The Coastal Redwoods and Fog

The Mendocino Coast where we live gets lots of fog – 80 to 120 days a year.

Redwoods in the Fog

Redwoods in the Fog

The Earth’s tallest trees, California redwoods, rely on the coastal fog to reach heights of over 300 feet. Coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are found along a narrow band of California’s northern coast where there is fog. During the summer these red giants take advantage of the fog to capture water out of the air—and summer is the critical growing season for the trees, despite being California’s dry season.

To obtain sufficient moisture for photosynthesis and growth, redwoods have developed leaves shaped like baseball mitts that capture the fog that rolls in by night and languishes through most mornings. From 25 to 40 percent of the moisture in the Redwood eco-system comes from fog. Some of the fog simply covers the leaves and prevents evaporation. But some of it also enters the stomata, or tiny pores, on the leaves and is drawn down through the branches to the roots. This is the reverse of transpiration, the normal flow of water from the roots to the leaves that exists in most trees. Redwoods were the first trees found to move water in both directions.

Fog is not just a vital element for the redwoods—it’s also crucial to the entire redwood forest ecosystem. Some of the moisture drips off the redwood leaves, landing on the forest floor to water the trees and young saplings. It’s not just a drip, drip, drip – the moisture can descend into the ground up to 15 inches deep, and that’s a lot of water.

The fog comes from the Pacific Ocean’s California Current where winds create upwellings that bring cold, deep, nutrient-rich waters to the surface. Those nutrients get incorporated into the fog. The fog rolls in not only bearing moisture but also nitrogen, phosphorus and some minerals. Winds and waves kick the surface high into the air, where it is incorporated into the fog that moves inland.

Look VERY carefully at the above picture of a Coast Redwood – that red spot at the bottom is our 6 foot tall historian Tony Phillips

Look VERY carefully at the above picture of a Coast Redwood – that red spot at the bottom is our 6 foot tall historian Tony Phillips

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Pictures of Railroads and Locomotives

Pictures of locomotives and railroad tracks fascinate me. I’ve been addicted from an early age. I have lots of books and spend many a happy evening just riffling through at random. For a while now I have been collecting random pics off the ‘net, It seems silly to keep them to myself so I thought I might post a few here. There’s no theme – just ones I like.

Beauty of the Railway

Beauty of the Railway

Fall

Fall

Last lap

Last lap

Sunset

Sunset

Waiting for the signal

Waiting for the signal

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News from August 12th, 1912

Nothing like looking back 102 years is there? Here are three snippets that caught my eye.

“The first consignment of lumber shipped directly east from Fort Bragg by rail went over the new railroad Friday morning. It consisted of three car loads, two of which contained an order of 10,000 feet of redwood tank stock for Omaha, Nebraska, and the third an order of 20,000 feet of pine pipe stock for Chamberland, Maryland.”

“The amount of lumber shipped from Mendocino County to the San Francisco market during the first six months of the present year amounted to 82,135,000 feet”

“the British tramp “Gifford” sailed from Noyo harbor last evening after loading 1,100,000 feet of rough cedar redwood and 100,000 feet of redwood door stock. She sails to Portland to complete her ccargo and then to Australia.”

Neat stuff, what?

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1917 Map of Willits

Thanks to club member Mike Aplet we have learned quite a lot about the town of Northwestern (now Brooktrails near Willits) and the Northwestern Mill there.

Fairly recently we were given access to Sanborn maps of Fort Bragg and Willits. Sanborn Maps is an American publisher of historical and current maps of US cities and towns. The maps were initially created to estimate fire insurance risks. The company’s maps are frequently used for historical research, and for preservation and restoration efforts. The maps themselves are large-scale lithographed street plans at a scale of 50 feet to one inch (1:600) on 21 by 25 inches sheets of paper. The maps contain an enormous amount of information.

The map we have of Willits is dated 1917 and much to my surprise shows a yard labelled “Northwestern Redwood Cos Planing Mill and Lumber Yard”.

1917 Sanborn Map of Willits

1917 Sanborn Map of Willits

The section of the map in the right hand corner is of particular interest:

Detail of Planing Mill and Stations

Detail of Planing Mill and Stations

The location of the planing mill is the current site of modern day Mendo Mill building supply store in Willits. The building next to the main tracks and across Commercial St. from the planing mill (approx. center of second map) still stands today. It is a beautiful redwood building built in the Craftsman style.

The three rail lines in the foreground are the main line from Tiburon. What is not on the map is the wye which I think would be to the left off of the the map.

You can’t xerox maps like these and the only reason I can show them to you is because of the efforts of our website guru and camera man extraordinaire, Roger Thornburn. Thanks Roger.

Posted in Mendocino Coast, CA , Local History | 1 Comment

Locomotive made from popsicle sticks

Club member Mike Aplet was kind enough to e-mail me this one.

“Hi Tony,
I thought that you might appreciate this. I found it on a slot car site of all places. The narrative that went with the photo was this:
 
“Great idea – I love the modellers eye – other people see things one way modellers see them another – not a car I know but this train engine is made out of a glue stick tube a fluorescent light starter and some plastic nuts from a children’s toy + matchsticks, basswood and other odds and ends”
Popcicle Stick Loco

Popcicle Stick Loco

I thought this was really neat. Thanks Mike.

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A visit to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park – Part 3

My previous two blogs have been about the enormous HO layout at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park. In addition to the HO layout there is a very large O scale layout, an O Scale Lionel layout and a large N scale layout.

The N scale layout had not changed from my first visit many, many years ago. Daughter Holly who was with me asked if the shark was still in the swimming pool. It was.

The shark in the swimming pool.

The shark in the swimming pool.

The O scale layout was under construction. The track was in place and trains were running. An idea of the size of the layout can be seen in this photo.

Look at the size of the room

Look at the size of the room

A couple of mini scenes caught my eye and camera.

Accident

Accident

Beautifully modelled ship and quayside

Beautifully modeled ship and quayside

Note the lights on the top of the chimneys and on the truck backing up

Note the lights on the top of the chimneys and on the truck backing up

The last layout was a large Lionel 3 Rail layout totally dressed up for Halloween. The train had open freight cars which contained sweets and if you pressed a button the train stopped in front of you and you got to take a sweet.

Best Halloween layout ever?

Best Halloween layout ever?

Spooky

Spooky

I liked how the post had been painted to make it part of the sky

I liked how the post had been painted to make it part of the sky

If you are a model train nut and you are in San Diego you just have to visit here.

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A visit to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park – Part 2

In the previous blog I marveled at the incredible scenery on the absolutely massive HO scale layout. The trestles on the HO layout and how they fitted into the scenery was mind boggling. My pictures, alas, do not really do the modelling justice. Perhaps these few pics will encourage you to visit to see for yourself.

Trestle in the desert

Trestle in the desert

Trestle at the head of a five foot deep gorge with amazing modelling of very fast flowing river

Trestle at the head of a five foot deep gorge with amazing modelling of very fast flowing river

Small trestle

Small trestle

Rock climbers

Rock climbers

Amazing huge trestle

Amazing huge trestle

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A visit to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park – Part 1

Molly our 123 pound bull mastiff decided that a perambulation down the coast to San Diego would be nice. Daughter Holly flew in from Connecticut and we had a simply super time. We didn’t do much training apart from a visit to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

At 28,000 square feet, the museum is the world’s largest operating model railroad museum. The museum contains four enormous scale and model layouts, built by separate clubs, which depict railroads of the Southwest in O, HO, and N scales. In addition, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum features a Toy Train Gallery with an interactive Lionel layout for children.

I could have spent all day at the four layouts. Of the four the HO layout is the biggest and it boasts some of the best if not THE best scenery I have ever seen on a model railroad. Just look at the pics below:

Amazing Scenery

Amazing Scenery

Amazing Scenery #2

Amazing Scenery #2 – There are 42 cars in the consist

Sunset on the layout

Sunset on the layout

This effect was created by the use of a single pink flourescent

Look how the roads blend into the backdrop

Look how the roads blend into the backdrop

The focus of the HO layout is a replica of the Tehachapi Loop. Here’s an aerial pic of the real thing:

Tehachapi Loop the real thing

Tehachapi Loop the real thing

Tehachapi Loop in HO scale

Tehachapi Loop in HO scale

More in the next blog.

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