You know, sometimes it takes a bit for some of us to get started talking on here. You know what, that was me to a T a few years back. Popping on here before joining just daydreaming to some of the layout progress posts by members and seeing what wonders they came up with. That is how things usually start, you see something you haven't seen before and it gets a ball rolling. Next thing you know, you pop your hands to the keyboard and you participate with something small and you really don't think that what you have to say means much to some of the other folks on here. Well, that is where you are wrong. Some many great things have come from something so small as asking a simple question. Next thing you know you are following topics to see what comes next, and even engaging in some back and forth between a few people.
What started out as what you thought was a dumb question triggered a chain reaction to other things, other things that others who were once in your shoes dared to do. You find yourself going out of the simple confines of the keyboard to pursue other such things, offering your own advice and being touched by someone who you can relate to. You get mystified by someone who is very much your junior(and then some in some occasions) who put things into perspectives you either wouldn't have thought about(or possible) or even the old hat(meaning senior). You then make good friends with some of the people you interact with and have a blast doing so.
Me I enjoy everything that this forum offers, even if it is a post from several years ago that has been commented on the last time years ago but someone decided to comment on it pushing it your way. There is so much to say from what my eyes scan on a daily basis that about 70-80% I get interested in(that is not to say anything about the 30-20% I'm not interested in, it just has no bearing for me at the moment).
Think of it though. You see people who you should consider peers(we're all railroaders, some with much more experience and knowledge than others) and you are fascinated with what they have to say. I remember messaging Rich Melvin about a few broken pages on one of the posts I was following that had sort of fallen off. I really didn't know what to say to Rich other than two of the 15 or 16 pages got hijacked and those were two of the pages that I really liked looking on(was a layout and I was getting inspired). Rich got back to me relatively quickly and the pages were fixed some time later.
Peter(Putnam Division) gave me the best advice about making foam roadbed look like real ballasted roadbed(for starters). Go to any store that has textured foam friendly paint and spray it on(look for the gravel type color). It was some time after that that I got to attend York(October 2017) and meet some extraordinary people. Getting to meet Peter, Rich, Alan, Allan, Jim, & Ed(of OGR), Dennis Brennan, Dorcie and Roger Farkash(I missed Mike Regan by mere seconds) from TW TrainWorx, Dave Olson, Ryan Kunkle, Jeb from J.T.'s Mega Steam the list goes on and on.
By far Peter's breakfast at Round the Clock really helped out quite a bit and has become something regular in my life as I get to see those who I follow with great interest as well as see others who I should be following but haven't yet(Melgar is one).
Needless to say if I keep typing away everyone is going to get bored with me and we can't have that. In short, thank you fellow railroaders in doing everything that you do, even if it is correcting me on valve gears and other stuff that I haven't a clue exactly where it is supposed to connect to or go.