Saturday, March 26, 2022

SD70MAC vs Moose!

Moose in a stand-off with Alaska Railroad (ARRC) General Motors model SD70MAC locomotive.

The Alaska Railroad owns 28 SD70MAC locomotives, which make up more than half of ARR's 51-unit locomotive fleet. “SD” refers to Special Duty and “MAC” translates to “M” for Modified cab and “AC” for Alternating Current traction motors.

Each 4000-hp unit features a name on its nose:

• 4001 — Spirit of Alaska
• 4002 — Spirit of Seward
• 4003 — Spirit of Moose Pass
• 4004 — Spirit of Whittier
• 4005 — Spirit of Girdwood
• 4006 — Spirit of Anchorage
• 4007 — Spirit of Palmer
• 4008 — Spirit of Wasilla
• 4009 — Spirit of Talkeetna
• 4010 — Spirit of Cantwell
• 4011 — Spirit of Denali
• 4012 — Spirit of Healy
• 4013 — Spirit of Nenana
• 4014 — Spirit of Fairbanks
• 4015 — Spirit of North Pole
• 4016 — Spirit of Delta Junction

ARR 4010 "Spirit of Cantwell" named in honor of Lieutenant J. C. Cantwell, military explorer and commander of the revenue steamer Corwin on the Yukon River, 1898-1900.

Cantwell Alaska, population ~200 souls, is located in the Denali Borough (a.k.a. "county").

Photographer Jon Hall captured 4010 in Anchorage on August 25, 2008. Great "roster"shot! 

You gain "extra points" if you can spot the Big Dipper and  the North Star, painted on the car body. The Big Dipper and North Star are defining features  is featured on the Alaska state flag.

The "average" weight of an adult male moose is ~1,000 lbs (455 kg, 71 st), whilst the GM six axle SD70MAC weighs about 415,000 lbs (188,241 kg, 19,643 st.)

You may know that the moose is the largest member of the deer family. (Note to those who rail about deer eating their rhody's — don't antagonize the deer! — they have enforcers!)


I am not an expert in accident analysis, but common sense dictates that if you hit an animal of this size, you could end up with  a ~1,000 pound caucus ramping up your hood impacting your windshield!

What do you think?  Click "comments" below to express your opinion.


Finally, a jaw dropping Close encounters of the "Moose" Kind!" 



Thursday, March 24, 2022


Character of an individual. Forbearance: patient self-control; restraint, tolerance.

I was down at the beach waiting for a cruise ship to pass Pt. Wilson, beginning its journey to S.E. Alaska.

I noticed a Great Blue Heron, waiting for a delicious tidbit to pass by on the flood tide.

After fusing around with my camera, my attention was directed back to the Heron. I realized he was in a territorial  stare-down with a dreaded Woody Beach creature.

And that conjured up Travis' famous dialog with his mirrored image in Taxi Driver ...

We all know the Heron is the epitome of forbearance. I've seen then stand stoically for hours waiting for a tasty snack. 

Great egrets, snowy egrets, great blue herons, and other migratory birds are protected under federal law. It's illegal to shoot, trap, or harm them in any way. 

However, there are steps you can take to protect the fish in your pond: Wading birds fish in shallow water.

The cruise ship came and went. I packed up my gear. As I climbed into my motor vehicle, I smiled. The show down between the Great Blue Heron and the devilish Woody Beach creature continued ...