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Hunting for Bochs in Albany -- Part II!

By Steve Jones

After my first success finding the U-928A kitsulator, I was compelled to search every remaining mile of the line for the elusive U-944. A number of subsequent searches of various sections of line revealed nothing, and the fact I was searching practically in people's backyards didn't help! At best I found several pieces under several poles. One spot looked promising and of course there is never good inconspicuous parking nearby when you need it!

I managed to create a spot along the road just over the curb. I left the car and ran down the hillside, across a few damp spots, and up onto the fill-in. I found a brook on the side where the poles ought to run, and several stumps stuck out of the bank. I saw nothing obvious in the bank or in the water of the brook. I continued north until the right of way headed uphill. There were several more recent stumps from a 13.8 KV line that ran along the right of way at this point. I spotted a pumpkin Lapp signal with tie wire, but unfortunately it was broken. Then in the woods off the right of way I spotted an entire pole top! I ran to the spot and checked out the 1950-ish looking pole top, complete with double arms, wood braces, and 6 bare pins with copper wire threads! COOL! It obviously wasn't Boch era, but a second or third rebuild pole. No insulator fragments were around, so after some thinking I returned to the immediate right of way. Several poles down the thorns grew in intensity, along with the mosquitoes, to the point that searching became unbearable. I think I only saw a few crumbs of classic porcelain that day, and I returned to the car quickly and sped home, destined to return to the next section the next weekend.

The next time I was daring and searched two sections the same day. The first section was in the middle of bulldozing for a new house, but the present power line limited the disruption of the r.o.w. There were numerous large chunks of Boch U-928s, U-928As and several U-944 tops along this section. Even found an old bottle and plate dump along the way which made looking for Bochs very confusing! Found a few cool bottles though for people at work! At one pole I found most of a Hartford A109 in white, which was a surprise to say the least! Along side it was most of a Boch U-928. I reached the end of that section, and returned to search in the opposite direction. I moved the car to a more strategic position. It was again cloudy (still springtime), and rain threatened at any moment. I decided to make it a quick search, and only took my scratcher with me (a classic and repeated mistake, as you'll see). I walked down the section, which looked very promising with its sunken ditches and long fill-in sections. I walked along, keeping eyeballs peeled and foot busy kicking dirt. I reached the end of this short section, which terminated at the Thruway. I was disappointed to say the least, and headed back to the car.

I felt it starting to drizzle. Almost back to the car, I suddenly spotted white rings in the leaves on the left. I ran in to find about 4/5 of a U-928 as I pulled it out of the ground. Then I found the perfect 1/2 of a CD 126 blob top in aqua. No more pieces were seen, although I suddenly spotted an aluminum tie wire w/ end loop sticking out if the ground under the shrubbery. Not expecting much, I went to pull it out and found that it wouldn't budge! I then wildly imagined an attached insulator at the other end, and I scratched the ground looking for the holdup. Soon I heard that distinctive squeal only made by smooth porcelain, and I hastened my digging. Within a minute, a broken Boch U-928 was pulled out of the dirt! As if that wasn't cool enough, when I went to dig the pieces out, another Boch U-928 was located! This one was MINT! When I pulled that one out, ANOTHER one surfaced, upside down, rings a-showing! At that point it had started to pour, and although the shrub only partially sheltered me, I didn't much care! After a 10 minute excavation, I rescued a total of 5 insulators from this seemingly innocent looking burial spot! The ground was perfectly level and offered no clue of the former ditch these things were obviously thrown into after removal.

Anyway, I now had 2 mint U-928s, a mint U-28A, a broken U-928 w/ tie wire, and a weird 2 piece OB with black top skirt, tan bottom skirt, and steel thimble protruding out the bottom. Of COURSE my bag was in the car! It seems I'm never prepared when I find my best stuff! Sometimes I'll actually go unprepared in the first place just as a good luck omen!

I somehow managed to collect all 5 insulators in my arms for the walk back. Although I didn't find a U-944, I was as happy as a pig in s---, well you know. This find caused me to re-search a number of stretches I had previously searched. Unfortunately I haven't has much luck on that line since then, but there's still a few stretches left to probe! This story will have another happy ending yet!

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Last updated Tuesday, November 14, 1995