old Lionel trains (and cars) has become a habit of mine recently. I decided to get started back after Christmas when I realized that there are too few people running Lionel or Marx or other O gauge electric trains. In fact, it almost seems like the hobby has been in decline since the 1980s. So I decided to keep this tradition alive somewhat.
However, it often appears that though there is plenty of old working model trains out there- the collectors have created a somewhat inflated value of these trains and accessories. It just makes the hobby more exclusive because toy trains have become equated with gold- notwithstanding the trains and accessories made of gold, if there are any. So what I often see is anything with a Lionel on it automatically becomes something of value even if it is come or unexceptionally built.
The trains of the Post-WWII period (and those before) were exceptionally made for the most part. But there was plenty of low cost yet durable pieces produced.…

Runners starting to bloom

Still feeling chilly up here in the 'Go, yet this weekend runners started to bloom out of the ground. It seemed that everywhere I went I noticed someone running. Even I ran this weekend- which has been rare this year because I run during the week. The weather cooperated mostly this weekend. The temps touched the 40s. It rained later on Sunday.
But why all the running now. Well, here are a few of my  theories.

Treadmill burnout.
I cannot imagine day in and day out doing the treadmill all winter. Running may be about the body but there is a huge aspect of running that is mental. I often burn-out running the same routes. When I find a new one my pace is more chipper. I feel more confident.Fargo Marathon in less than a month.
Yes, many may have realised that marathon day in Fargo is drawing near. Time to train. Time to get used to the pounding of the pavement. Although, the hardcore of those anticipating on running a PR at the Fargo Marathon will probably have been training since Janua…

Dangers of Twin City bike commuting and the M200

I've a little bike commuting in the Twin Cities. The vast metro area has plenty of bike lanes and routes connecting the inner core. Not so much the on the outer ring suburbs. Sure you can get around them but trying to go from one municipality to another is a trying activity because the way the highways cut everything up. However from the West and SouthWest burbs one might connect with the Cedar Lake Trail into downtown Minneapolis. Nothing that vast exists on the Eastside of the Twin Cities except perhaps the Gateway Trail and a route along Pt Douglas to Battle Creek that then follows the river.
But this post is not about routes. It is about danger and specifically this article from the Star Tribune: Bicyclist survives Molotov cocktail on Minneapolis’ Midtown Greenway.
The guy was biking through the Greenway in Minneapolis during the day and faced certain explosiveness from a bomb! Crazy! He goes on to say he has encountered other "missiles" as well. I never though that…

The Old Caboose- Lionel SP Caboose 6257 but illuminated

Since I've moved into a house I have been able to enjoy an old hobby-model railroad. Quite a few of my pics of trains and scenery have shown up on Instagram or Facebook.
The hobby seems like it is dying out to an extent- or has the potential to flicker out of popularity. I see fewer and fewer trains at the stores these days and much less a the hobby shops out this way. RC seems to be the hobby of choice. To find some supplies I need to head down to the Twin Cities and make a stop through Scale Model Supply to get what I need. Used to be a few stores that sold trains in the 'Go. In fact one of them used to be located where my church meets. Google pages say there is one- but on the map it is a house. There is an annual train show in October.
I digress.
Well, I had HO trains growing up. But just got into O scale this year, mostly because the size would be good for kids and my dad had a collection of Lionel trains. But before I set up to borrow my Dad's trains, I needed my …

The transitional spring

How easily we forget the tentacles of winter in this region. Last year's early spring put a spell on us. Made us think that we're not that cold.We're pleasant once February rolls past.
Not this year. The snow is still on the ground as April arrived. Its disappearing act has been hampered by the cooler temps that haunt our nights. It is that transitional season without a name. Sun, ice, and breeze.
For us ice bikers it is also the season of re-freeze. In the morn, vast sheets of ice on our paths. In the evening, a malignant transitory lake to throttle through. I have 2 of them on my route.
The one above knock me off my ride. It was a slippery one with no way to practically avoid it. I tried the side and it got me good.
I had changed my ride for the week. The old winter bike is not in good shape. It's pedal crank arm is falling off again. The rear gears are not working because the derailleur wire is broken. I gerryrigged it into a single speed and that worked for a wh…