Harmomic Convergence, Page
last update: 6/20/12

A Harmonic Convergence

Being a retired locomotive engineer and a WillysNuttm, it's only natural that I like photos showing railroads and Jeeps in the same frame (no luck so far with Cheap: one including Britney Spears). Got a Geep - Jeep photo, or the URL of one? Kindly email it to the email address shown on the Dome's home page. Britney would be pleased!

Geep-Jeep Picture Links:

Here's my sentimental favorite, because that CJ2a with the peculiar top was my first Jeep. As a college student perpetually short of funds, I constructed the top primarily out of old canvas and aluminum lawn chairs. It actually worked pretty good, and saved me most of the $125 that the Sears Catalog version would have cost. That Southern Pacific F-7 is a grimy beauty, isn't she, and at age eighteen, she is still two years younger than the 2a. Later on in the year, the SP retired the locomotive, and I sold the Jeep. East leg of the San Jose Wye, early 1969.

A typical slice of Smalltown America forty years ago, a battered Willys pickup sits in front of the Union Pacific's Victor, Idaho (elev. 7000+) station in July, 1965. The days of ice bunker refridgerator cars were numbered, as was the case for small branchline stations. The Union Pacific detrained its Yellowstone Special passengers here, for the bus ride to Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks. The train and the branch line that terminated here are long gone. Incidentally, that's an eight foot tall, quarter-acre manure pile that I was standing upon. I suspect that much of Wx4 provides the viewer with the same sensation.

For my money, this is one of the great railroad photos of all time (talk about atmosphere - it has everything!!). It's certainly the best railroad / Jeep photo that I've ever seen - notice the Mahindra (built under Willys license) coyly hiding on the right. This photo of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in Kurseong, India was taken in 1978, but it's still possible to see such scenes today, although the railroad's operations are now mostly diesel.

Photographer Eiji Nozawa, who lives near Tokyo, Japan has a wonderful Asian Railways Page at: http://www.kurogane-rail.jp/eindex.html

(photo used with permission)

The above is a relatively well-known photo taken by an SP photographer in the post World War II era. Over the years it's generated considerable discussion regarding its exact location, either Camp Roberts or Camp Cook (now Vandenberg Air Force Base), California. I'd offer the latter, because the sun angle seems wrong in relation to the hills for this to be Camp Roberts. Whatever - it qualifies as a Harmonic Convergence, and rather nicely, I think.

It's like the Holy Grail to Me: I was rummaging through the negatives collection looking for some Bend, Oregon photos to post for Rob Jacox (whose Western Rails is a fine Web site), when I fumbled across this - one of my beloved Willys Jeep Wagons parked next to the Bend Roundhouse and a couple of Burlington Northern (lately ex-SP&S) Alco RS3's. Boy, a tarpaper-sided engine house and a couple of tired, grubby old Alcos - the Wagon was surely in its natural element. June, 1970.

The Ultimate Harmonic Convergence: This ugly vehicle is a Jeep Forward Control pickup, model FC150, with a rather flimsy hi-rail setup. Jeep manufacured the FC's for a few years starting in the mid-1950's, but they never were very popular, and it's easy to see why. Nevertheless, "I WANT ONE!" Alternately, I'd settle for an old, conventional hi-rail equipped conventional Willys Jeep pickup, but with me being a Willys Wagon man, it's easy for you to guess what I really want... Thanks for the photo, Herb!

Those lime green AMC Jeep CJ-5's weren't particularly attractive, but they stood out. Here' one in the company of Pacific Lumber Company's # 29 and 105 at Scotia, California in June, 1974. this photo is a cropped portion of one that appears on the Pacific Lumber Company page.

It's November, 1980, and the local folks at Truckee have their wood stoves cranked up for coming nightfall, and the owner of the Jeep pickup parked at the depot has his vehicle jacked-up for the coming snowfall. The open-knuckle front axles assembly on the International Scout II, parked next to the Jeep, makes a nice upgrade for a Willys Station Wagon, by the way.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF WILLYS: Tony Gurney, a goofy Aussie WillysNut living in Indonesia (and former Lord of the long defunct WillysWarRoom), forwarded the above photo of an Indo sugar cane railroad engine named "Wilis". Wilis is the Indonesian spelling for "Willys", which is good enough to qualify for insertion here. THANKS, TONY!

Jim Sands, also a Geep/Jeep nut, was kind enough to send us this fine photo of the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern depot / Willys Wagon at Boone, Iowa in 1968.

The Sordid Origin of Wx4 and Wanton Photo Piracy
As this is being written (2012), staff is preparing for it's tenth anniversary grand celebratory parade down the main street of Wx4's adopted home city, Bayonne, New Jersey. Our retrospective mood occasions us to dwell on the origins of Wx4: Its genesis was in Tony Gurney's (see second pic, above) WillysWarRoom, a verbal-flatulence-laden refuge from the Yahoo! group WillysTech for those of us who made lighthearted merry of a sacred, serious subject: perpetually broken-down Willys Jeeps.

At some point during the ongoing verbal nonsense, one of the WarRoom's members, Dr. Vern, got on my case about how he had a website, Vernco.com, and I didn't, and "nyah-nyah, pfft, & etc". I should say in Vern's defense that he is very accomplished in the Willys World, since he mostly knows how to read and write. I was a bit defensive about the no website thing and decided to start my own just to shut him up.

Thus the site was born. It began as The Wonderful World of Willys Wagons (four W's=Wx4=implied association with 4x4 - clever, eh?), a site devoted to junky old Willys station wagons. The Dome O' Foam appeared shortly thereafter, because, simply put, railroads are funnier than Jeeps, something that Dr. Vern has proven again and again.

The above photo, a gorgeous shot of Vern's Jeep about to be plastered by the 4449, has gr
aced Vernco.com's home page since Britney Spears was still a virgin. As I understand it, the kid that used to do Vern's Web pages discovered girls, and that was that.

Mainly, though, I want to point out that the photo's placement
here is a totally unauthorized act of photo piracy. Nyah-nyah, pfft& etc.! And moreover, Vern, if you think that I'm going to make a plug here for your magazine column, you're WillysNuts®.

Otherwise, how's it been going, Vern?

NOTE: Do not, repeat DO NOT send complaints about piracy to
kr98664@yahoo.com Vern is as cranky as an old lady.

Remember when Osama Bin Lauden used to hold up current newspapers during photo ops to "prove" that he was still alive? So, Al Qaeda really thought that we had never heard of Photoshop? Oh well, too late for him to comment on this, hmm...assuming that the CIA... In any event, like Al Qaeda, we too suffer suffer from credibility issues, though in our defense, not nearly as badly as Congress. Luckily, faithful reader and contributor Phil Schmierer has forwarded photos (above and below) that he took in June 2012 at the Dunsmuir Railroad Days. We believe that our readers will buy into the statement that Wx4 technicians lack the skills to convincingly alter a photo. Sharp-eyed readers will note the copies of the June 9, 2012 Dunsmuir News - Picayune & Horse Trader displayed in the window of the Willys Wagon, lower photo. Phil borrowed his friend's (who asked not to be identified, nor in any way connected to Wx4) Wagon for these shots. THANKS Phil, you saved our bacon! Incidentally, we hope that the CIA doesn't find out about your friend Habib's Al Qaeda ties.