Merci Train – Forty and Eights

Scottsdale, Arizona.

After World War II, it was no secret that Europe had a long road to recovery and in 1947, more than 700 American box cars containing about $40 million dollars in relief goods provided by principally individual Americans were delivered to France and Italy to help the formerly occupied nations recover. Two years later, in February 1949, forty-nine French railroad box cars filled with thousands of gifts of gratitude were shipped to the United States. There was one boxcar for each of the 48 states and a boxcar to be shared by Washington D.C. and the territory of Hawaii. The rail cars were French box cars, military transport freight cars dubbed Forty-and-Eights because they were rated to carry 40 troops or 8 horses. Continue reading

McCormick Stillman Model Railroads – Trains Too Small To Ride

Scottsdale, Arizona.

In early May, I wrote about the miniature trains and the railroad museum at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (here) and promised that I’d feature a post on the model train displays housed in a separate 10,000 square foot (929 sq m) building.  Hosted by four clubs, there are three displays and several other railroad oriented exhibits. The opening photo features a sculpture of a train engine breaking through the building wall. Some of these images may look familiar as I featured a sampling of theme for the May 21, 2020, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge here. This post features more facts about the museum, and photos not previously published as well. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge – Pastimes

Scottsdale, Arizona.

This week, the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is being hosted by Sue (Mac’s Girl) from her blogging site, The Nature of Things. She writes, “With so much time being spent at home, many of us have been looking for new pastimes or taking up old ones in order stay occupied or even sane…. It could be something that you are trying for the first time or a hobby or interest that you have enjoyed for many years. Feel free to dig into the archives or take a picture to illustrate a current pastime.” You can read her entire challenge post here. I could have focused on some of the pastimes that have occupied my time over the years, but instead have decided to focus on a hobby that has always interested me, but I’ve never taken the time or had the space to get started. Continue reading

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park – Little Trains Equal Big Fun

Scottsdale, Arizona.

Notice: This post is being written during the COVID-19 pandemic and at this time, the park is closed to visitors. Please stay safe and follow your state or country’s guidelines for travel in your region. More information on the park’s current status can be found here.

In early January, Lynn and I visited McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. During the Christmas holidays, the park is all decked out with lights and features evening train rides through the park. On any given weekend, the park is quite busy (in normal times, anyway,) and there are lots of activities for kids and adults alike. Though the engine and train cars in the opening photo are full size, the fun happens on little trains. Continue reading

Barrett-Jackson 2020 – Scottsdale’s Premier Auto Auction

Scottsdale, Arizona.

Regular readers of this humble wannabe tome know that since wintering in Arizona, I spend some time every year at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale Auto Auction. I like to pick Thursday for my day trip and I always enjoy the day’s selection of cars on display, many of which were sold earlier in the week. The SOLD sticker has a notation in marker as to the selling price of the vehicle. I’m always amazed at how some cars are “overpriced” and others are “stolen.” Continue reading

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Architecture

Scottsdale, Arizona.

This week, Amy suggests we focus on architecture and features an incredible gallery of images from Machu Picchu. You can read her challenge post here. That ancient area was abandoned sometime in the 16th century. I appreciate beautiful examples of architecture, especially in the construction and design of older churches in our country. But this post is about a 20th century architectural phenom and his world famous school of architecture. Continue reading

Barrett-Jackson 2019 – A Scottsdale Tradition since 1971

Scottsdale, Arizona.

My first winter in Arizona brought me, with friends, to my first Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction. Since then, I haven’t missed spending at least a day during the 8 auction days each January. This year was no exception and along with my wife, my sister and her boyfriend, we arrived around 9 AM or so, and entered the main pavilion at West World. We usually head outside almost immediately and find the tents where there are four rows of classic cars sitting in the shade. Continue reading

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Curves

Scottsdale, Arizona.

This week, Tina Schell challenges us to “…pay some attention to curves  – in nature, in architecture, on our roads and in our lives … just about everywhere if you think about it.” You can read her entire challenge post here. It’s an opportune topic for me, with Barrett-Jackson’s Auto Auction in full swing this week in Scottsdale to capture some more curves, those curves of the classic automobile like this 1934 Duesenberg in the opening image. From the curvature of the green exhaust manifold to the long sweeping curve that runs from the front fender, along the running board to the rear fender, this classic car uses curves to accent it’s classic architecture. Continue reading

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Blending In or Standing Out

Scottsdale, Arizona.

This week, Ann-Christine challenges us to focus on blending in versus standing out in our environment. She includes images of animals and birds that blend in or stand out with their outer coverings. She also features an example of architecture blending in to the environment with her opening image. You can read more about her challenge here. That image got me to thinking about a visit made a couple of years ago to Scottsdale’s Taliesin West, the Architectural Institute and compound built by Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his students of architecture. In designing the compound, the architect envisioned in the late 1930s a winter home and headquarters of his school of architecture that is deeply connected with the Sonoran Desert upon which it was built. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge – Sweet (Rides)

Scottsdale, Arizona.

This week, Cheri Lucas Rowlands asks to show something {or someone} sweet, no doubt in honor of Valentine’s Day. You can read her entire challenge post here. Having just returned from a Carnival Cruise, I missed my opportunity to photograph any number of luscious sweet desserts. I prefer instead to wrap myself around such morsels of goodness and follow that old adage, “No pictures, no videos, deny, deny, deny!” No, honey, I don’t know what happened to that last piece of pie.” “Out of cookies, again? How could that be?” Continue reading