Quiet on here?

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Mike Rometer
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Quiet on here?

Post by Mike Rometer » Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:10 am

A couple of forums that I frequent frequently have recently had questions asked as to why there seems to be a lack of posts. The current suggestions range from, that it is the wrong time of year as everyone is too busy squeezing in as much steaming (or whatever) as they can, before the winter arrives (what about the other end of the world?), to Social Media has taken over the roll of forums as being more easily accessible (?).

For my part I hope not the latter as I'm resisting strongly any minor (very) urge to join Face-ache, Twaddle or the like, despite what some Presidents might do. They are to my thinking far too public.

Hellooooo! Is there anybody out there? :lol:
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Lopez Mike
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by Lopez Mike » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:26 pm

No, you are not the last steamer alive. Maybe we are the last two (grin).

My steaming is over until Spring. The rains have set in here in the N.W. of the U.S. and I'm leaving for Baja in Mexico in a couple of weeks to spend the Winter riding my motorcycle in the sunny mountains and eating fresh tacos. Maybe back working on my new hull by early April.

To my great relief a fool came by and towed away my old hull and trailer. It took several weeks and a number of tire kickers and door slammers to get to that point. And it was offered for free! That's how bad it all was.

I have the boiler and engine strapped roughly in place in Spiffy (tentative name for the new craft). The next step is to launch and move the machinery about a bit to make sure the fore and aft balance is reasonably close. Then comes boiler and engine supports, a stern tube and rudder and the zillions of things that make up a useable launch.

Yes. Stay away from anything that advertises it'self as trivial by it's name. Tweet, indeed! Soon to come: Grumble, Grunt, Fart and Belch.
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by RNoe » Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:01 pm

There are at least three of us here!

My steaming year went the way of shoulder surgery and recovery. If I can't lift things, I shouldn't be messing with them.
My two 7.5" gauge steam locomotives are still sitting in storage in my shop, and I live just 5 hours drive from Train Mountain!
I will finish the second locomotive's cab roof and lighting system this winter.
But my steam launch acquired in May remains the focus of my steam efforts this Summer and Fall.

Yesterday was test day for the new steam launch oil burner system I created from bits and pieces. It works!
The original Blackstaffe cast burner (made in the mid-1960s) disappeared with all the other new plumbing, flywheel and more, between the time the restorer died and when I collected the boat. Sad but true. So I've spent 4 months recreating all those items.
Now I'm ready to install the burner, perform a hydro test on the new(!) boiler he made, and get the boat ready for steam tests on the waters of the Columbia River.
Just in time for winter...
But I look forward to some serious steaming next year!

So I will continue to check this Discussion Board on a daily basis, hoping to find whoever has come in from the cold.
Hi Fellow Steamers!
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by Mike Rometer » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:38 pm

So out of 554 users only us three are active. :o :o Actually not quite true, I have it on very good authority that at least one other is trying his hardest. ;) I should add that I haven't been today, very active that is. Only a small amount of marking out achieved.
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by TahoeSteam » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:53 pm

I'm here, although I may not respond to things immediately due to timing or location.

I think there are a few factors that are playing into the lack of activity on the forum...

-Summer and our associated summer activities: People out doing boating things, visiting family, working on fires (me usually), etc.

-Age: The demographic of our hobby is changing, as evidenced by the increased frequency of obituaries in the steam publications, and the glut of boats available for bargain prices. There aren't many folks my age (early 30's) or younger that have the attention span, skills, or interest in persueing a hobby that requires so much time to build and maintain. Once can't just call up the local reproduction parts warehouse and get a new set of valves like one could for their '25 Dodge Brothers sedan, or Model T... (Interest in those is waning as well BTY). IF people my age or younger can afford it (a HUGE IF), the knowledge base is disappearing quickly. I know the meet I've been going to since I was a month old has gone from nearly 30 boats when I was a kid, to maybe 10 this coming weekend (California Delta Steamboat Meet, Sept 27-29 2019, B&W Resort Marina, 964 Brannan Island Rd, Isleton, CA 95641). We need new blood, and we need it quickly.

-Social media: Instagram feeds and Facebook pages are much more accessible on a mobile platform (people still frequent desktops/laptops?!?) from literally anywhere; from desolation wilderness to the loo at the office when one is avoiding another grating meeting about TPS reports. The first time you get sucked down the rabbit hole while checking out Instagram, you'll understand. There isn't a lot of steam BOAT related stuff on those platforms either. When young folks interested in steam search for that stuff they usually end up getting drawn to the more visible steam locomotives (especially all the heritage locos in the UK 😍😍😍😍) and that VERY VERY deep rabbit hole. The presence of our fellow boaters and the associations isn't much, nor is it updated much (probably because most of us are making things!).
Also with Photobucket holding photos for ransom and limits on size/number of photos one can upload directly to a post, it has become a hassle to post on a forum vs a social media platform, especially on the fly.

That being said, here's a photo for ya..
IMG_20190914_154845.jpg
~Wesley Harcourt~
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by TriangleTom » Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:13 am

I think a lot of the reasons that young people aren't joining the hobby have to do with a simple lack of awareness that it even exists. I myself only discovered it after speaking to some exhibitors of old launch engines at a traction engine show here in Oklahoma, and I can't imagine that's a terribly common experience.
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Lopez Mike
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by Lopez Mike » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:15 am

I agree about people not knowing about steam boating. Almost my favorite thing to do with my boat is to attend some sort of event like a wooden boat fair and take everyone who is willing for a short ride. Again and again I find that this whole subject is new to them. They are astounded to find that my boat is only a decade or so old (no squeaks from the galley about all of my stuff looking old!)

I hand out a card with my contact info as well as the web address for our N.W. Steam Society and for this forum. And I make sure than anyone who acts at all interested knows about the existence of used launches.

I was lucky enough to be raised around steam of pretty much all sorts and to be a machinist. I cannot imagine starting a new boat without at least some of that background. Therefore I steer newbies to used boats that are at least close to being ready to run.
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by cyberbadger » Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:06 am

TriangleTom wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:13 am
I think a lot of the reasons that young people aren't joining the hobby have to do with a simple lack of awareness that it even exists. I myself only discovered it after speaking to some exhibitors of old launch engines at a traction engine show here in Oklahoma, and I can't imagine that's a terribly common experience.
I think there are always going to be people who are drawn to steam and seek it for themselves. Once you got the steam bug it's a crippling life long disease...

When I was a kid Back to the Future III came out, and although pretty technically inaccurate, I knew I wanted to one day interact personally with a living breathing steam vehicle of some sort. I learned a fair bit from the steam traction engine community on smokestack and a few traction engine shows that are held in Ohio that I went to - one had a steam launch(not in steam) on display. Seems pretty similar experience to you.

-CB
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by RNoe » Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:02 pm

I am one of the 4 active volunteers working on the three steam vehicles in the Western Antique Aeronautic and Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon.
http://www.waaamuseum.org
WAAAM is a lesser-known collection of flying airplanes (116 flyable this year) and over 150 operating cars.
We are working on a 10-ton Altman Taylor steam traction engine, a 1901 Locomobile, and a 1917 Stanley Steamer.
The AT traction engine and the Stanley have both recently operated there, providing rides and entertainment to the visitors.

At the invitation of the Museum's Director I have displayed my 1/8th scale steam locomotives, and have been asked to display my Steam Launch too, sometime next year.
So that should provide some more visibility to our steam launch world. I will follow suggestions and have cards available to interested people that include the Northwest Steam Society contacts. We never know what interest will be generated. And there are often several "local" steam launches advertised for sale on the NWSS website!

To be continued...
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Re: Quiet on here?

Post by TahoeSteam » Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:13 pm

That's a great idea Russ. I think I will take your cue and compile a list of websites and associations on a flyer for anyone interested in steamboating. Hand them out at the next meet, as well as just keep them on the boat for curious looky-loos.
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