Railroad Remnants from the Oregon’s Logging Operations, A Photo Essay

West of Portland OR, on the road to Seaside, is a logging-themed restaurant: Camp 18. Engulfing the eating establishment are historic relics from the logging industry, including several railroad hulks.

Steam Crane and Caboose at Camp 18
Steam Crane, Remnant from the Oregon Logging Industry
Watering Tank for Steam Locomotives
Passenger Car in the Yard Around Cafe 18
Interior of Passenger Car
Tank Car
Caboose for the Spokane, Portland and Seattle RR
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Train Graveyard in Fort Bragg CA (A Photo Essay)

There are notable rusting railroad hulks in Northern California. The current manifestation of the railway line is the Skunk Train. But historically, it was the California Western. A few cars are readily observable; others are behind a wire fence.

Railroad Water Tank in Fort Bragg CA
Rusting Railroad Crane
Old Steam Engine Under Repair?
Rusting Passenger Cars in Fort Blagg CA
I’m Not Sure What This Is? Steam Engine Missing it’s Cab?
Very Attractive Passenger Trolly
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Elder Gong Gets It

In a LDS General Conference talk (Spring 2021), Elder Gong emphasizes that the Church has an expanding global population:

Since 1998, more church members have lived outside than inside the United States and Canada. By 2025, we anticipate as many church members may live in Latin America as in the United States and Canada.

The reason for this:

Birthrates in developed countries are declining. Birthrates in developing countries are still high. Missionary work in developed countries has stalled. Proselyting in some developing countries is having good success.

These demographic trends are leading to a completely different Church dynamic. And could certainly impact Church finances. It also enlarges our responsibilities as members.

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Medieval Technology on Display at Bolivian Gristmill

In the mountains east of Uyuni, Bolivia, is an operating grist watermill that uses medieval technology brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Falling water turns a water wheel which in turn rotates a grinding wheel.

Bolivia’s Medieval Grist Mill

The proprietor of the mill was very excited to show us the inner workings of the mill. Fortunately, the mill had a customer, a woman with a bag of wheat.

Wheat Being Fed into the Millstones

Grain is poured slowly into the center of the revolving stone and is ground between the stones. A steady flow of grain is maintained by vibrating the chute. The coarseness of the flour is determined gap between the two stones.

Abandoned Millstone Outside the Mill

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My Most Bizarre Telephone Call

During the Nixon Watergate hearings, I was in US Coast Guard stationed in Wilmington, NC. During my southern sojourn, a woman from Price, Utah, went on the Today Show saying she planned on paddling across the Atlantic Ocean in an aluminum canoe. Unfortunately for us, she planned on launching from Wilmington.

We consulted our lawyers and it was determined that we should do nothing to encourage her voyage, including watching after she had set sail. One day, she and a local man who had agreed to accompany her, showed up at our office. Since I had joined the military in Utah, the commanding officer invited me in for the conversation. After a little back-and-forth, it was clear they had no idea what they were in for. No navigational skills, no appreciation for the power of ocean, poor logistical planning, etc. But they could not be dissuaded.

A day or two later, I was the senior officer left in the office. I got a call from Washington DC. ”Please hold for Senator Erwin.” Sam Erwin was the grandfatherly senator in charge of the Watergate hearings. Because the hearings were bring televised, the North Carolina senator was a national figure and a respected politician.

When he came on the line, he was very polite and requested that we stop the proposed trans-Atlantic trek or at least make sure she stayed safe. I explained that we had been advised by our lawyers to do neither. Legally, we had no authority to stop her. And watching over her might be perceived as providing encouragement. Senator Sam seemed placated, and we politely ended the call

On their first try at oceanic paddling, the pair were hauled back to shore by fisherman. They were both seasick, The local man decided that he had had enough. But the woman made one last furtive try. Again she was rescued by a fishing boat. Thus ends my story. To this day, I wonder if the woman had some religious motive for her proposed venture. But she never alluded to any such motive.

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The Railroad Graveyards of Southern Bolivia (A Photo Essay)

In February, 2 Peruvian friends and i travelled to southern Bolivia. One of the surprises for me, were 2 railroad graveyards. The yard in Uyuni is what’s left of a railroad repair facility, abandoned in the 1950’s. The place is impressive in its size.

There Are Nearly 20 Steam Locomotives Relics at the Uyuni Railroad Graveyard
Rusting Hulk of a Steam Locomotive
Rusting Remains of a Passenger Car
Climbing on the Relics is Perfectly Acceptable

The nearby mining town of Pulacayo also has some interesting railroad relics.

Steam Locomotive at Pulacayo
Gotta Love This Small Engine
Interior of Passenger Car Relic
Four Garage Roundhouse in Pulacayo
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Playgrounds Installed in Colombia and Bolivia

During November 2021, I traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, with Eagle-Condor Humanitarian to install a playground at a children’s center on Isla Grande. The inland villages where we work provided a mark contrast to the more opulent resorts that dot the coast.

At the children’s center, we installed a swing set and monkey bars, our first playground in Colombia The swing set was assembled on site with parts brought from the US, and pipe and chain purchased in Colombia. The monkey bars were fabricated in-country and transported to the island by boat.

Children Enjoying Their New Playground on Isla Grande

Both the American volunteers and locals actively participated with the installation. It was a fun project. And the children enjoyed both the swing set and the monkey bars.

During Feb 2022, we installed our first playground in Bolivia. Willow C-T, David C-T, and I traveled by bus from Cusco, Peru, to southern Bolivia. We spent about 24 hrs on buses, each direction. David brought about 50 lbs of swing set parts with us from Cusco.

We ended up installing a playground at a school in small town of Colchani, located adjacent to Uyuni Salt Flats and near the dusty city of Uyuni, Bolivia. The playground equipment was fabricated in Uyuni by David C-T, while Willow and I traveled to Potosi for some sightseeing.

Playground Being Installed in Colchani, Bolivia

Installation in Colchani went smoothly, with Willow and David shouldering most of the work. The children hanging around the school enjoyed trying out the playground equipment: a swing set, monkey bars, and a seesaw.

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Playgrounds Installed Above the Clouds

Previously, our highest playground was installed at 13,800 feet asl at a village school located above Lares, Peru. But last month, we installed 2 at 14,400, high above the clouds in the Andes Mtns. They were installed for the Q’ero, who believe they are descendants of the ancient Incas. The Q’ero live at high elevations between 12,000 and 15,500 feet asl.

Installing a Swing Set at First School

To get to their villages, we rode for 2 hrs on a treacherous one lane gravel which began at Paucartambo. Once in the Q’ero Nation, we installed playgrounds at 2 primary schools. With good assistance from the villagers, we installed a swing set, monkey bars, tire climber, teeter totter, and tetherball set at each school. The heavy lifting was done by Willow and David Cardenas-Torres.

Playground Being Installed at Second School

The two villages were about 20 minutes apart. At the second school, the children and village leader dressed up traditional attire. It was all very impressive.

Q’ero Girl Waiting to Try Out Her New Playground
Village Leader in Traditional Attire, with Willow and Children

It’s amazing to be at these high elevations and see snow-capped mountains soaring above you.

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Whiter Shade of Pale, LDS Style

In April, my grandson Thomas and I were in Kampala, Uganda. Thomas, who was recently released from his LDS mission, wanted to attend a Church meeting. So we headed off to Sacrament Meeting. As we entered the church foyer, on a long white wall were individual head shots of the First Presidency and 12 Apostles. Remember, we’re in Africa; Uganda is probably about 98 percent Black.

Photograph of the FP3 and Q12 in the Foyer of a Ugandan LDS Church Building

How tone deaf do you have to be to realize that this display is problematic? Fifteen old white guys, dressed like American business men, adorning the entry to an African church building (with apologies to Elder Gong). Couldn’t they put up photographs of the local Bishopric, Stake Presidency, and or Area Representative? Does the LDS Church leadership really look like a global organization? Or does this represent neo-colonialism?

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