OPINION: Getting Older?

AZ mountains

We recently completed a trip to Arizona to check out the possibility of relocating.   Arizona offers considerable savings in cost of living.  Taxes and housing are cheaper than Cali.


On the way down, we passed an unusual load on being carted down I-10.  It looked like a large cat or a possible bat mobile.  Well, my guess is that it a space plane called Dream Chaser. My former employer develop this machine to compete on the NASA space station program.   I could be wrong and it might be a bat mobile after all.

Being away means that you have a pile of mail to go through.  Most of the mail was pure junk.  There were flyers from cemetery plots, Neptune Society, burial insurance and assorted junk.  Wow! What a downer.  Maybe I needed to go down to Costco and pick out an appropriate box.

Someone said that age is a state of mind.  My state of mind is positive so I must be still young.  Since I just didn’t fall off the turnip truck, I am thinking that the clock is  really ticking down.

When your modeling time is limited, you must focus on an achievable objective.   All too often modelers run out of time to build the empire of their dreams.  We are all “collectors” of kits, parts and such.  How much time does it take to build a kit?  A quick scan of the project shelf will show a lifetime of work.  I have done the look.  This has triggered selling many kits, completed cars and books.   I went through my magazine collection and “clipped” for useful information.  There are probably too many plans and articles in my pile of clipped material.  All of my Mainline Modelers are now being recycled.  The last several year of that magazine probably had little or no useful information.   In retrospect, you could see the slow death of a once great magazine.

 I am in the process of tearing out my layout saving a few sections for use as a photographic stage.  The next version will be smaller and uncomplicated.

What do you really need to pull of an achievable railroad?  One or two locomotives is really all I need.  I am fortunate to own several Glacier Park brass imports.  A couple dozen cars and a caboose or two is all I need.  I can concentrate on structures and scenery.

NP front crossing lr

Happy Trails,


25 thoughts on “OPINION: Getting Older?

  1. Geez, Gene
    Not showing this one to my wife! She told me yesterday she is getting tired of me hauling a bunch of stuff home that I will never use.
    Well, off to look over some things from an estate and maybe add to the pile!
    I’ll have to sneak it in though………..

    Jim Kehn

  2. Wonderful article Gene! Just scanning it is another valuable addition to my “favorites” archives. My plan is to print out this and give more feedback and tell you why this is a masterpiece of prose and philosophy. Your models are exquisite! Since Chicago O this year I’m off to searching for the best custom models. If ever you want to sell a model I may well be a good customer. My latest finds for custom models are by George Repenn. You builders are an example of how people ought to be: Great people doing great things that lends for enjoyment and value for generations to come, leaving a legacy worthy to follow. Back soon. Keep chuffing,


  3. Sitting on our screened porch this morning with temps in the upper 60s headed to mid 70s and discussing where do we really want to live. Phoenix area came up as it always does and “some part of Florida” came up again.

    Where ever it is it needs dedicated hobby space as part of the original build – I am still waiting for contractor to wall off 1/2 of the garage. I put my back out this week manhandled my wife’s wheel chair so I confirmed that building walls are no longer part of my future.

    My wife suggested that when I do finally build, I keep it small which means I can sell off a large collection of future projects – not a bad idea overall.

    Whatever you do I look forward to your future projects and comments.

    Bill Uffelman

  4. BTW I read your comments to my wife and my follow up and she said to tell you that she is temporarily in a wheel chair – foot surgery.put her there for another 3 to 4 weeks. That said, she is thankful that it is temporary butit gives a new perspective to getting older.

  5. I had to chuckle reading your the last blog. Join US-we are an Army the likes of you. I am about ~10 years ahead of you . Learn from the OLDER generation ! I invite a bunch of you at O-Scale West.Let’s discuss that important topic.
    George Krausse

  6. Gene, You definitely should have checked out St. George and Santa Clara, Utah. We could use another P48er here. Much cooler in the summer than Phoenix, no snow (usually) and the heart of Color Country with Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks close by. It’s a beautiful place, beautiful people and probably one of the safest places in the country. Yes, after living here for 10 years, I am biased.


  7. Gene,
    Sorry to hear that your layout is being dismantled. Less than a year ago, I had to do the same thing because of a move to our second, and last, retirement home. One hundred and twenty feet of track, 7 turnouts and a crossing that never saw electricity—should have made it modular. However, in 9 months I have managed to get about twice as much trackage down and operable that completes my completes my current layout plan.

    I guess my point is that things go a lot quicker the second time around so don’t give up on building a layout to showcase your wonderful models. I do agree on layout simplicity. I hope you build with a layout and continue the blog which has been so helpful to me and others.

    Best regards,
    Bill Bear

  8. Gene;
    We’re doing the same thing-layout being sent to storage while we move(downsize), all the cars and locos(almost all) in storage. Strange feeling, but our home and the orchard are just too much for us at this stage of life-(guess i”m at least 10 years older than you are)
    We’ll find something with a shop and layout room near Austin, and see what happens.
    Health is good, so far, look forward to seeing you at OSW-
    Best, Jesse

  9. My first reading of this blog really had me depressed. However, after rereading and thinking more seriously about your rationale, I realized that there are many truths in this “sermon” that we older folks are reluctant to admit, and it is better to do something about it now (like downsize your stock of un-built kits, locomotives and rolling stock) while you can and before it’s left to a spouse or an auctioneer. So for me this is a wake-up call, thanks.

  10. I too have been thinning my way too robust collections of “stuff”. I was the true rubber gauger with scale models form N to Fn3, and the accompanying toys. I have sold off much and will continue to whiny it down to a realistic level. Having been a dedicated P36 modeler, and occasional P48 I have yet to decide where to really focus my efforts. Standard Gauge is wonderful and large, Narrow Gauge is wonderful and not as large, but size does not matter. Look at Warner Clark’s accomplishments in a small space!

  11. Pingback: Titus and Gene on the(ir) future | Achievable Layouts

  12. A great piece, Gene – and it’s a reality check that most hobbyists should be making, whatever their age.

    It’s so easy to spend money needlessly on more projects than we really need or on a layout that is too ambitious. At its most extreme, people buy or build far more basement (or outbuilding) in which to house a layout that they have no hope of ever completing.

    I’ve seen several examples of this in other blogs – journals about hugely ambitious layouts that stopped being updated sometime during the benchwork or room prep phase. I doubt it’s because the layout builder is having so much fun that he can’t spend the time updating the blog. More likely, the layout builder has found a new hobby – like “What’s on TV”.

    It’s great to see you making an honest assessment of the time and other resources that you are able to (and willing to) invest in the hobby, and adjusting your hobby accordingly. It’s an exercise that we should all undertake.


    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

    • Trevor
      Thank you for your kind words. My comments are the result of an effort to reduce what I collected and planned to build. The thought process started when I began following your Port Rowan blogs. It showed that you don’the need a ton of stuff to do the job. The older one gets the more you realize your own limitations.
      All of this thinking flies in the face of the concept that he who dies with all the toys wins.


  13. I’ve seen a few club layouts recent attempt at rebuilding their empire from scratch or extending them. And seriously, I was scratching my head at what they were doing. A lot of wasted talent on insignifiant dreams of grandeur. Nothing works, it’s far too big, most members no longer play with the trains and others wants more tracks because they are bored. For a few years, the issue you tackle have been a hot subject for solo modellers, but I really feel club layouts will have to ask the same thing. As if the group mentality strips these people of required focus and self-critique.

    I’m only 33 year old and I’m already reaching the same conclusions as yours… do I really need all of that. The more I grow up as a modeller, the more I like uncomplicated and simple solutions. That way, I can better interact with the hobby and strive for excellence without feeling crushed and frustrated. Unfortunately, the “I Want It All” mentality is still king.

  14. I’m finding that continuing with my New England-inspired N scale layout has turned out good exercise for my eyes As I said in a recent poem, I can see those tiny nail holes in the plastic ties again! 🙂

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