Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Photographer career began in sixth grade in 1966.

Out & About—I think I’m going with 1886 on this one….

Out & About The World

Barstow, California was founded in….


There does not seem to be agreement on exactly when Barstow was founded. One source says the late 1830s as part of the Mormon Corridor, but the same source says that the Mormon Corridor existed from the 1850s to the 1890s.

Another source says that Barstow was founded in 1880 during a silver-mining rush, first being called Fishpond and then Waterman Junction. It was renamed in 1886 to honor William Barstow Strong, then president of the Santa Fe Railway. Although mining declined, Barstow endured as a railroad town and tourist spot on Route 66. Further growth occurred when Fort Irwin Marine Corps Base was established in the 1940s.

The military and the railroads have been an important part of the history of Barstow, California, and that history was celebrated in 1986 when Rotary Centennial Park was built.

Rotary Centennial Park in Barstow, California

Rotary Centennial Park in Barstow, California

Rotary Centennial Park in Barstow, California

Rotary Centennial Park in Barstow, California

Rotary Centennial Park in Barstow, California

Rotary Centennial Park in Barstow, California

Rotary Centennial Park in Barstow, California

I’m wondering if Barstow built Rotary Centennial Park in 1886 because that was the centennial year. If so, I wonder why not a single source that I found gave 1886 as the year the city was founded. Nonetheless, I think I’m going to go with 1886 on this one….

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My first (and probably only!) Haiku


A Facebook friend challenged me to write a novel.


How about a novella?






Maybe Haiku.

I dislike it just enough to try it.


Zoey the Cool Cat
Lazy and steals office chairs
Love her anyway

Even came up with an inspirational picture:

Zoey the Cool Cat

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Out & About—Could it be that old?

Out & About The World

I got my first bicycle when I was 8 years old (1963) and living in Brigham City, Utah. Granted, I stole it, but….

On the first day I rode my beautiful new bike to school, I parked it in the bike rack at the front of the school. This was back in the days when no one stole things (!), so bikes were not locked.

When I visited Lake View Elementary School on July 25, 2018, the entrance to the school had been moved to a different street. The school principal, who was on site when I was there, told me that re-positioning had occurred in 1981.

I went to the street where the entrance once had been and found a bike rack overgrown with weeds. Wow. I wonder. Could it be that old?

Bike rack at Lake Vew Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

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Did You Know?—Deep Space Network, Goldstone Antennas, and InSight

Did you know?

I was fascinated yesterday when the InSight successfully landed on Mars. Facebook memes immediately began cropping up. This is my favorite:

Mars landing meme

When I joined the Boy Scouts in 1966 after my wise old grandmother had adopted me, I became fascinated by the stars, the clouds, the sky. Space Boy Scouts Space Exploration merit badgeexploration. The Boy Scouts’ newest merit badge was the Space Exploration merit badge, created in 1965.

I was on it.

To help me along, Gene Roddenberry created “Star Trek, debuting on television on Thursday, September 8, 1966. On Thursday nights, my wise old grandmother forced me to study or practice my violin.

School nights.


TV Guide "Star Trek" coverFriday afternoon, though, were daytime repeats of the previous week’s shows, and TV Guide indicated that “Star Trek” would be televised at 3:30.

I was on it.

School let out at 3:00.

I was home by 3:15,
grabbed a loaf of bread,
a butter knife,
a jar of peanut butter,
a jar of jam,
and sat myself in front of the television from 3:30 to 4:30
to watch “Star Trek.”

I was mesmerized.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I have been a “Star Trek” fan my whole life.

A Trekkie.

A Trekker.

Mesmerized by space exploration television shows and movies. Books. Museums. Exhibits. Just cannot get enough of them.

St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Kingsville TexasWhen Apollo 11 landed on the moon, a landing to be televised live, I was the saddest kid in the world because the landing would be at 12:17 p.m. on Sunday. I would be in church with my wise old grandmother. I’m not sure what I did to convince her that the moon landing was more important than church on that day, but we did not go to church. I watched the moon landing, and collected Corpus Christi, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston newspapers the next day with their bold headlines and pictures. Sadly, the newspapers got left behind in April 1993 when I escaped Texas and settled in San Diego.

Corpus Christi Caller moon landing paper

When I was in Barstow, California, on July 30 & 31, 2018, the historic Harvey House railroad depot, renovated and re-purposed, had a Goldstone Deep Space Network Visitor Center and a permanent exhibit about the Deep Space Network and the Goldstone Antennas.

I was on it.

Trains at the historic Barstow rail yard took a back seat for an hour.

Deep Space Network

Goldstone Antennas

NASA’s Deep Space Network is a worldwide network of spacecraft communication facilities specificially for United States spacecraft. Russia, China, India, Japan, and the European Space Agency have similar networks. NASA’s is located in Barstow, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia.

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Each facility is located in bowl-shaped terrain surrounded by mountains to help shield against radio frequency interference. The facilities provide nearly 120-degree separation, which allows for constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates, thereby making DSN the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world. The Deep Space Operations Center is at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space is defined as more than two million kilometers from the Earth’s surface, so missions to the Moon do not qualify to use the network. Missions to Mars, however, do.

The antennas are located on government property northeast of Barstow, near Fort Irwin. According to staff at the Visitor Center, they are not visible from any roads since they are in a bowl surrounded by mountains.

Deep Space Network locations

And now, we return you to trains and the historic Barstow rail yard.

Barstow rail yard

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Santa Fe 1460

Santa Fe 1460–Beep, beep

Railroads & Trains logo

My father and his three siblings, as well as their father, all worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad at some point in their lives. My dad and granddad made railroad work a career.

Although I have been interested in railroads since I was six, I don’t know much about the actual working equipment—steam locomotives and diesel engines, maintenance of way equipement, cabooses, etc., and their history. However, whenever I see static displays at museums, depots, and rail yards, I presume it is more than just your common equipment, so I take pictures.

Today, I posted this picture on a Santa Fe Railroad group on Facebook:

Santa Fe 1460

Knowledgeable people commenting on Facebook did not know what it was. Their lack of knowledge piqued my interest very quickly. Eventually, courtesy of Google, I discovered that it was built as a one-of-a-kind engine in 1970. It currently is preserved as a static display at the historic Harvey House depot in Barstow, California.

Technically, Santa Fe 1460 is a rebuild, but a very unusual one. Originally built in July 1943 at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, Santa Fe Railway selected it a test subject to determine if remanufacturing its aging locomotives would be a viable, and less expensive, option over buying new locomotives. Conversion proved too costly, resulting in Santa Fe 1460 being the only locomotive that was modified.

I found conflicting information about the end of 1460’s working years. One source said that it was retired in March 2009 and stored in working condition in Topeka, Kansas. In May 2009, it was donated to the Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow, California, which is where I found it on July 31, 2018.

However, another source, a railfan blogger, said that 1460 was retired in 2012.

Yet a third source, which has a few billion pictures of railroad locomotives, as well as the date and location where the picture was taken, shows Santa Fe 1460 in Cleburne, Texas, on December 16, 1997. The shops in Cleburne are where the remanufacturing took place. On July 6, 1990, it was in Kansas City, Kansas. The last picture of it in the Kansas City area was taken on September 1, 1999. The next picture, dated July 21, 2009, shows it at the Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow.

I’m going to discount the blogger since his information has no references or other sources.

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Halls of History—I guess I come from a dysfunctional family

Halls of History

When I went to Brigham City, Utah, in late July 2018, I wanted to find all the homes and stomping grounds from my youth, ages 6-10.

The last home I lived in before the State of Utah took me away from my mom and stepdad (I was one of the State’s greatest juvenile delinquents) was at 301 Englewood Drive. Across the street was a park that I often played in to get away from parental abuse at home. Hmmm. I wonder if the parental abuse was a cause of my juvenile delinquency…………

The park in the early 1960s was covered with poison ivy, which is where I learned that I wasn’t affected by poison ivy. In July 2018 it had grass, trees, playground, basketball courts, baseball fields, picnic areas, and no poison ivy.

Lindsay Park in Brigham City, Utah

Lindsay Park in Brigham City, Utah

Lindsay Park in Brigham City, Utah

Lindsay Park in Brigham City, Utah

I must admit that I was a little saddened and depressed while roaming around Brigham City finding things and reminiscing. I think most of it resulted from not knowing my birth dad (he committed suicide when I was 6) and having no relationship with my birth mother after my wise old (paternal) grandmother adopted me in December 1965. I guess I come from a dysfunctional family….

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