Milestones Photos

Henry the Eighth (Grade Grad)!

It’s true—the Notorious H.S.N. has emerged victorious from Hoover Middle School & is on his way to high school!

The night before Hen’s ceremony at the SAP Center (aka the Shark Tank), we went out to our favorite Italian restaurant, Palermo, to honor the occasion as well as Margot’s birthday & the successful conclusion of Finn’s first year at Bellarmine.

The next day—Margot’s actual birthday—Hen gathered with his class & walked up to receive his certificate, a lei made of candy, and some congratulatory fist-bumps from pals. And from there it was immediate “wheels up,” as Hen, Seamus, and I departed for the first leg of our summer road trip (more on that as it unfolds!).

Check out our gallery of pics.

Insulators Photos

We’re back—with insulators!

After fifteen (!) solid years of updating this blog (1,600+ posts and counting!), we took the last six or so months off. Between work, school, and home, things got too nutty, and we’ve neglected to chronicle everything from birthdays to graduations to epic photo trips.

We’ll work back to fill in the gaps, starting at the present and working back. So, without further ado, I’ll pass the keyboard to Henry to describe our Friday night adventure in Utah!


For some months, I had been looking forward to hunting insulators on my road trip to the national show in Logan, Utah. I had seen a Facebook post from someone hunting on the Utah salt flats, and I figured it would be a very good place to try our new 24-foot extending picker pole.

The first passenger train on the line we hunted departed Salt Lake City heading east on August 20, 1910. We can assume that the pole line was built at a similar time. Insulators were changed out over time, leading to a mix of older and more modern insulators. The Western Pacific merged into the Union Pacific in 1982. The line is currently in U.P. hands. The pole line is now abandoned, with cut and dangling wires.

Ever since we began our trip in California, I had been watching the pole lines on the Union Pacific railroad. We stopped at a few exits along the way, but we did not hunt because the spots were too exposed. It was so tempting, as the poles were so low, but we had to err on the side of caution.

On Friday east of Wendover, just as the sun was starting to set, we saw a pole line on the U.P. from the road and took the exit for Knolls (an uninhabited area for off-roading). We turned onto an unmaintained frontage road which took us right to the tracks and the poles. 

We took out our picker stick (a 24-foot painter’s pole with an aluminum V on top wrapped in duct tape) and started down the line.

The sun was setting, so we didn’t have much time. I would say we went about seven poles down the line. We could have hunted for hours! All the insulators had tie wires on still, which made it very easy to spin them, and we took home three.

Check out are some pictures of our hunt.