Steam power

Here’s one more locomotive from the Christmas Eve museum trip. This baby was built in Philadelphia and most likely sent to San Francisco by ship. I have no idea how they handled huge cargo like that with the primitive cranes they had. Maybe they just got a lot of people to pull on a big thick rope.

One interesting thing we learned at the railroad museum is that there was a difference between coal-burning and wood-burning locomotives. The coal burners had a narrow smokestack, while the wood burners had a great big wide one, presumably to catch the much larger numbers of burning embers produced by wood. Coal was the preferred fuel, but it was unavailable on the west coast, so they used wood out here. Check out this photograph and see if you can figure out which locomotive came from the east and which one came from the west.

Wonders of Blogger yet again today. And once again, I really have no excuse. We enjoyed a nice quiet evening at home, watched the new Monk and Psych, had a slice of two (two!) kinds of cake, and just generally hung around. And I didn’t blog.

Not that there was that much to blog about. I got out of the office a little early, so I was home by about 5:20. It wasn’t even dark yet! The Loyal Readers were in the middle of a book group meeting, which was followed by a delicious dinner and the aforementioned evening activities.

Speaking of not being dark yet, the days are definitely getting longer, aren’t they? Spring is only two months away. In fact, the hills between here and the Bay Area are already starting to green up. It seems like winter just started. How time flies.

A few things are on tap for this weekend. The primary one is the need to do our taxes (or at least a preliminary version) so we can get a FAFSA done for Loyal Reader Number One’s scholarship applications. I would like to have a look at the Honda’s brakes – there’s been some squealing lately – but that could wait for next weekend if necessary. Let’s see, I ought to check the weather and compare/contrast today with next Saturday’s prediction. Be right back.

I’m back. The Weather Channel thinks it’s going to be 57 and sunny today, and 54 and partly cloudy one week hence. Today looks like the better option. And I have the time. I don’t particularly feel like getting greasy, though. We’ll just see how it goes.

Speaking of weather, I’ve been looking at the Weather Underground site lately. In spite of its horrendous design, I like it. They take inputs from numerous privately-owned weather stations. Presumably, anybody who cares to install an automated station can participate. In fact, a tiny bit of research reveals that you can get a weather station for anywhere from $200 to $1500, including software to connect it to your computer and connect your computer to the Weather Underground and other cooperative weather services. Very cool. I think the long list down at the bottom of the page gives you a much better feel for how the weather really is in your area. Check it out.

I guess if I’m going to fiddle with the Honda’s brakes, I ought to look at the Miata’s as well. There are no particular signs of wear there, but I have absolutely no idea how many miles they have on them. And I still need to replace those poor blown headrest speakers. So much to do. And I would really prefer to lie around and read all day. Sigh.

By the way, the decision has been made. The Honda is staying in the family.

Anyway. Those things aren’t going to do themselves. See you on Monday.

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