Tag Archives: railfan

More on the Cabooses in Cle Elum

In Thursday’s Spelling Bee post I wrote about the the cabooses in Cle Elum, Washington.

I decided to try to see if the cabooses are still there. I couldn’t imagine that they weren’t there, but it’s been about six years, and I was hoping that there would be more. Especially because the Cascade Rail Foundation states that they intend to acquire more rolling stock as it becomes available.

I looked at Google Maps and finally found the cluster of cabooses that are behind me in those pictures. In December of 2014, I had tried the doors of these cabooses with the hopes that I would get to see inside. I had been in a caboose as a child, and it was pretty cool.

I also learned that cabooses are shaped the way they are so those riding in the caboose can see the entire train in when there’s a curve in the track.

But back to these cabooses in the Cascades.

The stairs leading to the platforms next to the doors led me to believe that they were preserved or restored cabooses. I had wanted to look inside, but the doors were locked. Figuring it was a museum that likely operated only in summer months, I was content to observe them from the outside, but that didn’t stop me from try the doors.

But on Friday I saw that the there were photos on google maps of not just the outsides of the cabooses but also dots that were inside them! So I finally got a tour!

But it wasn’t at all what I’d expected.

I saw newer-looking beds with clean bedspreads. I saw television sets. I saw minifridges.

As I progressed through the first caboose, I realized that these were not true-to-the-era caboose interiors but hotel rooms!

I hadn’t been trying the doors of the temporary homes of people! And they most certainly rent those out in December.

My initial horror has turned into glee, and I’m proud to share this story. It’s one of those that gets the response: “Oh, man. Classic Matt.”

NYT Spelling Bee 10-15-20 final

TUCUMCARI was an unfortunate omission in today’s Spelling Bee. That’s not to say that its absence from the list was in error. Rather, it would have violated the rules as a place, but it hurts because it’s an ineligible pangram.

Why do I even know that Tucumcari exists? Great question! It’s because I own Rail Baron, an out-of-print board game that is Ticket To Ride crossed with Monopoly and then you throw in complex payout charts and three dice. It was a great birthday present for me when I turned 11. Now you’re lucky if you can buy it on eBay for $100.

Tucumcari factors in because it is a destination in the game. That means that its railroad history is storied.

Other things I learned in Rail Baron led me to the Cascade Rail Foundation in South Cle Elum, Washington back in December 2014. I got pictures with old cabooses.

So back to the Spelling Bee, and that means yesterday’s misses. Same range as always. But the good news is that I got both pangrams. I got CUTTHROAT right after I got back from mailing my ballot last night.

ACTUATOR: This one is annoying for me because I did an inventory audit at an actuator manufacturer when I worked in public accounting. But when do I think about actuators? I still feel like I should have gotten this one.
ARCO: Apparently this is a technique for using the bow on a violin. The gas station usage would be invalid.
ARHAT: A saint of one of the highest ranks in Buddhism and Jainism.
ATTAR: Argh! I have missed this fragrant essential oil word before.
CARAT: Oops.
COACTOR: One who acts with another.
CURACAO: The liqueur named after the Dutch territory CuraƧao. Silly.
HOAR: gray-haired with age? Interesting etymology.
OCCUR: I missed this? How did that happen?
ORCA: Yikes.
OUTRO: Shrug.
TARO: I could have sworn I got this.
TAROT: Same with this one.

OK so I learned something new from yesterday’s puzzle.

There will be some misses from today discovered tomorrow.

Final score: 30 words for 128 points. Genius minimum was 125.
First word: CIRCUIT.