I spent more than 30 years in Carlsbad, California and volunteered for many organizations over the years. I met a lot of people and made many friends during that time. In fact in preparation for a business project many years ago I made a list of everyone I knew in San Diego County, who knew me well enough to take my phone call or would likely open an envelope to read a letter from me. I came up with more than 800 people.

Shortly after moving to Ramona to start the vineyard, I was riding The Coaster train to San Diego on business and noticed they were replacing the railroad ties along the line. We wanted ties for parking medians, landscape projects, steps, etc. so I called my friend Phyllis at NCTD. I had done some volunteer work for the Transit Alliance for a Better North County. I asked her what they did with the old railroad ties, and she gave me the name and phone number of Dan, the contractor.

I called Dan, told him about our vineyard plans and why we were looking for a good price on railroad ties. He told us to go to his yard in Escondido where the ties were color tagged by grade. Dan told us to choose which grade we wanted, promising to give us his best price, the one he would give to Lowes or Home Depot. He especially liked to help out hard working volunteers apparently.

We decided for our purposes it didn’t really matter how chewed up they were, so we chose the ones with orange tags. Norm had been pricing ties at Lowes and Home Depot, and they were running between $16 to $22 each. When I called Dan he said we could have those for $5 each! We bought 100.

I tell you this, because in future posts I am going to tell you about our “destination resorts” and include pictures, so you can see how we’ve used the railroad ties.