Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas In Apple Valley

One evening with the temperature in the low 40s, I decided to take a tour around Apple Valley to see what kind of decorations people were displaying on their homes. I found quite a few really nice displays and I thought I would share some of them with you.

Mollie's, one of the restaurants here in town, had a very beautiful display for their patrons to look at as they drove into their parking lot.

Across the street from Mollie's I found the Desert Feed Store.

We may not have a "White Christmas", but it looks like we may have a wet one.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Wildland Fire Training

Shortly after arriving back in Apple Valley and getting settled in front of my daughter's house, I was invited by my son-in-law, Chief Hulbert, to accompany him on a training exercise with the Fire Academy class at the the Victor Valley College where he is an instructor.

The exercise for the day was how to deal with wildland fires. We met at an open field on the property of a cement plant in Victorville. They were to set the field full of tumble weeds on fire and practice controlling the fire and putting it out. BUT for my second time at doing this, the County Fire Marshal said the winds in the area were too high. So they proceeded to PRETEND they had a fire to control.

One of the things the class practiced was doing a Consecutive Hose Lay. This consisted of one squad (5 or 6 persons) connecting an Attack Hose to an engine and controlling a bush fire by laying down a path of water wide enough to slow down or stop a small brush or grass fire.

The squat starts out with a 100-foot hose and as they proceed they add another 100-foot hose that they carried in a back pack while the hose is still charged (pressurized) by using a hose clamp. (see below) (be sure to Click on a picture to enlarge)

After the new section of hose is connected, the clamp is removed and the squad continues their mission.

Of course this all takes a large amount of water. A Water Tender supplies water to the engine to keep its water tank at a high level.

Of course, after several squads performed their consecutive hose lay, the water tender gets low on water. So off to find a fire hydrant to refill the tender. The hydrant we found had a stiff valve.

Chief Hulbert always feels better when his engine or tender has a full tank of water. You will notice all the radios that he carries. He is monitoring the San Bernardino County Dispatch and Apple Valley fire frequencies to keep up to date on any fire activities.

Then it was back to the engine and connect up the hose to pump water.

Then we heard over the radios that there was a major structure fire in Apple Valley. Chief Hulbert kept a close ear to the radios because if he had not been one of the instructors for the college that day, he would have been the Battalion Chief for that fire. As it was, another BC was on scene to take his place.

It is never good to have a structure fire of any kind. This was what all the fire fighting activities was about.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Tehachapi Depot

Just after sunrise one crisp morning in October, found me at the Tehachapi Depot Museum.

Back on June 13, 2008, The historic 1904 Southern Pacific Depot burned to the ground.

The community of Tehachapi was in the process of converting the old depot into a museum when the fire occurred. They responded in a big way and broke ground to build a new depot using the original plans. Only changes were to bring the plans up to modern codes. In less than a year the New Tehachapi Depot had a Grand Opening.

On the outside of the museum they have some of their over 50 working railroad signals on display.

On the inside of the museum you will find many artifacts of railroading in the 20th century.

If you ever have the chance to stop off in the neat town of Tehachapi, be sure to take in this very interesting museum. I know I will be back in the near future.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shasta Dam

On my way south from Oregon, I stopped to take the tour of Shasta Dam. This dam was started in 1937 and was completed in 1945 at a cost of $121 million. It is the key storage facility in one of the world's most elaborate and extensive water development projects - the Central Valley Project. The dam is 602 feet height and 3,460 feet wide. It is 883 feet thick at the base with over 6 million cubic yards of concrete.

Let's take a look:

We took the elevator down the the 13th level and walked through the dam to the face of the spillway.

And then there is the Power House with its five 15-foot diameter pin stocks:

Each of the five generators can produce 142 megawatts of power.

A very impressive facility to say the least.