Large Scale Central

Casey's Saloon on the Durango & Jasper

I’ve started a new project, a saloon for the town of Durango named after my son Casey. Here’s a sketch (wow, I’m bad at that!):

Here’s where I intend it to go, near the worker shacks and across town from the general store:

The paver that is sitting on the dirt near the track is one of 6 that will be buried and form the solid base for the saloon.

On top of that base I’m going to create a 5 inch tall retaining wall/foundation for the wood saloon above. I’m planning to use the same technique I used in my dynamite shack. The technique for that was “stolen” from Ray Dunakin.

Here’s the “mold” in which I’ll make the mortar/stone walls with wire-mesh reinforcement:

The mold is made out of foam board, hot glued together:

Here’s a bit more of a closeup showing the structure. Each wall will be created independently with wire mesh bent around the corners to provide structural integrity.

That’s how far I got today. Progress will be sporadic until I retire in February, then I should have more predictable time to work on this. Yay!


Looking forward to watching Casey’s Saloon come to life. Congratulations on your pending retirement.

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Jim, your Moonshiners will have a saloon to sell their white lightning to. Another fun build.

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Wow! Haven’t been around here in a long time. I like what Bob has done with the place. And, Jim, looking forward to seeing the saloon project moving forward.


Looking good!
Don’t expect all that much more time after retirement - you’d sure think so, but it has NOT been my experience. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Just remember; when you were working for a living you had weekends off, not usually the case in retirement :smiley:

In my case, I have 35 hours of caregiver time/week. That right now is 100% spent on work. So when I retire I have 35 more hours that I could dedicate to my RR. We’ll see if I do. I have other stuff I want to do besides trains (gasp!) so am totally not saying 100% of that will go to trains, but it should be > 0.



are you married? if yes, you can count on a good hunk of “freetime” being devored by quickly growing “darling do” demands.
in any case you will notice, that “working hours” included a lot of little time-thieveries, that will not disapear with work’s end.
but a lot of time will simply “vanish” with “I have to… until/before…”

“My wife asked me in the morning, what i planned to do. i said: Nothing.
she said, but yesterday you already did nothing.
I declared: that’s right. But I didn’t finish it.”

Added rocks and “poured” mortar for the first wall. Now I get to sit patiently and wait for it to set before I can do the next one.

Here’s the stuff I’m using, a 50/50 mix of:

First step is to put down rocks along the inside of one wall in the mold, then put wire mesh on top to give the mortar some strength:

Then one needs to mix the mortar with water, getting it juuuuuuuust right (not too runny, not too thick). I have no idea if this is just right:

And then you cover the wall and let it set:

I won’t know if I got the mixture consistency correct until I remove the mold.

Gad, the tension in the room is palpable…



With a sketch like that, I’d say you were trying to get ahead on the Mik 2022! On a more serious note, thanks for detailing the process here. This could be something we could emulate, as none of those materials are especially hard to come by!



Made the second wall today (one of the shorter ones):

And here’s a super short video showing what the consistency of the mortar was today. Hopefully this allows it to leak down into and between the rocks without being too runny and going completely underneath:



Jim, I’ve been retired for 10 years, Molly and I still make weekends special. IE: Better wine, cheese and crackers before dinner, more BBQ. This prevents the “every days the same syndrome”. Good luck in your retirement.


Sounds like you have it well figured out. I’ve been lining stuff up to keep myself busy:

  • wife needs care (Alzheimer’s) so that fills a lot of time
  • trains of course
  • a super good friend from high school (!) and I are writing a sci-fi novel which is a hoot
  • dabbling with augmented reality (what our sci-fi novel is about, and it is the next big thing)
  • I’m planning to volunteer my software abilities with some Alzheimer’s research folks (in talks with some at UCSF)
  • would love to learn how to draw/paint
  • have had to shelve my photography, perhaps I’ll pick that back up
  • I enjoy cooking sometimes…

Hopefully that will keep me busy…

Dan: want to get lunch sometime? PM or email me…

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I’m wanting one of those old time-y signs that have block letters on a black metal grid/scaffold. My son has designed the lettering:

Hopefully I’ll get a 3D print of it shortly (my daughter is the sign mule and is in the air as I type).

On the back of each letter is a small horizontal rectangle so I can hang the letters on a brass wire and get things aligned well, while the glue dries, like this:

We’ll see if it works!

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Looking great Jim. Those are begging to be spotlighted from low front, angled close to 75 degees up one spotlight at each end

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Really neat work on that foundation Jim, when’s the unwrapping?! Ya gotta video that, Bubba!


PS: Sign mule? Sounds like a children’s book in the making…

Another wall. I’m having a hard time making it be “another brick in the wall” though I desperately want to…

I was quite pleased, and a little shocked, that when I turned this over so I could build this new wall, the opposite wall stayed in place, solidly.


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I would love how to draw and paint myself (slippery slope)!

I prefer grilling more than cooking but I do both.

However when I grill I prefer Dos Equis (sometimes) but I usually grill chicken as I love eating chicken like most roosters do!

Loving the work/findings on Casey’s Saloon !


I may have completely, massively, over designed the foundation for the saloon. But, what the heck.

Step 1: dig a hole, put landscape fabric in it and spread a layer of pea gravel over that
Step 2: add pavers, level as much as I can

The idea is to have the top of the pavers be 5" lower than the wood trackbed in the middle left of this photo:

And another picture from a different angle:

And with pavers sitting in approximately the right spot and almost kind of sort of level:

The rock wall/foundation that I’ve been building in earlier posts will sit on top of the pavers with dirt packed around it (mostly on the side away from the track).

The dirt level on the side away from the track is the upper main road winding through the business district of Durango. Supposedly.