This is it. My final post.
It’s 2021. There are approximately 7 years of posts on this site. When I first started out I posted frequently, as often as a couple times a week. As time went on the posting slowed down, to the point that I post once or twice year, if I’m lucky. Ongoing maintenance on the back end of the site cuts into the time I can spend writing new posts. New posts, for the most part, require new content. New content has to be generated somehow. I will not post content to the site that I did not create (if I did so in the past, credit was given where credit was due). Opportunities to create new content have grown few and far between, especially in the past year or so. And various events and relationships in my personal life have changed my attitude and perspective significantly through the past 7 years, to the point where my interest in the hobby is no longer as intense as it was when I first started working on this site.
Longtime followers of this site should be aware that very little content is actually hosted on this site. Most of the pictures I share here are actually hosted on Flickr and are linked to this site. There are a couple additional photo-hosting websites that other images have been linked from, and I will occasionally post a video (hosted on YouTube). When this site disappears (in June 2021), my videos will still be on YouTube and my photographs will still be on Flickr. It is only this website (www.greatlakesrailfan.com) that will be gone.
I do anticipate continuing to photograph trains in the future. And I will continue to upload pictures to Flickr. But I do not anticipate having the time or interest in sharing beyond the Flickr site. Through the years I have been blessed with numerous friends in this hobby, and I hope that doesn’t change. But as technology has improved and it has gotten easier to communicate electronically, it is also becoming more difficult to enjoy this hobby offline, without video services such as Virtual Railfan or Railstream (this isn’t a knock on either service- both serve a purpose, especially if you’re not able to watch trains in person) or the various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. As many of you know, I gave up on Facebook several months ago and deactivated my account. I do not intend to return, but did not delete my account, hoping that some day the platform will do less to divide and pit its users against each other. Since discontinuing my use of Facebook (outside of a couple minutes a week for professional reasons), I’ve noticed that my stress levels are lower and I’m not nearly as pessimistic as I was.
2020 was memorable as a really, really bad time for a lot of people, but there were a few good things that happened. Our modular model railroading group started meeting and setting up in a local park (outside) last summer, which was a very different venue than we’d ever had before. I’m hoping to build on last year’s momentum this summer, with at least one or two outside set ups when it’s pleasant outside again in the evenings. It’s much easier to social distance outside than inside, which worked in our favor. And despite the lack of train shows right now, we still have a group that is interested in running trains together with each other, even if we have to create our own events to run them at.
Leaving Facebook wasn’t the only major social change I experienced last year. I will be gaining a permanent roommate (i.e. wife) just before this site disappears. Where there has been increasingly less time to maintain/update or even think about this site before, there is now almost none. The ceremony that ends with the two of us being stuck with each other for the rest of our lives (i.e. marriage) is coming up quickly and should be very…interesting. It’ll be interesting to see most of my closest friends in the same place at the same time. It just occurred to me that having the people I’m closest to in the same building at the same time may not be the wisest decision I’ve ever made…and if there is something that I should be worried about related to the wedding- that might be it.
If you were looking for pictures, check out https://www.flickr.com/photos/26104798@N06/.
Better yet, if you have this page bookmarked, edit your bookmark to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26104798@N06/.
I’ll look forward to seeing you and catching up face-to-face…eventually.
I’ve decided to list the greatlakesrailfan.com domain for sale. GoDaddy claims the domain is worth more than the annual renewal cost, and the WordPress portion of the site will only be up through the end of May, but the domain itself is still mine for some time to come. What point is there to owning an otherwise idle domain name? So…if you want to own www.GreatLakesRailfan.com, your time is now.