Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday Night (Not Very) Special

What with it being a long holiday weekend, the sun being out, and not having anything else that HAD to be done, Mrs. L4T and myself decided to run over to Staples Saturday after supper. I knew there were a few westbounds out and thought I might have a chance at a couple in decent light, unlike a recent trip when the clouds got the best of me on a busy evening.

Before we even made it to Verndale, I spotted a headlight and made for one of my standard spots, the dip where the tracks cross the Wing River west of that fair city. I really need to find a longer lens that will give me a clear shot at an affordable price. If such a thing exists.

After meandering over to Staples, I decided to take my laptop uptown to see if I could find a wireless signal to grab in order to view ATCS info while out fanning. Since I had both hands busy, I asked the Mrs. to drive. Before she had even finished parking uptown I heard a coal empty call for permission to enter the Staples Sub. He was close, as the radio was very clear, so I asked Mrs. L4T to make haste back trackside so I could get a photo. She skidded to a stop near the 6th Street crossing as I bailed out to grab this backlit shot of the MAC leading the train. I've no doubt that my antics were a source of great amusement to the crew on the coal train. After all, isn't that why I'm here, to keep the crews entertained on their long journeys across central Minnesota?

After a futile attempt to get my old laptop up and running in order to sniff around for wireless signals, I finally gave up. The battery is decrepit, and while the machine will run ATCS fine when an outlet is available, the inexpensive inverter I have for charging my cell phone and bluetooth headset are overmatched when pitted against the power requirements of this 8 year old Dell laptop.

I took the wheel again, and pointed the Escape west. I made it less than 2 blocks before hearing the detector at 151.6 announce the imminent arrival of an eastbound train. Since I so rarely see trains on this line, I decided there was no way I could pass up the chance at this backlit, wanna be glint shot. I should be ashamed of even posting it, but decided to offer it up as a display of how I can hardly ever pass up the opportunity to photograph a train, even when I know the results will be sub-par.

And with that we headed for home. There's an old saying about a bad day (golfing, fishing, hunting, take your pick) is better than a good day at work. Even though this wasn't a bad day, I think it would be safe to add railfanning to the list of things that are good even when they aren't great.


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