An Unusual Hobby

Friday, May 10, 2013

We’re going to be leaving on May 16 for one of the many trips we make every year in our motor home. Several people have asked me where we’re going so I thought it would be easier to explain with pictures.

Starting in about May every year we go on railroad Speeder Runs, my husband's hobby really but we go together. Railcars, or “speeders” were used for railroad maintenance before railroads started using hi-rails, the pick-up trucks with drop-down rail wheels on them. Once the railcars were discarded people started buying them and now there are several clubs that arrange for groups to take them out on the rails.

Our car looks like a police car because Rod was a reserve police officer in Willits several years ago and got permission from the local police department to use the emblem.

Rod even put tracks in our “Railroad Theme” backyard so we can easily move our speeder out of the motor home and to the shed in the back of the yard

Although many people restore the cars to their original state some people in the hobby chose a theme when restoring their car. A few years ago we discovered two other people who had restored their cars with emergency vehicle themes. We arranged to meet them on a Speeder Run so we could meet and get our picture taken together.

Speeders come in all sizes from very small ….

... to bigger cars that can carry several people. This picture was taken in Ione, CA. Every year they have a rail fair and offer rides to the public to raise money for their local club.

We have a 27' motor home with a "garage" in the rear to haul the speeder in and then we can stay in the motor home on the road also.

Our dogs are rail fans too, they love to accompany us on our speeder runs.

We've been all over the western U.S., every year we go to Montana for 2 weeks (that's coming up May 29 - June 16 this year). This is the group of “Speeder Friends” we meet in Grants Pass, OR every year to travel in a motor home caravan to the Montana Speeder Run

In 2005 we traveled all the way to North Carolina and were part of a local 4th of July parade in Parkton, NC. Rod entered town on the railroad tracks as the parade started with lights and siren:

That was a really fun trip for me because I hadn’t had the opportunity to travel very far from the west coast. My mother had died the previous December and we were able to stop and see the small town of Blue Earth, MN where she was raised. I was able to find the house she grew up in and was amazed to find The Jolly Green Giant at the entrance to the town (that's me between his feet)

We camped near the base of Devil’s Tower, WY...

... and visited Mt. Rushmore

We had the opportunity to visit several railroad museums. The Illinois Railroad Museum even had a speeder with a plaque explaining their history and use.

In order to participate in Speeder Runs you have to belong to the national club because they provide the necessary insurance. The local clubs set up the runs with the railroad. The railroad treats the group like a train, sending one of their representatives along with the group to keep in contact with the railroad because we operate on live track and so have to keep on schedule. It's a lot of fun, I like it because it's something Rod and I can do together. If you want more information about the hobby, here’s a link to the national club website:

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    How fun is that! While I'd not heard of such clubs, it does look like a lotta fun. One of my grandmother's brothers was a railroad fan and turned the attic of his house into a rail station for his extensive electric train collection. We were enchanted to visit his lovely treasure trove. Thanks for sharing this delightful hobby. *hugs* BB~
    1952 days ago
    Carolyn, I have never seen or heard of this before! That does sound like a whole lot of fun!
    Thanks for sharing this! :)
    2200 days ago
    I never knew about any of this - what a cool hobby! I know you're off on a run now and won't get this, but I loved reading your blog!
    2572 days ago
    emoticon Carolyn this is so unique....WOW!!!! And the blessing of sharing in with your husband. AMAZING. emoticon for letting us in to your life and hobbies.
    2587 days ago
    What a unique way to see the world! There must be some landscapes that you can only see from a rail car that way! Do you have to make special arrangements with the railroads to take such a long trip on those rails? That sounds like so much fun!
    2587 days ago
    OMGosh, that looks so cool and like a lot of fun. I love railroad cars of all shapes and sizes but had no idea this kind of club exhisted. Are there still speeder cars for sale out there bc I think I need one.

    I grew to love trains when my dad would take me from Orange County, CA to San Diego, CA to do his over night guard duty. I loved going on the train with him and staying in the guards shack or building. Depending on what he was guarding. I was only 6 on my first trip with him and I remember that the machine was so loud I hardly slept. Being with my dad was the best days of my life.

    Thank you for sharing this, I saw it on my friends TXGRANDMA's page and had to come take a look.

    LOVE IT!!!!!
    2687 days ago
    Ah HA! So now I know what it is all about! Looks like fun for sure! Very interesting and the pictures were perfect! emoticon
    2688 days ago
  • -WISPY-
    Thanks for sharing your trip. It's just like being there. :)
    2688 days ago
    I saw your link on another SP friend's page and couldn't resist. This sounds like so much fun!!! What a unique hobby!!! Love your doggie babies too. I'm from RR heritage as grandfather was engineer as well as many uncles. Dad and even my son worked for RR some. Thanks for the memories!!!
    2710 days ago
    How fascinating! It is great when a couple can share in a hobby together, make friends and travel while participating! Enjoy your trip, and thanks for giving us a photo tour.

    2718 days ago
    Whitney -- once again...thanks so much for posting this link on the chat thread! I had no idea that such a hobby existed. How neat to travel all over the country for the railroad "speeder runs". Loved the pics of the cars, you and your hubby and, of course, those photogenic pups!

    2719 days ago
    What fun! Thank you for sharing.
    2719 days ago
    This is very interesting and new information for me. It sounds like fun.
    Enjoy and be safe.
    2719 days ago
    what a WAY COOL hobby! Didn't see the link on the spmail you sent me before. You have a really great run on this one! Tell me all about it when you get home. See you when you get back! emoticon emoticon
    2719 days ago
    Sounds like a lot of fun I can tell you really enjoy it
    2723 days ago
    Awesome blog Carolyn! Love the pictures and learning about something I had never heard before. Hope you will have a fantastic trip! emoticon
    2725 days ago
  • NANAGO1204
    Have a wonderful time!!!
    2725 days ago

    Sounds like a lot of fun.Enjoy your trip and thank you for sharing
    2725 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8158758
    That is too cool! I even showed my Hubby this blog...he loves RV's. Even looked yours up and it is funny we like the Thors best too! We would like
    to know how you manage not having a car where you go? That is such an interesting hobby and glad you two can enjoy it together. I love it when people restore and fix things like that to preserve them! You have been to some nice places! Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a grand time! emoticon
    2725 days ago
    What a blast!! The hobby sounds like fun and a great time to meet up with people who have the same interests. Have a safe and fun trip! Would love to see your pictures from this years trip.
    2725 days ago
    That is something I haven't heard about and it looks like so much fun. I love to travel and Blue Earth, MN is not far from us. Enjoy this great hobby and the time you have together on the road. My husband worked for Winnebago Industries for many years so know the life of motor homes.
    2725 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13683589
    How awesome! I never heard of that, but it sure looks like fun. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your trip... you deserve it!
    2726 days ago
    Never heard of the like but it seems all fun! Enjoy your trip! Enjoy this time with your husband! Stacy
    2726 days ago
  • FISHER011
    Very cool & fun! Thanks for sharing- I felt like part of the fun- you take great photos!
    I love your themed backyard too emoticon
    This is such an awesome hobby you share with DH.
    Enjoy your trips & have fun!
    looking forward to your future posts emoticon
    2726 days ago
  • MAJONES1225
    Wow, that looks like lots of fun. I do hope that you guys have a lot of fun.
    2726 days ago
    Wow! Thank you for sharing your awesome hobby. Enjoy the trip. I'm going to miss you but I'm looking forward for your pictures and all the interesting things that you can tell us about when you're back. emoticon emoticon
    2726 days ago
    WOW!!! That is really interesting! What a wonderful hobby for you to both share. And of course, I LONG to travel and see the world. But the friends you have made all over the country. What a rich life you have with your husband. I can't wait to hear about this year's trip.
    Are you planning any trips this direction? And, Happy Mother's Day my friend! emoticon
    2726 days ago
  • DR1939
    How interesting. I'm glad you got to visit Minnesota and South Dakota. Have fun this summer.
    2726 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7773457
    Oh how much fun. My son has always wanted to ride in the trucks that run the rail wait until he see what you do. What a great hobby. Enjoy!
    2726 days ago
  • SAMI199
    How cool! It sounds like so much fun & a wonderful way to see the country with your DH.
    Thanks for sharing all the pictures & your story.have a great trip1

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2726 days ago
    What a fun hobby and great way to get away. Have fun. Stay in touch
    2726 days ago
    emoticon for this wonderful look into a hobby that I knew nothing about. It sounds like such a lot of fun & your backyard sounds charming.

    God bless!
    2726 days ago
  • DEDE824
    What fun! And interesting part of history, too. I had seen the little open cars but never the enclosed ones. We live in TX so I guess the enclosure wasn't necessary.

    Sounds like it's a neat group of friends.
    Thanks for blogging about this! emoticon
    2726 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13870533
    Looks like a whole lot of fun. Shame I can't be a stowaway. emoticon emoticon
    2726 days ago
  • AUNTB63
    Very interesting and awesome to be able to do this...always good to spend time with DH and friends. Have a safe and wonderful trip. emoticon
    2726 days ago
  • LEWILL1982
    That's really cool, have fun! Can't wait to see new pics from this trip.
    2726 days ago
    oooohhh...this sounds like so much fun!

    have a save trip. Hope you have perfect weather; mild days and clear, starry nights!
    2726 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2475290
    I really enjoyed your blog -- and you had so many pictures it was almost like going on one of the Speeder Car Runs myself, I had never heard of these previously, but it sounds like a lot of fun. How do you know which rails you can use? After all, you wouldn't want to come head-to-head with a big train. Is there such a thing as abandoned tracks, or can you get a schedule of when the tracks are in use, etc.?

    Sounds like you don't have to wonder too much what you're going to do in summer, as you will be out doing your thing most of the time. Will you have access to the Internet during the time you're gone? Hope so -- I'd hate to lose my friend for the entire summer!!

    Stay happy and enjoy your travels!
    2726 days ago
    Wow!! That was so amazing and so interesting. I know you've told me about this hobby before but to see all of those pictures was great!! It sounds like such a fun hobby especially when you get to travel to so many different places and to meet up with people who share your interest. I'm going to share these pictures with my son Tim. When he was growing up he was a train nut. We had all kinds of train sets that he played with ( and I still have them) and we used to take him yearly for a ride on a steam train that is about an hour from us. We've also been up to North Conway, NH where they have another train that runs on a cog railway up the side of Mt. Washington. That was a little scary being up so high on a steam train. You look out the windows and all you can see is the deep gorge underneath you. It's so great that you get to travel with the speeder right in the "garage" of your motor home and that the dogs get to go with you too!! I don't think that would work out so well with Gibby emoticon I will wish you a happy trip again next week since its still a week away, but I'm sure you are going to be busy getting the motor home and all of your supplies etc ready to go. Thanks so much for sharing this with me. I always love to learn about new things that I never even knew existed!! emoticon PS I think there needs to be a train in the Emoticons!!
    2726 days ago
    How cool! I have heard of this, but don't remember why or how. emoticon Have a great time! Will be missing you! emoticon
    2726 days ago
    This is a fantastic hobby. What fun to share the time together on the road with the 'babies'... Have a safe trip... and BTW where are you headed?

    2726 days ago
    That is awesome. Hubby used to be a truck driver and we went past the turn off for mount rushmore but didn't have time to go and see it. I was so bummed out. We got to go everywhere but see nothing. I have a friend who's hubby works for the railroad. I wonder if he knew about it.
    Enjoy your trip but be careful. Pam
    2726 days ago
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