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A Taste of Silver Rails, La Plata, Missouri

A Taste of Silver Rails Country

April 26 - May 3, 2016

A fund raiser for:  APRHF: American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation

The American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation (APRHF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the role that passenger rail played in the building of this nation. Your tax-deductible contribution as a member will bring us closer to our goal of constructing and maintaining the National Passenger Rail Center and support our ongoing work to preserve passenger train history.

Artwork from

Photography and Report by Carl Morrison
Like my new Silver Rails Vineyard hat?

La Plata, Missouri, Silver Rails Country's center, was the location of the The Taste of Silver Rails.   Held on April 30, 2016, I decided to take the Amtrak Southwest Chief from Fullerton, California ahead of time, April 26, to La Plata.  This would be about a 2,000 mile trip on my favorite form of transportation - a passenger train.  Arriving on Thursday morning in La Plata for the Saturday afternoon event, this would give me time to explore Silver Rails Country and visit some of my long-time friends in the area.  I would stay at the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata.

Official Announcement from the Kirksville Chamber of Commerce:

A Taste of Silver Rails

April 30 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Come join us for the inaugural "A Taste of Silver Rails" event celebrating the tastes and crafts of Silver Rails Country. On hand will be local wineries tasting their finest wines, local eateries offering up samples and arts/crafts produced locally showcasing what the region has to offer. Admission is $2 for entrance or $5 which includes wine tasting and a commemorative wine glass. Held at the beautiful Silver Rails Event Center in La Plata, this showcase promises to be a hit.

Silver Rails Event Center
204 East Moore
La Plata, 63549 United States
Phone:  660-287-1714

Flyer used locally:


Table of Contents:

•   A Taste of Silver Rails Country

•   Amtrak Southwest Chief, Fullerton, California to La Plata, Missouri 1,941 miles

•   Amtrak Southwest Chief, La Plata, Missouri, back to Fullerton, California

•    Tips and Tricks for Amtrak Travel

Photos from "Taste of Silver Rails Country":

Slide show of these and more photos of the event at:

(Vendors, Sponsors, Attendees:  If you would like a high resolution copy of any of these photos or ones from the slide show, capture the image number by clicking the photo below and copying the last of the image number (such as: _MG_5992.JPG), or reading it in the slide show, and send it to with your request.)


















Cooper's Oak Winery





SilverRRails Vineyards



Jam Trak
Dallas Byler,










Folks Enjoying "A Taste of Silver Rails Country 2016"





















Sam says, "Time to call it a day and take my sidekick Alvin home and Beauty back to the barn."

Thanks to the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation
) Members/Volunteers



Photo Credit:  "AJ" James


Thank you to the following sponsors and supporters:

KC WINEWORKS and Silver Leaf Vineyard


Jam Trak


American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation

My new eBook:

Photographing TRAINS Vol. 1 Amtrak's Southwest Chief

Click this link to learn more:  Photographing TRAINS

Click this link to download a free sample or purchase the eBook:

Depot Inn & Suites, La Plata, Missouri


Click here for more information and reservations:

Go to for a demonstration of all 15 features of their jackets.
I tested the Red Windbreaker and the Black Bomber Jacket

Pre-Order at:

Dallas Byler

Amtrak Southwest Chief, Fullerton, California to La Plata, Missouri 1,941 miles


First Station after we boarded in Fullerton was Riverside, California


San Bernardino station is being remodeled.



Car Attendant, Danny with Bob, Joyce and AJ heading for "A Taste of Silver Rails" in La Plata, Missouri.

This trip was first time that each car attendant had a hotspot.  There was a temporary-looking sign up in each car with the Network name and 12-character Password.  I found the service to be intermittent and used my iPhone as a hotspot.  There are spots on the route of the Southwest Chief, especially in the desert and deep canyons, where there is no service.

Danny handed us 6 who boarded the same dinner reservation time, 8 p.m.  The first night was an "Express Menu" with an entreé choice of Salisbury Steak, Mac and Cheese, or chicken breast,which I chose.  I chose not to sit with my friends, so I could meet new people along the way and ask about their destinations.  This first supper, I sat with Linda who was returning to Topeka after visiting Modesto.  Kitty lived in Prescott Valley and was going to Crescent City, Illinois.


Barstow, California Amtrak Station

I learned from a Conductor that there would be crew changes, usually accompanied with permissible time off the train:  Kingman, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; La Junta, Colorado; Dodge City, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Chicago.

Breakfast was with David Luz, who boarded in Lamy and was headed for Galesburg, Illinois, to visit his 92 year-old uncle who was a train buff.


About an hour early into Albuquerque allowed for a walk downtown.


Many murals between the Amtrak station and downtown.


Route 66 went through Albuquerque.



Along Route 66 as it went downtown.





Appropriate vehicle to be parked on Route 66, I thought.




Some folks just have a way with words. 

Alliteration - (al·lit·er·a·tion) the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.



I put some of the Rack Cards for my eBook (on the far right in the photo) and they were still there when I check when we went back through here a few days later.  I have an ad for my eBook under "SPONSORS" above.


In Albuquerque, a fueling truck comes out to the platform to refuel the locomotives.  There is plenty of time to walk to the front of the train to get a full-length shot of the Southwest Chief with locomotive, or even go south of the station a couple of blocks and up on that far bridge for an "above" shot of the Southwest Chief in from of the Albuquerque Station.



The Rail Runner symbol on the sign refers to the local commuter train.


Rail Runner goes between Santa Fe and Belen through Downtown ABQ.




New baggage cars are now in use on the Southwest Chief.


The stop in Albuquerque will always give you time for a friend to take a photo of you or take a photo of your car attendant.


Cottonwood trees between Albuquerque and Lamy were just leafing out on this late May day.


The Church was the center of New England towns as well as Indian Reservations.



"The Most Interesting Spot in the Old West" does not look open.


Interesting rock formations adjacent to the track south of Lamy, New Mexico.


Church Work Day looks pretty much the same even in the Old West.


Graffiti over artwork on a vintage baggage car in Lamy.


Looks like Santa Fe Southern Railway had some money for a paint job on No. 07.


I had not noticed this nice-looking Railroad Museum before in Lamy, New Mexico.


Lamy with Observation reflecting skylights when I was in the Sightseer/Lounge Car.


I like photographing windmills, which are aplenty along the route of the Southwest Chief. 
This property also has some solar panels.


This is the reason for windmills:  to pump water from a well into a tank for cattle.


The stereotypical Indian pickup "of many colors".


I would think this is not a residential tepee, except that it does have it's own outhouse.


I-25 parallels the railroad north of Lamy with a Santa Fe turnoff nearby.


There was much damage along this creek from earlier heavy rains, but his Civil War Era bridge still stands.


There was a young man from Korea, who had recently gotten an architectural job in Chicago traveling the country by rail, so I pointed out this house that looks to me like a lizard.


"S" curve allows a chance for photographing the front or back of the train.


For Lunch, I was again seated with David Luz.  He pointed out Starvation Peak where troops or Indians were starved out and defeated.


Again on this trip there were a couple of herds of elk along the western side in a meadow north of Raton Tunnel.


Wooton Ranch and Rocky Mountains with snow in the distance.


Our train about to pass the Dick Wooton Ranch sign.


Guess the repainter had no ladder.


On the west side of LaJunta, Colorado is a nicely refurbished Santa Fe No. 1024


Mural on a building on the west side of La Junta, Colorado


I like this Elks sign within sight of the train in La Junta showing mileage from coast to coast for both Amtrak and Highway 50.  I drove Highway 50 from Coast-to-Coast in 2004 in a 1956 Chevy and came right past this station.




I like the way towns along railroads re purpose RR equipment to fit their local needs.


As the sun was setting, we had some time in La Junta.  Dinner and bedtime followed.

The following morning I had breakfast during and after our stop in Kansas City.  This morning my seat mates in the Diner were a Priest from El Salvador and his nephew who was going with him on the train to Boston.  The nephew lives in Riverside.  All the creeks, rivers, ponds, and puddles were bank full as we went east of Kansas City, over the Missouri River, toward our destination of La Plata, Missouri.  It was so green from abundant rain that my friend AJ remarked that it looked just like Eugene, Oregon.


The next morning, we arrived in La Plata, Missouri, and checked in at the Depot Inn and Suites.

You can contact Enterprise Rental Car in Kirksville ahead of time at 660-665-3396 Ext. 4 and have them drop a car at the Depot Inn and Suites complete with keys and contract.  The desk at the Inn will hand you the keys, have you sign the contract, and you can leave everything here when you return the car.  The white car above was my rental car at $164 for 4 days.  They are not open on weekends, so I had to rent it Thurs. through Monday even though I left Sunday night.  If you are not staying at the Depot Inn and Suites, Enterprise can leave the car at the La Plata Amtrak Depot.


Room "L" at the Inn with 2 queen beds and a desk with chair for writing my reports and processing my photos as well as a nice leather recliner.  They also have 4 suites, but I chose this room since my friend joined me from Huntley, Illinois for part of the weekend.

Jan at the Depot Inn seemed to be ever present.  She was the regular 11 pm to 8 am night clerk, but I also saw her throughout the weekend doing housekeeping duties.  She is a former Athletic Director at a college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.



My first adventure from La Plata, Missouri, was to drive west to Marceline, the boyhood home of Walt Disney.


Walt loved trains and he is shown here with brother Roy at the restored locomotive No. 2546 in the park in Marceline.


This diorama had a video of the opening day of Disneyland in 1955 running on the TV.


They had a blanket of the historic places in town like my home town has, Hayden, Indiana.



He received 25 cents for drawing Rupert, his first art to sell.




Upstairs was a large map of the original Disneyland.  As I look at it, I wonder about the circus tent on the left side.


Close up of the Main Entrance and Main Street.


Note the Orange Mickey flags on the train station in the map above.  The museum has one and said Walt showed that he was on the property when the orange Mickey was flying.


Another flag from Disneyland, given by Walt to Marceline.





Disneyland Main Street still looks exactly like this.




They had an Autopia in Marceline for a while.


They have a very nice 25-minute tour on the hour and the half-hour of a room with some special items.


Original clock from when this was a Santa Fe Station.


Original Amtrak Marceline sign on a fence outside the former station with active BNSF tracks.


A passing BNSF freight from an upstairs window in the museum.


You don't have to wait long to get a photo of a passing freight.


Tenderloin sandwich for lunch at Ma Vic's and a piece of coconut cream pie with meringue made by Ma's daughter for dessert.








A permanent book in the barn had some interesting information.





"Walt's Barn" is in Griffith Park, Travel Town, Los Angeles, California.

My college friend, Bob Williams, arrived Thursday night and we got him settled in Room "L" at the Depot Inn & Suites where I had reserved a room with two queen beds.  Bob is not only a good friend, he is an excellent wildlife photographer.  I had asked Chris West of West Winery where there would be some birds to photograph and he suggested Swan Lake NWR.


The next day my friend, Bob Williams, wildlife photographer, arrived from Huntley, Illinois, and we went to Swan Lake to take photographs.



Bob pointed out some geese with the many Canada geese.






The visitor's center had a 1/2 mile trail and the attendant told us where to see a bald eagle.







This one had a small insect in it's beak.








Amy Cox, La Plata Station Caretaker, allowed us to watch freight and Amtrak from the "Metropolitan Lounge."


This former telegraph office allows the closest, safe observation of trains that I know of.

I learned a couple of new terms from Amy as we watched freight trains pass - TOF Trailer on Flatcar, and COF Container on Flatcar.


A little damp as No. 4 arrived from the west, but wet rails make a golden foreground.


How many station agents do you know that hold an umbrella for passengers?  They do in La Plata.


On time!

At this point in our adventure, the Taste of Silver Rails Country took place.


The day of the "Taste of Silver Rails Country" in La Plata, Missouri, it was cloudy, but not raining when No. 4 arrived.

Around La Plata, Missouri, the Station and Depot Inn & Suites


Bob Cox was the Caretaker of the station this day.  He checked the tickets of all the departing passengers and safely escorted them to the coaches.  Since the train was early, and cannot leave until the scheduled time, there were some minutes when Bob and the Conductor chatted to pass the time.



Since I had not seen Bob for 3 years, we chatted for awhile in his office, then he showed me the outstanding model railroad layout in the former freight room.


This is the first two-level layout I had ever seen.




Some big trains passed the station while I was in the "Metropolitan Lounge" with Bob.



Before I left on the night train westbound for California, I wanted to see the EV charging stations for Tesla and others at the Depot Inn and Suites.  EV owners who stay at the Depot Inn and Suites can charge their cars for free.



The Silver Rails Vineyards are right out the back door of the Depot Inn and Suites.  The wooden train is part of the Inn's play equipment.



The Exhibition of Amtrak History is housed in two Amtrak Express Cars behind the Inn.  Just ask for the key from the Inn's desk and enjoy.


I visited Tom Anderson at the Silver Rails Vineyard to see what he was growing.



Some new grafted vines soon to be planted.




A robin has established a nest under an overhand of Tom's house using some grape vine pruning materials.

Amtrak Southwest Chief, La Plata, Missouri, back to Fullerton, California

Slide show of these and more photos of the Southwest Chief trip at:

The Depot Inn and Suites was a good place to work on my report with good Internet for fact checking.  To save time, I walked to Casey's a few steps south, and purchased a turkey wrap and some chips to have for lunch.  Our group of six reassembled at the La Plata Amtrak Station about 7:30 pm to catch the 7:51 Southwest Chief No. 3 for California. 



We enjoyed a few minutes in the "La Plata Metropolitan Lounge" chatting and viewing the vintage photographs that Bob and Amy Cox, Caretakers, have put up around the station.


Steve studying the photographs and model Amtrak layout.




Many small towns in America have made knitted blankets with historic structures on them as has La Plata.

Upon boarding, Candice, our 311 car attendant said "Last Call" had been announced, so we went directly to the Diner.
Ignacio was our Dining Car Server.  I again selected the shrimp/crab cakes, baked potato and salad.  Since it was after dark, I did not take any photos until the next crew change in Kansas City about 10:11 pm.


I had forgotten to take my camera so my platform walk includes only photos from my iPhone 6+.


On the adjacent track was the single-level train, River Runner or Mule, to St. Louis.


The pedestrian bridge was a former railroad bridge.


Since the Southwest Chief and the St. Louis train were headed in opposite directions, I walked to the west end of the platform for this photo of our Locomotive.


From the west end of the Kansas City platform, I could look back at the KC Union Station and the vintage cars housed there.

Another crew change was made during the night at Dodge City, Kansas, and another about 8:15 a.m. at La Junta. 

At Breakfast in the Diner this morning, I sat with a couple going from Kansas City to Lamy.  He had been a computer programmer, but now worked restoring steam engines.  His wife had been a physical therapist in the public schools working with cerebral palsy afflicted children.

With about 50 minutes before the train would leave La Junta, I took about a 6-block walk in the brisk 50 degree morning, across Hwy. 50 into town.  Stores were not open this early, but the morning light was good for photography.



This must have been an opera house since all the nearby businesses had "Opera House" in their name.


You only have to look down as you walk this town to see evidence of railroad history here.


Even the Otero County logo has a train on it.


Some interesting yard art occupies a vacant lot.


This is the closest I've ever gotten to this Elks Club mileage sign visible from the tracks.  As I mentioned earlier in this report, a car buddy and I drove all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 in my 1956 Chevy and his 1957 Chevy in 2004.


The walk provided for a closeup of this Santa Fe caboose and luggage cart that is also visible from the tracks.


West of La Junta is this nicely restored No. 1024 Santa Fe steam locomotive.  It is far from the track, so a crisp photo of it is hard to capture.


Lots of high desert, but as we approached Trinidad, Colorado, from the east, a snow covered mountain range came into view.




About a foot and a half of snow had recently fallen and was still evident as we entered Trinidad.


Downtown Trinidad, Colorado, from my upper-level Roomette as we crossed the main street.


I-25 literally passes over the Trinidad, Colorado, station stop.


Snow and ice as we climbed the grade to the Raton Tunnel and State Line with New Mexico.


Soon we reached the highest point on the Santa Fe Trail.  Nowadays I-25, a local highway, a river, and the Santa Fe Railroad all compete for space up this former cattle trail.


Very slow going up this steep grade to Raton Summit, but the sharp curves allow you to photograph the front or rear of the train out your window.


Through the tunnel, across the state line, and down into Raton, New Mexico.  Here each summer 40,000 Boy Scouts detrain and take buses to Filmont Boy Scout Ranch.  Other passengers detrain here and take an Ambus to Denver, 4 1/2 hours north of Raton.  At Denver, passengers can board the California Zephyr for returning to California, or continuing on east to Chicago.

Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America's largest national High Adventure Base. It covers 137,000 acres - about 214 square miles - of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) range of the Rocky Mountains in northern New Mexico.

Philmont Scout Ranch operates 34 staffed camps and 55 trail camps. Philmont has high mountains with rough terrain and elevations that range from 6,500 to 12,441 feet.

Philmont Scout Ranch provides an unforgettable adventure in backpacking, with land along hundreds of miles of rugged, rocky trails. Philmont Scout Ranch programs feature the best of the Old West - horseback riding, burro packing, gold panning, chuck wagon dinners and interpretive history - with exciting challenges for today, such as rock climbing, burro racing, mountain biking and .30-06 rifle shooting. It's an unbeatable recipe for fast-moving fun and the outdoors.



I spoke with a Greyhound bus driver here in Raton and he mentioned that there would be a new food court currently being build on some vacant land between the tracks and the old western store fronts.


"Cottonwoods and Cattle Crossings" west of Raton, New Mexico.  Cattle will not walk across a cattle crossing like that, sometimes made with railroad rails.  Perhaps they fear of getting their hoves caught in the spaces between the rails.  The sign indicates to drivers that beyond this cattle crossing, there are no fences and cattle could be on the roadway.


Further down the one-lane open range road was another cattle crossing since there are fences beyond this point.  Also, the road goes from one to two lanes indicated with a yellow line down the middle.  Note the level tracks on the right.  I've photographed this area often on  many earlier trips.


River valleys provide a change of scenery in this high-elevation New Mexico landscape.


This trip, there was a Southwest Chief Route Guide in each bedroom.  It said these ruins were "Clifton House Ruins" Built by rancher Tom Stockton in 1867, it was also known as Red River Station and Red River Hotel.  This stagecoach stop was famous for its food and lodging and was a highlight for travelers on the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail.


This Circle T Ranch barn interests me since it has no sides for cold protection for cattle.  Perhaps hay is stored in the loft and dropped down into feeders for winter range cattle.  I like when ranches put their brand on their out buildings.  I found on the Internet that the Circle T Ranch of Las Vegas, New Mexico raises bucking bulls for the Professional Bull Riders.


I am fascinated by windmills on cattle ranches out west since the farm I was raised on did not need them since our range cattle had a pond to drink from or were close enough to the barn that had electricity where an electric well pump would take care of the watering needs.

I talked with an Oklahoma rancher on the train and he said some water tanks, into which the windmill pumps well water, have a float and when the tank is full, it will apply a brake on the windmill so it stops pumping. 


West of Lamy, New Mexico, there is an "S" curve where you can again photograph the lead engine.


The tracks are very close through Apache Canyon.


Back in Albuquerque, with a crew change and over 1 hour layover, I decided to walk a few blocks north of the station rather than down old Route 66.  After skirting the bus station, I found this new area to be much friendlier with a giant Hyatt Hotel, Starbucks, and other shops at street level and below.

I found a giant mural of a railroad worker looking back at the Albuquerque Station.



I found these photogenic bronze statues at the base of the Hyatt, across the street from the Convention Center.





Back at the station, I was glad to see a Rail Runner commuter train in the station and others parked on the west side of the tracks as we left about 4:45 pm.


Rail Runner and its schedule kiosk in Albuquerque.


Idle engines at Albuquerque station.


Equipment to load Trailers on Flatcars (TOF) at Albuquerque.


Cars being loaded (or unloaded) from auto haulers in Albuquerque.



New Mexico state flowers in the left lane of I-40 heading west.


We move through "20% Chance of Rain" heading to Gallup.  View from my Superliner Diner window somewhere near Gallup, New Mexico.

At dinner this last evening on the Southwest Chief with Helen and Jose from Lake Elsinore, I had not yet had a steak on this trip, so I ordered that with a baked potato.  The menu has wine for $16 a half-bottle.  That would make a whole bottle $32 which is Premium Wine price.  I'm thinking that would not be premium wine on an Amtrak train.


Another excellent trip on the Southwest Chief roundtrip Fullerton, California to La Plata, Missouri.

Tips and Trick for Amtrak Travel

1.  Roomette Restroom use on a bi-level Amtrak Long Distance Train such as the Southwest Chief.

Roomettes have two seats facing each other and a large window during the day.  These seats fold down and become a lower bed with a pull-down bed from above.  There is no toilet within the room.  However, there is one restroom on the upper level near the center of the car near the stairs, and three bathrooms and a shower with dressing room on the lower level. 

Lower level, one-half of a bi-level Amtrak Sleeper Car. 

In the photo above, taken on a Southwest Chief, you will see two bathrooms on the left, a shower/dressing room and one bathroom on the right.  A full-car-width Assessable Room is at the end of the hall with a toilet, lock down for a wheel chair, and lower and upper beds like a roomette as well as a couch.  There is a sliding door between the Accessible Room and the public bathrooms.

Left of the door to the public bathrooms is a very small light that will be lighted if the occupant has successfully locked the door while in use.  Older cars had this small light in the ceiling above the door.

The first restroom on the left is a favorite of mine because it has a fold-down baby changing table over the toilet.  This is excellent for holding your toiletries while using the sink and mirror.  However the toilet cannot be used while the changing table is down.

The cleanest (least used) restroom is the one on the far right, because people naturally start down this hall looking for an open restroom and seldom go as far as the last one.  This is the restroom I use when I need to use the toilet, but do not need counter space at the time.

In any restroom when you are using the small sink, I will invariably have water splashed on the floor in front of the sink.  Plan ahead and put down paper towels or one of the small towels from your room.  Leave the soiled towel in the large bag for towels in the shower changing room and pick up another one for later use from the top shelf of the luggage storage area across from the stairs.

2.  Roomettes have only one outlet in the room.

Best/IMG_4143.JPG    Best/IMG_4110.JPG

The Roomette has one grounded outlet, on the window side and above the shoulder of one of the seats.  Two set up my "command center" I used to take a power bar.  Considering that I need to plug in my laptop, iPhone, iWatch, camera battery charger and iPad, I tend to fill up a power bar. 

Since only my laptop and camera battery charger need A/C outlets and the other items are USB plugs, rather than have converters on all the USB cords to plug into a traditional power bar, I have found a nice item with two A/C outlets and 5 USB outlets (Iselector 40W 5-Port Universal USB Charger 2-Outlet Power Strip Surge with 5 Feet Cord).  It has an on/off switch on the side and an interior blue light so can tell when it is on.  The 5-foot cord may sound excessive, but if you are alone and using the upper bunk as a desk, there is plenty of cord, then using it at home on a desk, there is plenty of cord to an outlet behind a desk.
The other switches in the console in your Roomette are for a reading light, and temperature.  One car attendant said it might change the temperature 1 degree.   A better way to control temperature in your room is to adjust the large vent above the door, or with the curtains closed during the night, open the door allowing air from your room's floor to exchange with the air in the hallway.

3.  Call Button and Ceiling Light

Best/IMG_4144.JPG   Best/IMG_4109.JPG
The controls on the opposite console are:  Top reading light; Center music control (and there is no music); Yellow button to pull to call the Car Attendant to your room, usually to set up or take down your bed; and white 323-way toggle switch for blue night light, bright ceiling light, or off in the middle.  The Call Button rings throughout the car so wherever the attendant might be it will be heard.  It will also be heard in your room every time someone calls. This button is also good for passengers who need meals brought to them from the diner by the Car Attendant.

4.  A table pulls out from the window side of the room, with wind flaps, to make a convenient place for your laptop.

5.  A two-hanger, full-length closet is next to the door, opposite the side with a step to get into the upper bunk.  There will be towels and a wash cloth on the top shelf of the closet.  Once things are placed in this closet, it is very easy, after a long train trip to leave things in this closet, as well as under the seats.

6.  If you have a roomette to yourself, you can pull down the top bunk and use it for storage of your suitcase, computer bag, etc. and as a place to put large packages.  Otherwise, there is a large luggage area on the first floor near the entrance door.  In the two photos above of my roomette, the top bunk is pulled down and you can see that I had room to still use the seats and table as an office.

7.  In the center of the car, on the top level, will be a pot of coffee that is available at 6 a.m. I think they make only one pot per day.  Above and left of the coffee you will see cartons of orange juice and clear cups.  (Apple and cranberry juice and ice are no longer available.)  The car attendant's location is in Room 1.

8.  Tipping suggestions for the Car Attendant.  I've concluded that $10 a day per person is what I tip for helping with my luggage and opening and closing my bed.  If meals are brought to you in your room I suggest more.  For dining car waiters and waitresses, perhaps $3 per meal per person, even though meals are included with room accommodations, you can still see the prices in the menu to make the calculations on the tip.  Wine and beer are available, but not included in the accommodation package.

9.  Ticket purchases. 
    Many people ask me, "How much does it cost to go on the train?"  This trip, Fullerton, California round trip to La Plata, Missouri, 1941 miles one way, costs:
Notes:  The fare for a Senior Coach Seat was $142.80 one way, plus 1 Superliner Roomette $337.00 one way.  In this case, it cost 2.35 times the coach fare to add a Roomette, which includes all meals.  A second person could join you in the Roomette for another $142.80 one way.  Or, for 4,000 miles of rail travel round trip it would cost one person 24 cents a mile for bed and food.

10.  Rather than keeping a notebook to record location, temperature, time, just take a photo of your iWatch if you have it set up to keep track of these things.  I took a photo of an interesting set of bunkers on this trip and wanted to remember to look up later what they were, so I took a photo of my iWatch to remember my location and was surprised that we were at the Continental Divide.  Also, the correct local time is visible which is different than what is on my camera and needs to be manually changed, and I never do change it.  If I were driving, there would have been a highway sign saying so, but on the train there are no information signs.


•  Table of Contents for this report

•   Silver Rails Vineyard

•  Walt Disney Hometown Museum, 120 E. Santa Fe Ave. Marceline

•  Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 16194 Swan Lake Avenue, Sumner, MO 64681 660 856 3323

   American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation (APRHF) P.O. Box 175, La Plata, MO 63549, E-mail:

  Silver Leaf Vineyard, 27342 Lariot Ave. Macon, Missouri 63552

•  Depot Inn & Suites, 1245 N Brown St La Plata, MO 63549 Phone/Fax 660-332-4669

  West Winery, 107 Vine St., Macon, Missouri

  Cooper's Oak Winery

[ Over 100 Travelogues by Carl Morrison | | PHOTOGRAPHING THE SOUTHWEST CHIEF eBook ]

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