When I finally decided that I wasn't going to work on the old layout any more because it simply didn't do what I wanted, the next project became finding a home for the new layout. Like I said last time, moving wasn't really an option as we were satisfied with our house and its location relative to places that we wanted to go. At that time, I was working downtown, just a short five minute walk away. Besides, our house had appreciated in value, so we would be spending at least what we had in value to get the same thing... it didn't make any sense.
I had been to a county fair someplace and had seen a nice club's model railroad built in a trailer. The trailer was probably about 8 feet wide and maybe 20 feet long. It was air-conditioned (and I assumed heated) so I could use it all year long. I even thought that if someone else could take their trains on the road, so could I.
I'm not sure who I talked to, but I even went so far as to get a quote for one that would probably fit my needs. The price, $8,000, didn't seem too bad when I compared it to other options and I seriously considered it. But in the end, something told me that I didn't want my trains set up in a trailer that would be parked behind our house. Back to the drawing board...........
Our house is built on half a basement... the other half is a crawl space for access to heating, wiring & plumbing. I had looked at a small area in the basement previously so looked at it again. The area was carefully measured and more than one ream of paper was wasted in sketching how my grand railroad empire might fit in an area only 12 x 8. In a nutshell, it wouldn't. Besides, the basement has had water in it and wasn't the cleanest, dust-free area in the house either. Back to the drawing board.... again.
Perhaps it was an aligning of the stars or just simple fate, but things began to happen that, well, pointed in a different direction. One day, I was out in the garage and noticed that there were some plaster chips on the roof of the car. I didn't think much of it, but a few months later, I saw some water drops mixed in with the plaster dust. Uh-oh, a leaking roof. Upon closer inspection, the metal roof had deteriorated to the point where it was leaking... and there were a few other places where it would be leaking soon as well.
I had noticed that the people door on the garage was also getting harder to close. That was caused by the whole frame shifting a little, binding the door at the bottom. A while later, a friend pointed out that water from melting snow on the car in the winter had apparently run under the walls in the garage and the wooden base plate was starting to rot in several places. Some kind of animal had taken up residence under the porch and that caused a big stink... literally, when he "expired" there.
We knew that our daughter would be getting older and would want her own car... our existing garage only had room for one. And, Mom and Dad were frequent house guests but we only had one bathroom, located on the second floor of the house. Climbing stairs had become a little more difficult for them, so a bath downstairs looked like a good investment as well. So I got out some paper and a pencil and went to work on some new drawings... not of a future model railroad, but of a new, two-car garage with a bath downstairs. But... there was that window at the top of the stairs that "could" be converted to a doorway... and a second story "bonus room" wouldn't add all that much to the project... maybe, just maybe, the trains would find a new home after all.
Until next time...