Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I've mentioned the group Roots of Motive Power before, and how they were steampunks long before today's young steampunks named themselves steampunks. I clearly love the word "steampunk". These guys here in Willits love to make big rail engines work, usually involving steam, and all the rail cars that go with them. They had their Christmas season steam-up on Sunday, featuring free rides around the loop track in a caboose or on a speeder (I did both!). I got so many photos, I couldn't make up my mind which one to lead with today, so I'll put a few more on my Overflow blog.

BaldwinEmblemSteam Jigsaw PuzzleBaldwinEmblemSteam Jigsaw Puzzle


Babzy.B said...

i love the photo ,is the train very noisy ?

Laurie Allee said...

I had not heard of the steampunk movement but if it involves a fascination with time travel, trains and Edwardian clothes -- count me IN!

Such a cool shot, E. I adore this.

Hilda said...

That sounds like so much fun! I like the photo that you chose to start with — very dramatic.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I really do love the "Hands-on Technology" that the old-timers used before the computer was invented.

There is just something about the pop of a sail filling with wind, or the chug of a steam engine that excites something deep and visceral in me. The click of computer keys leave me cold.

Halcyon said...

I love it when you make the puzzles. I have never heard of steampunks, but this steam train looks really neat. I bet they have a lot of fun.

Knoxville Girl said...

I've met a few young steampunks here in Knoxville - they're quite passionate about the steam.
This photo is so muscular with all that steam and steel power.
Catching up on your photos - enjoyed the trains, and the stocking too - brought back a well-loved memory of St Nicholas day, and chocolate treats filling our shoes at my house - my family came from Slovakia

Anonymous said...

puzzles! Doesn't anybody else like the puzzles?

bitingmidge said...

All steam - no punk!

Great shot! In summer here I think I'll hang around with the ice punks for a bit though!

Sunshine Coast Daily - Australia

Kris McCracken said...

I like this photo, but I will admith that the whole steampunk thing is a bit annoying. Maybe that's because websites that I used to find interesting have been taken over by a fad I don't relate to (I'm looking at you Boing Boing).

Zibergirl said...

I noticed your list of music related to Mendocino County and thought you might enjoy this homemade music video.

USelaine said...

Babzy - The only really noisy moment was in the morning before most people got there. They released a high-pressure plume of steam for several minutes, and the sound was piercing! You can see that happening in the first photo of the Overflow blog, linked to this one.

Laurie - I've read that they go back to the Victorian romanticism of science and invention, but I'm sure Edwardians carried it on. But I think they are more about the "art" and fashion ideas than they are about restoring working the actual antique machines the way Roots members are.

Hilda - Thank you. The Willits community is lucky to have such easy access to what they do.

Ernie - I especially love the sound of a steam whistle. It beats the heck out of those hideous airhorns on the more modern engines.

Halcyon - That makes two of you endorsing the puzzles! Thanks! The Roots people have a great time, but they work really hard at it, and encounter some frustrations along the way. But they do it all with donated time, donated materials, and donated money.

KG - My town in Hungary was right on the Slovakian border, out in the Zemplen hills area, and included many ethnic Slovakians. Thanks!

PA - You and Halcyon. But tonight, the puzzle site doesn't seem to be working smoothly. I can't even log in through another link. Hope it gets fixed soon...

Bitingmidge - Our nights are getting below freezing, so I try to think of Australia when my toes get numb.

Kris - I know what you mean about BoingBoing. I admit, I respect the real steam engine restorers like Roots far more than the fantasy-faddists, but they tell me a couple of the young guys have come up from the Bay Area to actually take their engineering class and volunteer some labor, so there's hope for a few who may carry on the skills.

Zibergirl! Thanks for visiting, whoever you are. (She's from Willits, everybody.) 8^) I recognize Richard Jeske from the Farmer's Market Band, and similar events, so it's cool to see him write a song about our little place in the world! The iLike widget turns out to have a limited number of "plays" allocated to it, so I'll have to nuke it eventually.

Thank you all for coming 'round to check out the steam!

USelaine said...

Here's the Richard Jeske video as a hotlink: Comin' Down the Hill.

rob said...

A really beautiful photo! A perfect shot! I can really ... feel the train.