The Rail Philatelist September 1998 Newsletter
Volume 3 . Number 4 September 1, 1998Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:
Thanks to your continued excellent response to my monthly price lists items that I thought I had a lifetime supply of have now disappeared. I bought almost $2000 worth of "E-H" train stamps at a recent Denver stamp bourse but am still finding it difficult to replace material as it sells out. Unfortunately, I didn't find much to buy at the Santa Clara show. I have even sent my major competitor a want list! If you have some scarce or unusual duplicates laying around gathering dust, my other customers can probably use them so send them to me! Thanks.
APS STAMPSHOW SANTA CLARA: Sales at the Santa Clara show were my best ever, but the thing that made the show great was the opportunity to talk and visit with my customers, both old and new! For the most part, it was a relaxing, slow paced show. One customer drove over from Yuma, AZ and almost missed me because she was looking for a much bigger man based on my discussions of my eating habits! (I was flattered). About 15 or so attended my talk on Friday and most stopped by the booth later for purchases and/or further discussions. I also was able to attend Bill Senkus's "Alphabetilately" presentation - the "stamps" designed by the graphic artists for each letter were excellent and the philatelic items Bill selected to illustrate each letter were outstanding. I hope I can get some of the "R is for RPO" "stamps" to sell as cinderellas - or at least a sample for my collection. Even the best show trips include some "glitches" not the least of which is having some of the items people ask for sitting at home on my desk instead of in my show stock. This trip had a few extra "glitches" - (1) a hubcap disappeared between home and Elko, NV the first day, (2) the next day I discovered that part of the cigarette lighter had come out when I unplugged my scanner the night before so I spent about 30 minutes driving with one hand while the other fished under the dashboard trying to disassemble and reassemble the lighter so I could plug in the scanner or cell phone(I don't smoke so I didn't need it for its designed purpose), (3) since we weren't allowed to take our material to our booths ourselves, I had to wait in line at the convention center for an hour and a half so the teamsters could take my van load to my booth - they loaded two pallets and set them just inside the door, then took a 15 minute break before taking them on to my booth. About midnight, I was wide awake realizing that my hand cart had been lost in the shuffle, (4) because of the delays I missed the National Stamp Dealers Assn.meeting and FREE FOOD! (5) fortunately I found my hand cart the next morning, but didn't realize until I was loading myself out Sunday evening that it now had a very flat tire (suspicious) - sure was awkward trying to wheel a heavily loaded 3-wheel cart but I managed, (6) an unfriendly Californian dumped the contents of a soda pop can directly on my windshield as they sped by on I-680 - must have had lots of practice to know just where in the air stream to release the fluid accurately. But, it was a great show and a good trip - any trip you get home from safely is a good trip!
COMPUTERS AGAIN: I knew trying to set up my computer scanner would be a painful and time-consuming experience so I allowed two days. My first problem was when my laptop didn't have a connector anything like the one on the scanner. I spent $33 on an adapter but still kept getting "SCSI port busy" messages. I called UMAX tech support and after a few tries actually got thru. The guy I talked with suggested a few things that didn't work and then said that for a lap top the termination wasn't right so I had to go inside the scanner and change a jumper. He sent me an e-mail on what to do. I followed the directions and made the jumper change. Still no luck, so I called tech support again. After almost an hour on the phone long distance going thru all kinds of folders and trashing some files and copying others, all to no avail, the tech allowed as how I couldn't really operate the scanner from my lap top because it didn't put out enough power from the SCSI port and there wasn't any way around it. So I connected the scanner to my wife's computer after opening it up again to re-change the JP1 jumper. Loaded all the software on her computer and it seems to work fine. My first scan at 100%, 150 dpi came out at 4 Megabytes which was too large to get on a disk so I tried again at 75%, 100 dpi. This is still too large at 1M but I couldn't find a way to set pixels, etc. I still have some work to do before the scanner is viable. I'll have to use her computer , then transfer the scans to mine via floppy disks. More when I get the system worked out.
AUGUST TRAVEL: The best train experience this month I didn't even have to travel for - the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey circus train came to Colorado Springs - over 30 vintage passenger cars plus animal cars and flat cars for the trucks and wagons. I didn't get to see it arrive or depart unfortunately - that would have been an impressive site! I saw over 100 Union Pacific trains on my trip to Santa Clara but Double Stack trains were conspicuous by their absence - I saw fewer than ten! Either UP has changed their operations to include fewer, longer STACK-PAK trains or the Asian crisis has really depressed the intermodal business - maybe some of both. Approaching Medicine Bow,WY, my scanner picked up the defect detector reporting "Track 1, No defects, Total Axles: 430, Speed: 39 mph, Temperature 87 degrees" - when I caught up with the westbound coal empty it had three 6-axle locomotives, so it must have had 103 cars - sure easier than trying to count them! A few miles further on , I finally saw a train climbing the mine spur at Hanna Junction, WY. Amtrak's "California Zephyr" sped by me as I paid for gas in Fernly, NV about 1030AM. A while later I heard a defect detector report its speed as "48mph" so I was able to catch up with it by going 70 but passed it in a canyon where I couldn't see it clearly so I pulled over at the first Sparks exit to see it better - 3 locos, 2 baggage, 12 Superliners and 3 express cars on the rear. Saw it again approaching Winnemuca, NV about 730AM on my return trip but with one baggage and 4 expresses. I am always awe struck by the drive over Donner Pass and the tremendous fight of man vs nature to keep a railroad operating up there - I was again marveling at that accomplishment and almost missed seeing a trailer train sneaking down between the snow sheds. I also stopped for awhile at Roseville but the UP still seems to be moving dirt around rather than laying track at the new west yard.
STAMP OF THE MONTH: Fiji #157 was one of the first train stamps I acquired when I started this topic 23 years ago. It is still one of my favorites because of the green and blue color combination as well as for the excellent design and engraving - they don't make them like this anymore!
RAIL THOUGHT OF THE MONTH:Another slight alteration of a train show sign: "My wife said if I buy another train stamp, she'll leave me. I'm sure gonna miss that girl!" Fortunately I don't have that problem - my wife is very supportive - I Hope your spouse is too!
SPECIALS, NEW ISSUES: Sorry but because of time constraints I didn't get to prepare a "Specials" list this month and there weren't enough new issues to worry about except the ones I included in the "G" and "H" lists. Both lists will be back next month.
SEP 12-13 GREAT AMERICAN TRAIN SHOW MONROE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS ROCHESTER,NY
SEP 26-27 GREAT AMERICAN TRAIN SHOW NEBRASKA STATE FAIR LINCOLN,NE
OCT 3-4 GREAT AMERICAN TRAIN SHOW PITTSBURGH EXPO MART MONROEVILLE,PA
SEP 12-13 GREAT AMERICAN TRAIN SHOW MONROE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS ROCHESTER,NY