Attack of the Large Scale Bug

Attack Of The Largescale Bug

Attack Of The Largescale Bug

By Tiny Pearce

When I bought my land out in the Nevada Desert, Like any new land buyer, Ihad plans to turn the yard into a nice place to spend time outdoors, maybeBBQ'ing, but only after I put a house on the land. I got the mobil home set up,built an addition, which is still not finished, and had done very little to theyard, other then plant some trees for shade and wind break. All this time I hadbeen saving money to buy lumber enough, to build my dream train room, a large14 X 60 foot room, for my HOn3 trains.I even had part of the shopping listmade.

One evening as I was surfing the web for train related web sites, one sitecaught my attention, it offered a chat area to talk with other train fans. Isoon learned that these train nuts were talking about some big model trains,big enough to operate them outdoors. Not only did they tell me about theirtrains, but they had photos tosharing what their railroads looked like. I hadseen this size of model trains before, but only on a shelf of the Reno trainshop. I'll tell you right now, It did not take long before I had Big picturesin my head, about my 5 acres out back, being covered with trains. Ouch!!Something bit me!! After about a week or so, of chatting and asking questions,I was convinced, with the help of the guys on the web site [ but mostly my ownbig dreams ], to start building a Garden Railroad, and use it as the mainlandscape theme for my back yard.

Now this is where the landscaping starts. Mind you, I had no experiance forthis type railroad, nor did I have a well thought out plan.I mean, I had lotsof sand , sagebrush, andnot much else, all I had seen was some great photos of some Largescale trainsoutside. I had formed a picture in my head, of a large mountain for the trainsto run around, that was enough for me to start digging. Ouch! Whatever it is,bit me again!! Has anyone seen my shovel ?

Before the week was out, I had a good size hole started and a equal sized mountain. But I soon realizedI needed some way to hold the sand where I wanted it, the desert winds can movealot of sand in a short time. So out into the desert I drove, and started topick up rocks. This was the first of many pick-up loads of rock I went after,and almost 4 years later, I'm still going after rocks. I built the roadbed upoff the ground in most places, using the rocks to maintainsome shape of a mountain. I use the dry stack method for building a rock wall.I have used this system through-out the building of the DS&RG. I boughtsome track from the local hobby shop, and placed it in various places on mymountain, then moving it around to see where it looked best. I even changed thestack of rocks a few times while making up my mind where the trains might lookbest. Remeber, I had no real plan, just a picture in my head. All this time ofthe first week, I was spending the evenings on this web chat, getting moreinfo, and more engulfed into these Largescale trains. The swelling from thesebites was something. In the beginning, some of the chatters thought I wasblowing smoke about building a railroad. I finally got two photos of mybeginnings, posted by one of the chatters, this seemed to dispel any smokeblowin ideas.

Now picture a scene with a guy diggin in the sand, some of which was hardpan, in the 100º heat, and placing rocks in odd shapes. I would work a while,then go cool off, work some more and cool off. All the neighbors, not tomention my own Dad, thought I was crazy! Even after finding out what I wasdoing, some still think I'm nuts! I Guess when you get bit, you don't care whatothers think!

A year and half passed, and I finally got enough track down, and the AristoRC unit with some batteries, to run a train. Yep! a whole 30 feet. To this day,I believe if it had not been for the people on the web chat offeringencouragmant, [They were really laughing at me for getting bit like they did!]I would not have stuck it out. I built the first three of the many trestles andinstalled them, now giving me 60 feet of track to run on. Now  I had thebegginings of a Railroad, I was seeing the need for some plants. Now comes thehard part, I live in the harsh desert climate, Hotter then hell in the summer,and then colder then .... well it's freezing in the winter. Not only did I havemother nature to deal with in keeping plants alive, but I had nothing but drysand with salt and acids in it. What type of plants would, or should I say,could, survive in these conditions?Notknowing any better, I figured I could keep plants alive under these conditions.I was nuts for not making better plans before I started the Railroad, But, Idid know that it would be crazy to think I could make my Desert Railroad aslush green as those I'd seen in those first photos. So my Railroad would berocks, Lots of Rocks, sand, and just enough plants to add some green to lookgood.

I had been told thatSedums did very well as a ground cover, in all parts of the country, So Ibought two varities. I planted thesedums, one died within the first month that summer, the other one stillflorishes. As for trees, I was told by local people, that the Mugo Pines were ahardy shrub, so I bought a few. I alsofound some Dwarf Alberta Spruce, these I was told did not like the high heat. Ibought some anyway. To this day, these three plants are the main plants I useon my Railroad. Not only are they doing well, but most are thriving! I havetried several other varities of plants out here, but they just can't take theclimate. In the desert heat, plants that are not normal residents, will beburned to death without lots of water. So now I'm faced with building a irigation system to keep these plantalive in a place they don't like. Now being all these plants needed to bewatered every day during the summer, I needed a system to do this and not wastewater on things like tumble weeds.

I asked people on theweb site what watering systems they used, Sprinklers was the common answer. Nogood for out in the desert. Then I thought of the system I was using on theshade trees, a DRIP SYSTEM! I could pipe water to the Railroad area, and have aseperate system just for it. Now, I only had a few plants to begin with, butthis system is easy to add on to, or change, as the number of plants grows.Since I had most of what was needed to put this drip system on the Railroad, ina matter of one day, I had my irigation system working.

While this drip systemwas being planned, and installed, I also was working on new sections to expandthe trackage.For some reason unknownto me, I started to build curves and straights across the yard some 110 feet.Still after all this time, I had no plan drawn to follow, I was justbuilding!All this expanding, only mentI had to get more rocks to hold the sand down. Always more rocks! It was not tolong before I had track down across the yard, now I could run a train almost160 feet.This was beginning to be fun,it had been all work till now. Some time around here, I also learned how tobuild a website. I was posting photos and boring those same people on the webchat,with my construction.I'm sure I chased them off some nites, withall my photo posting.

As I was building moremountains with a canyon, I changed my ideas and built a tunnel through themountain. About this time, I was convinced to draw a plan for my Railroad, whatdid I need a plan for? So the chatters could see what I had going.Now I had to make up the plan in places forthe future too, What a chore.I stilllike building with no plan,to be veryflexable to changes, I have changed the track plan for the Towns and Yards,many times now, and they are not built. Another year and half has gone by, andI have a 497 ft loop complete,switchesbeing scratch built, and some finishing work being done on the water feature.

Most times when out onthe railroad, I don't call it work now, but it sure was in the beginning.I believe if I had stopped and planned therailroad, before digging in, that it would look much different then it doesnow.I doubt it would be any futheralong then it is now. But I do know that the Largescale bug bit me hard!maybe several times! I have the LargescaleRailroad to prove it. I don't have any regrets, I have had many hours ofenjoyment, not just when running the trains, but in the creating a place tolose myself in my small world. I have worn out one shovel, wrecked onewheelbarrow tire, and broke a set of wheelbarrow handles. I have dropped rockson my feet, smashed my fingers between rocks, all in the quest of fun with mytrains.

When you find yourselfout in the yard, moving large rocks, digging holes for ponds, and moving yardsof dirt. Your back is sore, Just sit back and ask yourself a question.When did I get bit by the LargescaleBug?It never leaves physical marks,but it does mark you for life.And Icall that a good thing!

The End

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