OPINION: “Go West Young Man”

American author Horace Greely was attributed for writing the phrase in the title of this post. As it turns out that a fellow in 1851 penned the phrase “go west young man” years before Greely.   At any rate, it did spawn a migration to the west settling in California and all points in between.  It was like the famous Chicago Burlington & Quincy slogan of “Everywhere West”.


WestCoastTrailCost2_resizedI have been in the Golden State since 1963 and like many I have seen it transform from a largely agricultural economy with great prosperity and possibilities for people who wanted to work to one that has shifted away from agriculture to high tech with more people than jobs.  The cost of being here has shot to the moon.  Real Estate is now untouchable in the San Francisco Bay Area and many other places.  I left Silicon Valley to the foothills seven years ago to find a place to retire.   Now, the progression of taxes and home building has made my current location less desirable.   Before coming to the foothills of the Sierra, I tried home ownership in Hawaii.  That is off the hook in terms of expensive.  Try to find a hobby shop within 2400 miles of the islands.

Capay Valley

So, I have decided to ignore the advice of going west.  Besides it no longer applies since I am an old man now days.   “Going Southeast Old Man” might better describe the direction.   I start looking around in Nevada, Arizona and even Texas.  In this day and age you can visit places using applications like Zillow and Realtor.c20150920_183241om.   Arizona became my choice after researching various aspects of the living environment.  Texas was my emotional choice since I have lots of friends there and pioneer spirit of the old wild west was still alive.  The weather was a bit of a downer however.  A.T. Kott reminded me that Texans hate the sight of another damn Yankee towing a Uhaul.   I used to do business in Waco, Greenville, Plano, Austin and a few other places.  The heat and humidity was tough in the summers.

Well, the house is on the market and the layout is being torn out of the garage.  We are committed to the process of relocation.   Not sure when we will load up the moving van but hopefully sooner than later.  We have been in the current hope for seven years which is just long enough to collect more junk than you can manage. Anyone who has moved understands what I am talking about.

layout teardown

The scraping process is painful to do.  Lots of plans have to be reset for a new space and time.  I was able to give nearly all of the layout material to Ron Souza who is building his On3 railroad.   Lumber would be expensive to move since commercial movers based their costs on weight.  I am salvaging a portion of the layout (20′ or so).  Most of my built models will be packed and moved in a rental minivan.  My wife will drive our car and I will drive the minivan.  The thought of fragile models bouncing down the road in a 53′ moving van is something I don’t want to consider.

end shot

The blog is not ending but will cover other topics while the relocation takes place.  I might even get a few construction projects done until the new layout space is finished.

Happy Trails,






29 thoughts on “OPINION: “Go West Young Man”

  1. And Happy trails to you , Gene. Please allow my personal thanks for the continuance of your splendid blog and may your new adventure be indeed happy and fulfilling .
    Kindest regards
    Jeff Davies

  2. Best wishes Gene. We bought this house in Ocean View DE based on certain retirement dreams that have not been met by retirement reality. I was looking at Scottsdale on Realtor.com yesterday – mighty tempting!

  3. All the best Gene. I went through a similar move not long ago when I had to tear down my HO layout that I spent 20 years building. I haven’t rebuilt yet, but I’m considering P:48. Right now I’m content helping Warner Clark and others build their layouts. All the fun, but it doesn’t cost me much.
    Here’s a link to my late HO layout. I would do things a lot differently if I rebuild after being exposed to the talented group of P:48 model builders.


  4. Good luck Gene,
    New Mexico also has some great spots. If Arizona is your choice, I suggest looking at Green Valley, about 20 south of Tucson. It’s great place but you have to be 55 or older to live there.

  5. Gene-
    Hope all goes well with the move. Arizona is a nice place, although you would have recieved a warm welcome in Texas.
    A T needs support in San Antonio-seemingly a vast wasteland for O scalers-but close to Cedar Creek, home of all things good in O Scale
    Our progress is slow-house on market 6 months-no sale yet.
    Lots of packaged equipment
    Best regards,

  6. Best of luck to you and your wife as you embark on your relocation. I know Jim Z and Bruce B will be glad to have you somewhat closer, and I hope for the opportunity to meet you should you visit us in Texas.

  7. Gene – Sorry that you had to dismantle the layout to move. It was really looking great! Having been a member of Lorell Joiner’s “Monday Night Mafia” for 20 years, I know you have put a lot of good work into it.
    Actually, us native Texans don’t hate yankees, we just hate to see more population growth! My grandparents on my mother’s side were from the East (grandfather came here in 1910 as the only Secret Service agent in Texas), and my father was from Reading, Penna. I was the first family member born here in Texas.
    San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the USA, and there are very FEW O scalers here! We need MORE of them! No state income tax in Texas, very short winters in south Texas, etc. However, we now have very few hobby shops. Yankees with U-Haul trailers full of O scale stuff are always WELCOME!!

      • A.T.
        Thank you.
        I suspect that I will be visiting Texas once I get settled. I feel the need for some Texas brisket slowly smoked over hardwood.


  8. Hi Gene,

    Best wishes for a successful new home search and move! I’ve moved so much that I build all my layouts in sections that can be disassembled and moved when the time comes. The time has come again for me as I go from an apartment to a house. The one thing I try to do is keep my modeling era consistent (1952) so that the freight car fleet doesn’t have to be replaced after each move.

    Todd Sullivan
    Liverpool, NY

  9. Good luck, may the roads be smooth, and know that a lot of us value everything you write. John Stilgoe


  10. Gene,

    Best wishes for a safe and productive move. Moving is never easy and model railroaders add a new dimension to the process. Sincere hope nothing is damaged or lost and the unpacking and move in is all seamless. I enjoy your blog and look forward to future posts. Thanks and best wishes. PS I’ve moved four times with a layout so I know what you’re looking at.

    Lee Gustafson

    • Lee
      Thank you.
      I am only moving a portion of the layout so it should be less challenging. The finished models will travel with me rather with the movers.


  11. Good to have another P:48 modeler coming to Arizona. Now I will have to start improving my standards.
    There is suppose to be a good hobby shop somewhere in Phoenix. If I fine out I will let you know.


  12. Gene

    We are, many of us in a similar place. I have been in California since 1972, and now, I am considering the same type of move. You have always kept us informed and up to date on many things, so we look forward to your updates once you decide where to settle. My wife is building her business and I am now active in helping her, as she was in helping to raise the family while I put in the hours on my career. So we are stuck here for a while longer. Sometime in the future we will also look at a move. I am in the process of thinning my overlarge collection of stuff. If I ever get to build a layout, it will be in the next house, not here. Keep up the blog.

    Jon Heller

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