Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of 2008

Tonight, people are gathering and drinking; having a good ole time with their friends and relatives paying not much attention to anything, perhaps only the time and when to get another drink. All the while a few scattered volunteers stand watch here and there in distant places, most of which we can not imagine where or what it smells like. Some of the locations are close by while others are far away and in a land and culture that saw the birth of hatred which killed Americans by the thousands.

So here tonight I say goodbye to 2008. I thank the Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guard and the other agencies of uniform both seen and unseen that have kept us safe here at home in the U.S.A. Like many of them I stand watch tonight doing my duty so the rest of the public can party with out much thought of what they have or what they do. Tonight is just another day at work as it is for many in uniform whether civil service, military or other government worker; we are just doing our job tonight.

I say good bye to 2008 with vigor, for it seems it was a year of lows and highs, some of which I have welcomed greatly and some that were unwelcome just as much. I shall endeavor to persevere in what ever obstacles lay in front of me and with God's aid I hope that 2009 will be a might bit brighter. Thank you my family and friends for the journey of 2008. I hope that 2009 brings us better times, stronger faith and a greater appreciation for our freedoms. So with the winds at our back may the sails be full for 2009.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

To all my family and friends,

May you all have a Merry Christmas.

Safe travels to your family and friend's homes.

Merry shall your gatherings be and with cheer and good food shall you all dine.

Never foget our Troops near and far on this day and everyday protecting us.

May your hearts be warmed, for Christ was born today.

Dan Meinhard

The Hard Work of a Railroader

13 degrees was the temperature outside as my son and I ate our lunch after Christmas shopping. We stopped at the Port Huron Amtrak station to watch a train stopped in the St. Clair Tunnel, apparently under emergency. After watching the crews for a few minutes I realized the train had pulled apart from the locomotives due to a broken coupler or part of the coupler and or drawbar. The crew was climbing in and under the cars on the grade going into the tunnel. The snow was deep for we just had another storm of about 8 inches fresh on top of 10 inches already on the ground in most places.
A set of locomotives were cut off from the rest of the train and came back to the car in trouble. They chained the car to the coupler of the locomotive and my son and I watched them as they work to move that troublesome car from the train. Before we knew it the work was done and it was time to leave. We should all remember those who do this tough jobs out there on the rails. I sure know, I did some of that work before and I have a great apreciation for their work. Enjoy the photos.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hunting with Joe

On November 29th, I took Joe out to the woodland for his second taste of deer hunting in Michigan's cold November air. He did much better on this outing than the first. He was so comfortable sitting next to me on our rootball tree blind (a tree blew over and exposed its roots) he fell asleep for an hour. He was comfortable with the wool army blanket on him. We saw no deer, but he is learning everything I can teach him on hunting, nature and what God has entrusted us to preserve and take from the land as food and shelter.

When the sun finally set and the hunting time was over Joe and I walked back and met up with Mom on her way back from the hunt too. We all did not see any deer, but we all shared in something special. A beautiful sunset glowed with the crescant moon setting as well; God is nigh.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Marines!

The 10th of November marks the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

Thanks to all those who have served and are serving in the Marines. Happy Birthday Marines!

Semper Fidelis


Friday, October 10, 2008

Andy's 8 point

My brother shot this White Tail in Mason County, MI this past week. Dressed out it was 166 pounds.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Back to Trains

Coming out of the St. Clair River Tunnel are a pair of Illinois Central (IC) units. 6105 is an EMD SD40-2 and the 1032 is a SD70 also made by EMD. These photos were taken July 25th, 2007 at the Port Huron Amtrak Station.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


On October 23, 1983, two truck bombs struck buildings housing U.S. and French members of the Multinational Force who were stationed in Beirut, Lebanon as part of a peace keeping force during civil war in Lebanon. I was only 11 then and I remember it well. The attack killed 241 Marines and Sailors. I remember those images on TV of the attack and my father being real upset about the attacks and loss of American lives. Several hours after the attack an organization called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. This was one of the worst terrorist attacks abroad on US personnel.

I joined the Marines in 1989 and served four years of active duty honorably. It was the best of times and the worst of times and only a Marine can understand that meaning. I would do it again and again if I could do it all over.

One of my platoon Sergeants told me his account of what happened that day in Beirut. He said they were supposed to be in the barracks that night and were mad that they were "volunteered" to do an extra patrol. Little did they know that saved his life and 13 other Marines.

As the years past from 1983 most Americans forgot the 241 Americans who died in Beirut let alone that they were Marines and Sailors. But for us Marines the stunning images of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19th, 1995 brought back memories of that attack in a land far away. Marines also died in that bombing in the recruiting office that was on the sixth floor of the Federal Building in Ok City, once again shedding blood in service for their country along with 168 innocent Americans. This time it was not Islamic Jihadists who did the bombing, but home grown terrorists who hated their county for its handling of the Waco, TX disaster under Clinton and Attorney General Reno. In no way was it excusable that act of terror.

On the morning of September 11th I was driving to work at the fire station. I was going on duty for my 24 hour shift. I remember the day, the morning, very well; sunny, bright, clear sky... "It's a great day to be flying!" as my dad would say. I remember thinking of him and how he would say that. It was a good morning to drive and I had just come back from a short trip to Canada with the wife and was wishing I had more time to spend out in the Bruce Peninsula than the three days I had.

Shortly after roll call we checked out our fire trucks. I then started working on a training PowerPoint for the F-16 aircraft and our procedures for shutting it down, etc. One of my co-workers came into the training room and said a plane flew into the WTC in New York. I turned the projection TV on in the training room and began loosely following it as it played out. I remember turning to the TV on Fox news and watching the second plane fly into it and thinking what just happened? Was that a rewind of the crash? Then shortly there after all hell broke loose and we were all called to the Day Room... we were at War. We all changed. Our stance changed. The base geared up for War. Our F-16s were armed rapidly and were some of the first in the air flying Combat Air Patrols over the U.S.

In the Seven years after 9/11 a lot has changed and some has not. Regardless of politics, we were attacked and it was not George Bush's doing, a right wing conspiracy, or some act of top secret CIA operations within the U.S. so we could attack Iraq. We were attacked and I watched 343 of my brothers die in the line of duty. They went in while other ran out, that's just the job we do, I do, and firefighters know this everyday and do this everyday with out much though of it.

So tomorrow is 9\11\2008 and the politicians will come together and hold hands for a day, speak their well written dialogues and talk of the nation and how 9\11 changed them and how we are stong, etc. Just remember which ones they are when they talk how bad the nation is, what is wrong with the USA and what we are doing wrong around the world. Remember the politicians who smear the Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen and women who serve this nation freely, not forced, but volunteered to do their duty to rush into danger, just like the firefighters of 9\11 did into the WTC towers. Remember the politicians who tell Generals they are lying and not telling the truth to congress, insulting the troops and their leaders in the process. Vote them out!

Tomorrow is 9\11. Remember those who went to work that day, and did not come home, for they were only doing their job. Remember the 343 from FDNY, the NYPD 23 police officers, and the 37 officers from the Port Authority Police Department who died in the line of duty. On that day there was no Republicans or Democrats, just unselfish Americans doing their job. I wish we could go back to that spirit in the days right after 9\11. We could do so much more good united to help each other than smearing lies, views, and political attacks on each other to gain a foothold with voters.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Steam Locomotives

These are some shots of steam locomotives in action that I have taken since 1987. The oldest being N&W 611, Huckleberry Railroad #2. More recent are Pere Marquette 1225, Flagg Coal # 75 and Rio Grand #464 at Huckle Berry RR.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Win one for the Birthday Boy

Backyard Birthday Party Football
The Pass...

The Interception...

The Hand-off

The Mad Dash


What a way to spend your birthday party!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Delaere Wedding Video

This is the short version of a video slide show I made for Rick and Angi.

Grand Trunk Western 4624

Some shots of GTW 4624, a GP9r, on the paper mill run in Port Huron, MI. The sun was already set when I took the shots. The Nikon D80 did real well in the low light. I have not had much time for any railroad photos lately and this was by pure chance. I needed a break from work on several projects at home and took an hour off to fish while a DVD I was making was writing to disk (took over 14 hours).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Eclipse of the Moon

The 2008 Lunar Eclipse viewed from Michigan's Thumb area.