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Slim & Stumpy at Richard's -
Slim & Stumpy Visit the
© George C. Thomas 2000
(Photos taken by Richard Smith)

It happened the other evening, just as it had happened before. When the old gibbous moon was high in the sky and someone in Circleville, Ohio was playing “The City of New Orleans” on the radio, Slim and Stumpy entered the plastic-plasma phase and began to “connect.” If this doesn’t make sense, you should read an earlier adventure.

Slim is a 1:20 figure on “Engineer” Jeff Saxton’s Winona & Thorny Mountain RR in St. Louis, Missouri, and Stumpy is a short 1:20 figure on George Thomas’ Lazy Acre Lumber Company RR in Delran, New Jersey. When Slim and Stumpy “connect” they like to visit a great model railroad. In addition to visiting each others railroads they had already enjoyed several others, but one can never visit too many railroads. This goes without saying in our hobby.

“Let’s try Richard Smith’s Port Orford Coast RR in Oregon,” suggested Slim.

“Oregon again?,” asked Stumpy. “We just went there to see Carl Tobin’s railroad.”

“Well, Jeff and George visit the northwest each year to attend the NW Logging Modeler’s Convention and they don’t get bored. Besides, I know you like logging railroads, and the Port Orford’s parent company is the Old Mill Lumber Co.”

“Why didn’t you say that in the first place--let’s go!.”

So off they headed for Port Orford, Oregon. They didn’t have any difficulty locating Richard’s railroad. They had a real knack for locating 45mm tracks. Within a few minutes a passenger train came along. The engineer spotted them and slowed to a stop.

A man got off the train and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Ted Truehart. Do you want a ride?” Stumpy was about to say something about Ted’s interesting name, but...

“We sure do,” said Slim. “We came here to see your railroad, and what better way?”

They quickly hopped aboard and introduced themselves. Ted was more than impressed with their many adventures. And then the train came to an unexpected halt. Ted got out to investigate and our dynamic duo quickly followed. But then Stumpy froze on the bottom step when he saw that the train had stopped in the middle of a high bridge.

“What’s the matter?” asked Slim.

“Oh, nothing . . . ”

“You chicken because we’re on a bridge?” As you might recall from their visit to Piute’s BYOB Railway in Colorado, Stumpy is afraid of heights.

“Give me a minute -- I’ll be OK.” But he thought to himself that if Slim ever collapsed from being drunk, like he did on their visit to the Toenail Ridge Shortline in Australia, that he would just leave him there.

Slim ran and caught up with Ted, and in a few minutes Stumpy, walking ever so carefully and right next to the train, joined them. “That’s quite a bridge,” he said.

“Yes,” answered Ted, “and it sure gives a person a beautiful view of Squirrel Gap.”

Stumpy couldn’t help thinking that there was nothing beautiful about anything that required a high bridge. Before he could verbalize this...

“What’s the hold up?” asked Slim.

Ted answered, “A bulldozer is blocking the tracks.”

“Let’s go get a closer look,” suggested Stumpy. He wasn’t at all dumb. This would get him completely off the bridge.

Ted, true to his name, stayed by the train he loved, but Slim and Stumpy went over to talk with the bulldozer driver.

“Hi there. What are you doing?” asked Slim.

“Clearing some rocks from a slide.”

“Will you be much longer?” asked Stumpy.

“Not here, but there’s another slide to be cleared just around the bend.”

At that point Slim and Stumpy realized that their rail tour of the Port Orford Coast RR was over. They went back, thanked Ted, and then looked up and down the track. Stumpy favored continuing the way they were going--he clearly didn’t want to cross the bridge again.

“I don’t know,” said Slim. “That rock slide up ahead might not be very safe.”

So they decided to go back across the bridge and head back the way they had come. There was plenty to see past where they had been picked up by Ted’s train. Stumpy, however, was very clever; he climbed aboard the first passenger car and crossed the bridge in relative safety.

After what seemed like hours (how about 30 minutes?) Slim and Stumpy came to a large railroad yard. They quickly spotted some skeleton cars and went over to inspect them.

“They must do a lot of logging around here,” said Stumpy. “They sure are great looking cars.”

“You can say that again, that Richard Smith is one fine modeler,” replied Slim. “Wow! Look at all the locomotives over there.”

“And one of them is all fired up!” exclaimed Stumpy. “I don’t see anyone around--let’s take it for a spin.”

“No way,” said Slim. He still remembered their close call in a similar situation when they visited Konrad Richter’s railroad in New Jersey.

But it was too late, Stumpy was already calling to him from the cab of the four-spot. “Come on,” he hollered, “I promise I’ll bring it right back here in a few minutes.”

Slim joined him, but it was against his better judgment. Everything went well until Stumpy sounded the whistle. And when I say sounded, I mean sounded!

“Oops,” said Stumpy, “I guess I shouldn’t have done that.” For once he was right--several railroad workers were running their way, and they looked angry. “I think we need to put some distance between us and those guys.” Stumpy put the Johnson bar into forward and headed down the track at a good clip. When they were out of sight he eased off the throttle and brought the locomotive to a halt.

They both climbed down and looked at each other. “I think this is a good time for us to depart Oregon,” said Slim.

“I’m in full agreement,” replied Stumpy.

“When and where will I see you next?” asked Slim.

“Who knows," answered Stumpy. "It’s up to the moon and a beautiful railroad song. There are plenty of other fine layouts to visit.”

“You got that right, little buddy,” said Slim. “Until next time.”

And so they both vanished into the cool, moist air of western Oregon, heading back to St. Louis and Delran. But rest assured, Slim and Stumpy will meet again to make another layout visit. So wake up your bulldozers, web site readers, it could be yours!

Enjoy the next Slim & Stumpy adventure
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