Blue Mountains and Turf.


Took a break from family vacation in the Blues I got out last tuesday.

Started out day break in LaGrande, was an unusual scene with no trains in the yard at sunrise. Found two trains parked east of town on the main and coming down the grade from Telocaset. I had my oldest son Andrew along to keep me company, he even tried his hand with a few keepers of his own with my D70.

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Telocaset has changed a lot since I last ventured out here 4 years ago.

Mainly the addition of these green power monsters. On a positive note UP is installing radio signal comms doing away with the unsightly poles and lines up here that cause so much trouble for shooting.

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We found this innovative advertising ploy rather fun new addition. Did not get to sample their fare though.

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Not finding anything moving out on the east end and seeing track crews closing things down west of Baker City we decided to amuse ourselves with a side trip to Boise. Andrew is a sports nut so we mad a homage to see the Smurf Turf at Boise State University.

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We also got to check out the amazing UP Depot and its amazing view of the Capital City.

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After a satisfying southern food fix at The Cracker Barrel in Boise the furthest west outpost in the the comfort food empire's chain. Was as good as I remembered.

Getting back to Oregon we heard this lone SD70M talking to the dispatcher at Farewell Bend. New to me was a Boeing train in the Blues. I have never heard of these up here before. Although I have never happened across one before personally.

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Deciding to take chase now that we had some action on the line we headed west out of Huntington. Only to be stopped by a very affable flag man who gave us the choice to wait 20 to 25 min. with a free wake up call when the crew gets done putting new bridge stringers in. Or backtrack to Farewell Bend and get on 84, we chose to keep moving. Good thing we did we caught up with a manifest with a DPU on the back at Durkee. Knowing he had to wind his way around the Oxman loop we raced up to the 84 Overpass prior to Pleasant Valley to catch him.

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Andrew's take

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Four years of abuse takes its toll on ACe belching black smoke when engineer throttled her up. These were shiny new last time I visited.

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The heat of the afternoon combined with some instability to brew up some thunder storms that started to mess with our light by the time the Boeing train made it to us.

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We swapped lenses, now I am shooting wide.

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Seeing things going downhill fast for shooting we scurried up to the Encina summit for a final shot. Andrew's first and mine.

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Did somebody pose this for me? Andrew thought it looked like VanGogh's Cyrpess and Wheat. Nothing was moving yet and their was way too much electricity in the air to go wandering out in the fields to get a good shot at Government Gulch.

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Heading down the hill things had not changed much since this morning with another westbound parked along with another on the flatland by Hot Lake.

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I wish I could have had better luck like my last visit to The Blues but it was fun. The storms also managed to set off a pretty good fire in the Wallowas we noticed on the way back to our cabin. Hope you enjoyed my report. Let me know what you think.

Paul