Posted by: Roger | November 20, 2011

Wow, what a day!

I went to Puyallup, pronounced something like Pooeyloop, (nah, it’s really poooo-yawl-up – thank you High Life Helicopters* for the correct pronunciation!) for the Great something this or that train show with a couple friends. It was a great show, no really, it was. My philosophy now is make one run through all the tables looking for good stuff, but not buying, then look for those items on the return trip. Saved hundreds of dollars that way. (There was that Samhongsa Atlas NP 2-8-8-2 for $250 that some other deserving soul got, and the Atlas NP RS-3 that also got snapped up.)

NOTE TO MANUFACTURERS: MAKE MORE NP STUFF. It sells in a heartbeat, while UP, SF stuff grows MOLD and rots waiting for buyers. I couldn’t count the number of UP-SF items from the last millennium that was still for sale. I saw UP-SF stuff for sale that was still unopened from 1979.

But, I picked up a Micro-Trains Burlington Northern fallen flags 4-pack (#22102) for $28! That’s SEVEN dollars a car. Perfect price. I already have one of these sets, but this one I think I will make a video of opening the shrink wrap, removing the pizza cutters and replacing them with Atlas wheels, and RUNNING it. Imagine that, there is one person on planet Earth who will – gasp! – RUN Micro-Trains cars. That’s me. Those collector types with have a mass spontaneous heart attack. They’ll burn me at the stake for being a heretic. “YOU CAN’T RUN THOSE CARS; THEY ARE SACROSANCT ICONS! WORTH BILLIONS!” Watch me. Note to rabid “collector” types; I will sell the first set I bought for $9000 PLUS shipping. You can probably convince the IRS that it’s an investment, but don’t blame me if the best price you can get later on is a buck-99. 50 cents a car.

I was really tempted to buy an HO Northern Pacific Atlas GOLD HH660. Being a fanatic NP guy, I had pre-ordered one at a major on-line retailer shortly after they were announced. I’m talking September 2010, here. I watched the other on-line dealers get theirs in August 2011, but I sat back smugly thinking, “Hah, hah! I’ve got mine coming from that Colorado place.” August went, September came… and went, and ALL the other internet dealers were sold out. In late September, I sent an email to the dealer: where’s my loco? The answer came back, “We haven’t received our shipment yet.” WHAT! I sent an email to Atlas. The answer was something like: “We have completely filled ALL orders we have received since Tyrannosaurus Rex was an egg, and we are TOTALLY out of stock on ALL items and we will NEVER have anymore, ever, neener neener.”

Houston, we have a problem here. Those knuckleheads in Colorado will STILL be waiting for their shipment when Bill Gates runs out of money. At another train show in early October, I saw a non-sound NP HH660, and I grabbed it immediately, thinking it had to be the last unsold one on planet Earth. (I suspected Atlas made only 12 of the NP version, and about 2 million of the “Harvey WallaBanger and North Southern Podunk Short Line”; they’re EVERYWHERE IN MEGA QUANTITIES) So, what happens? At the Puyallup show, I see this no-name retailer with TWO of the Gold series NP models. I should have bought one, but I passed them up and bought a Digitrax sound decoder to install in the non-sound model I bought earlier. Probably a mistake, but, oh well. Solution: NO MORE orders to big on-line dealer in Colorado. I’ll take my chances with no-name outfits instead of you.

Then we went to see the three N scale open house layouts, although the last guy thought he was done for the day. It was a long day. Thank you Tyler for taking the time to show three late-comers your marvelous model railroad.

Three great layouts of different philosophy. 1. Put a train on the tracks and run it through flawless scenery (switching cars is in the future, maybe); 2. Put lots of trains on the tracks and deliver individual cars where they go in a huge layout, and, by the way, what’s this thing called “scenery,” (that’s not fair because it was there and to his standard of “good enough;” mine too, and that’s what I will likely end up with) and 3. I’m small, but I’m going to put cars where they go and WOW! those switch stands look great and the scenery is marvelous, and look at this and look at that, and how about that…. What a day of ideas and dreams. Gotta get going on my layout. Again, thank you Walt, Roy, and Tyler for opening your homes to us crazy model railroaders. I hope to someday repay the favor with my own layout.

By the way, I have added a new link to Mike’s Spokane International Railroad Spokane International Railroad web site. You may have seen it in (shameless plug) N Scale Railroading magazine. (I’ll toot my horn a bit more as I helped put flocking on some of the trees, and I pushed the button on Mike’s camera when they were pouring the Magic Water.) On the way home, we stopped off at Kirk’s place to see where he is going to build the Milwaukee Road… ALL of it! From Kentucky, or maybe eastern Turkey, or east of Saturn, or somewhere around there, to northwest Washington with all the branch lines in between. I’m exaggerating, of course, but he is an ambitious fellow. If you need a back issue or 500, give Kirk a call. He’s got ’em.

*Over three summers a long time ago, Gary, Steve, and Jim put me into some of the most inhospitable places in Alaska that you can imagine. From the snow covered mountains of the Alaska Peninsula to the 70th parallel… OH NO! I’m rambling. Momma, why does Grandpa smell like that? Go here…Well, honey, it’s because….

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