Once Upon a Time...
...there was a Great Wizard who lived in Monterey, California. He was a hero to early model railroaders because he had a magical mixture: skill, creativity, and a sense of humor. One day he decided to build an HO model railroad he called the Gorre and Daphetid. It was a mere four by seven feet, but in time it grew, and grew, and grew until, years later, it became one of the most legendary model railroads in all the world.
The Wizard's name, of course, was John Allen, and his influence is still felt in the model railroading world long after his passing. Back while I was in college, I'd planned to fly to Montery to see the awesome Gorre and Daphetid; tragically, he died that same year. Later I'd thought about building an N Scale reproduction of his last layout, but I wisely dismissed that as impractical. However, in January of 2011, I got this crazy idea to reproduce his original four by seven foot layout in Z Scale.
One may rightfully ask, why? Well, why not? It seemed like a fun exercise, as well as a chance to experiment with a new line of Z Scale prefab track from Rokuhan. First, I did a deep dive into John Allen's original layout, because I'd found that multiple track plans had been published, none of which corresponded exactly with what he'd built.
What I learned was that he constantly revised his plans (a trait with which I can readily identify). Also, he'd never really finished the original layout; by the time it was two-thirds done, he'd already begun expanding it. After a time, I arrived at the following facsimile, which represented his actual layout, adapted for Rokuhan track:
Construction commenced on the first of February, 2011. And at the time, I'd no idea what sort of insanity would eventually ensue because of my silly little project...