It all happened when I was down in California on vacation. I got an idea to expand the potential layout space in my garage by shifting a few things around, like a freezer, some shelving, etc. That opened up a whole new set of possibilities. Those new possibilities all got shot down one by one as I sketched them out. I also tried laying out a mainline 'by the squares' as John Armstrong suggests. While it was somewhat stimulating as an exercise, it really didn't give me any ideas I hadn't already come up with without the extra step of figuring out how many 'square squares' fit my space. Then yesterday on my lunch break I did a layout plan search on the Model Train Magazine Index using the size parameters for my layout. I was surprised at first that very few layouts showed up. Then I remembered that MR only features monster mega-layouts or beginner 4x8s (XYZ Central). Duh. So, somewhat discouraged, I stumbled out into the garage and was flipping through some old MRs when I came across the July 2006 issue featuring Bob Smaus' latest layout (sadly, now dismantled as he moves to the Seattle area...hmmm...). He had used some interesting space saving tricks to fit a nice mainline, some staging, and even a small town in half his garage. Combining some of those ideas with Don Mitchell's 'Road to Enchantment' Santa Fe plan from "Track Planning Ideas from Model Railroader" (pg 64) I hit on a combo that looks like it's gonna work! A rough sketch has been made (see below) and I'll be working on some more detailed 1"=1' sketches over the next few days to do grade checks, min and max mainline curves, siding lengths, etc. Soon as I get the scan resized and uploaded into the gallery I'll share it here.