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Exhibition of Amtrak History, Silver Rails Event Center Ribbon Cutting and Evening Gala

La Plata, Missouri, Rail Events on February 23, 2008

Report and Photographs by Carl Morrison.  Comments welcome at

Table of Contents


Click any numbered item below to read that specific web page, or click "Next Page" at the bottom of each page to go through the pages in order.

1.  Introduction - Missouri resident, Mark Twain's Perspective on Rail Travel Compared to Stage Coach Travel. (Below)

2.  Background -  Why go to LaPlata, MO, in  Winter?

3.  Getting There - Riding the Southwest Chief from Fullerton, California, to LaPlata, Missouri,  February 19 - 21, 2008

4.  Ribbon Cutting of the "Exhibition of Amtrak History" 

5.  Ribbon Cutting of the "Silver Rails Event Center" 

6.  "Silver Rails Event Center" Evening Gala!

7.   Things to do in LaPlata, MO, in Winter.

8.    Heading Home, LaPlata, MO, to Fullerton, CA, on the Southwest Chief, February 24 - 26, 2008.

9.   Links:  All February 23, 2008, Stories about the Silver Rails Resort. Author
Carl Morrison
Photo Credit:  Bob Williams

Mark Twain
Photo Credit:


As I prepare for my third Southwest Chief round trip between California and Missouri, I am reminded of the words of Mark Twain:

.... It is hard to make railroading pleasant, in any country.  It is too tedious.  Stage-coaching is infinitely more delightful.  Once I crossed the plains and deserts and mountains of the West, in a stage-coach, from the Missouri line to California, and since then all my pleasure trips must be measured to that rare holiday frolic.  Two thousand miles of ceaseless rush and rattle and clatter, by night and by day, and never a weary moment, never a lapse of interest!  The first seven hundred miles a level continent, its grassy carpet greener and softer and smoother than any sea, and figured with designs fitted to its magnitude--the shadows of the clouds.  Here were no scenes but summer scenes, and no disposition inspired by them but to lie at full length on the mail sacks, in the grateful breeze, and dreamily smoke the pipe of peace--what other, where all was repose and contentment?  In cool mornings, before the sun was fairly up, it was worth a lifetime of city toiling and moiling, to perch in the foretop with the driver and see the six mustangs scamper under the sharp snapping of a whip that never touched them; to scan the flue distances of a world that knew no lords but us; to cleave the wind with uncovered head and feel the sluggish pulses rousing to the spirit of a speed that pretended to resistless rush of a typhoon!  Then thirteen hundred miles of desert solitudes; of limitless panoramas of bewildering perspective; of mimic cities, of pinnacled cathedrals, of massive fortresses, counterfeited in the eternal rocks and splendid with the crimson and gold of the setting sun; of dizzy altitudes among fog-wreathed peaks and never-melting snows, where thunders and lightnings and tempests warred magnificently at our feet and the storm-clouds above swung their shredded banners in our very faces!

--Writing The Rails, From The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain (1835-1910), P. 41.

I'll bet that Ol' Mark Twain wouldn't believe that you can still see today, the splendid scenery he saw nearly 200 years ago, and from a train!

Isn't he like you and me, comparing the newer form of transportation of the time, the train, with the older, trusted, form of transportation, the stage coach, and writing how he likes the older form better?  Don't you and I prefer the older form of transportation, the train, to the newer transportation, the airplane?

And don't we admit that we prefer to make the 2,000 mile trip from Missouri to California on a train, referring to the trip on the Southwest Chief as, Two thousand miles of ceaseless rush and rattle and clatter, by night and by day, and never a weary moment, never a lapse of interest! 

Those are the thoughts I have as I start this journey on the Southwest Chief from Fullerton, California, to LaPlata, Missouri.

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