"McCloud, CA - July 2007"

I've blogged about my dad several times before. Whether he knows it or not, he is an absolute wizard at homeopathic medicine. He is responsible for keeping me in business by helping the advancement of dental decay. He is also partially responsible for causing much mental anguish through his propagation of stories and legends. At the same time, he also happens to be a great dad and a fantastic "PopPop" to my kids.

My dad has always had an interest in trains. He loves the big ones...that drive by our house out here in the central valley of california...and he loves the small ones (toy trains) too! for those that know anything about them, my dad prefers the larger scaled LGB versions of the trains.

This "hobby" of his began with a small track around the Christmas tree every year. Then he graduated to a larger track mounted on felt covered plywood on top of our old pooltable. As a matter of fact, he loves trains so much that he began giving a set to each of his kids/grandkids.

Well, this little hobby changed once he got his own space (read:barn). You see, it began with a single round track. Then he had two tracks. And before we knew it, there was one train for each grandson to control. However, like with most of my dad's hobbies or loves, just having a "train board" in the middle of the barn for his grandsons was not enough. so, after calculating the weight, my dad added an electric pulley system with cables to lift and lower the custom table (balanced perfectly for the weight of the table).

But guess what? that wasn't enough for "Engineer Joe." Nope, his vision for "train-o-topia" could not be contained, so he added a second level to his creation and cut a hole in the middle of the table for one of his "apprentice" engineers. Don't believe me? Here are the pictures of the new "joe-comotive" system:

"Two levels and mounted lights"

"The young apprentice"

"In the middle of boy heaven"

"PopPop's Train-o-topia"

Quietly making noise,