Tag Archives: Missouri Pacific Railroad

Created by a 14-year-old boy trapped in a 64-year-old man’s body

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On this day last year, I was in Promontory, Utah, for the 150th anniversary celebration of the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.

In May 1969, I was a lad of 14 living in Kingsville TX with my paternal grandparents. My dad (then deceased), granddad, and three uncles all were working for Missouri Pacific Railroad in Kingsville, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Taylor, and Palestine.

Sadly, no one was willing to take me to Promontory for the 100th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

I was a sad and depressed boy of 14.

I put the 150th anniversary celebration on my calendar, swearing that I would make it if I were alive in 2019.

I made it, spending May 9-12 all over northern Utah and western Wyoming, getting hundreds of pictures and dozens of videos.

My favorite video from that week in Utah shows the two largest operating steam locomotives and their passenger cars leaving the historic 25th Street Station in Ogden on May 12 heading back home to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I followed them to Evanston, Wyoming, and then headed home to San Diego myself.

Here is my video, created by a 14-year-old boy trapped in a 64-year-old man’s body.

Out & About—Historic trains in Ogden Utah

Out & About The World

Granddad, as well as my dad, worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad, granddad as a Road Foreman of Engines. Dad also was a Road Foreman of Engines but had just been promoted to Vice-President of Missouri Pacific Railroad when he killed himself. They found his body on January 18, 1961, in a railroad box car in a small, isolated railroad siding northeast of Palestine, Texas. They estimated that he had been dead for three days.

After dad’s death, mom moved us from Palestine to northern Utah, first Hyrum, then Wellsville, then Logan, and finally Brigham City. Brigham City is where I became a rail fan. Among other things, I used to skip school and hop the Union Pacific trains, riding in a box car down to Ogden and back. A cool 38-mile round trip. I’m the reason why you don’t see open doors on empty box cars anymore….

In May 1969, when I was 14 years old, I was living in Kingsville, Texas, with my paternal grandparents. They had adopted me 3½ years earlier. May 1969 was the 100th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. I wanted so badly to go back to Utah and help Union Pacific celebrate, but said grandparents would not take me. I was sad. Granted, it was 1,500 miles away, but nevertheless…. Still sad.

My stamp collecting helped me determine that historic events were celebrated every 50 years. I did the calculations and determined that I would be 64 in 2019 when the 150th anniversary rolled around. I had a chance to still be alive, so I put it on my calendar.

Fast forward to May 10, 2019. Guess where I was. Yep. Northern Utah participating in many celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. Two historic steam locomotives were due to be in Ogden, Utah, to help with the celebrations My #1 goal was to get a video of the two locomotives leaving Ogden to go back to the steam shops in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Here’s the video I got:

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Out & About

Missouri Pacific LinesAs a toddler I had a significant interest in trains since my dad and granddad both worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad in Texas.

When my dad died in 1961, my mom moved us from Palestine, Texas, to Logan, Utah.

My interest in trains remained, though, so much so that whenever I ran away from home, which was often, I would walk the railroad tracks instead of the streets and highways.

Train tracks, State Route 94, San Diego County, CaliforniaMuch more fun…………

I used to think that maybe I would become one of The Boxcar Children.

When I came here to San Diego, walking the railroad tracks was frowned upon.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, CaliforniaIn fact, in some areas they will give you trespassing tickets if you don’t cross the tracks at designated crosswalks.

Unfortunately, though, railroad tracks often separate the beaches from the cities, so one sometimes has to walk a mile or more to get to a designated crossing.

Thus, beachgoers, especially those with children or large surfboards, often park wherever there is parking (and there’s not much!) and walk across the tracks, which is what I did recently when I came across the most interesting NO TRESPASSING sign.

Railroad No Trespassing sign

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

From what I have read, the theory behind that NO TRESPASSING sign is that people are looking down so as not to trip on rocks and train tracks, so that is the logical place to put such a sign. Makes sense to me………….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

My blogging secret: I don’t type!


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Throughout my blogging during the past five years, many people have asked, and continue to ask, how I get so much blogging done.

First, a little background:

I started typing way back in 1966 when my wise old grandmother’s husband — that would be my granddad — brought home a typewriter from the Missouri Pacific Railroad shops in Kingsville, Texas. It was an 1896 Underwood portable and looked like this:

Underwood typewriter

Underwood typewriter

The Underwood Typewriter Company was founded in 1895; my “new” typewriter was dated 1896.

I practiced typing by checking out a typing manual from the city library. By the time I got to ninth grade, where typing was a required course, I was typing a consistent 100 words a minute on my Underwood typewriter. There was no such thing as placing out of a required high school course or being exempt, so I registered for typing during my first summer. I had Miss Short:

Miss Short from King High School in Kingsville, Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Miss Short taught typing to my dad and my three uncles. At the time I took her typing class, the high school had just purchased a brand new IBM Selectric, all the rave in the typing world. During our mid-class break, I decided to type some of my famous Russel lists — highest mountains, longest rivers, most populous cities….

Miss Short came in and was astounded at how fast I was typing. She exempted me from participation in class and had me do personal typing for her, ON THE NEW IBM SELECTRIC! I was stoked. Miss Short entered me in the Texas UIL (University Interscholastic League) contests, and I won many of them, with my best typing speed being 176 words per minute with three errors on a five-minute test.

When I went off to college at Texas A&M University, I decided that I could make some money typing papers. I created “Just Your Type” and started doing research, writing, proofreading, copyediting, and typing. I couldn’t afford an IBM Selectric, so I bought a Smith-Corona, just like this one:

Smith Corona typewriter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was a junior at Texas A&M I entered a typing competition that had a $1,000 first prize. I won, typing the fastest I would ever type, a whopping 316 words per minute using an IBM self-correcting Selectric II typewriter.

Ultimately “Just Your Type” became a full-time business until 1993 when I moved to San Diego.

Got margarita?Therein lies the secret to how I get so much blogging done: I don’t type! Typing so fast all those years led to carpel tunnel symdrome which ultimately was renamed repetitive stress injury. About a decade ago, I switched to using voice recognition software, specifically Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS). The latest version is absolutely awesome right out of the box. I have it set to recognize various voices on my computers — my Regular voice, my I-have-a-cold voice, and my Too-many-margaritas voice.

If you don’t have the money to buy DNS and you happen to be using Windows 7, give Windows Speech Recognition a try. You can find it by clicking on the Start icon and then clicking on All Programs, Accessories, and Ease of Access. If you use an Apple product, well, you’re on your own. They lost me as a customer way back in 1983.

I can talk much faster than I can type, as can most people. If you find errors in my posts, it’s usually the result of me typing something after having turned off DNS.

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos