Facebook Page

The Trip East for the NRHS Cedar Rapids 2012 Convention

by Chris Guenzler

With the NRHS Cedar Rapids 2012 Convention switching to an On-Line Ticketing System {they did still use Snail mail as well} I got all my trips, plus the busing to get to trips and events, banquet and night photo session. I would also be the writer of the stories of the trips plus I would be a bus host on all the trips. That would mean I should be able to write the trips as I go thus we get them up to you in a much more timely manner. As long as I had power on the train or grounds I could write them as we were doing them and recharge the computer batteries as needed. I got a two bed motel room at Motel 6 two short blocks away from the main convention hotel which was the Clarion Hotel & Convention Center. Kansas City Nathan would be driving up and would share the motel room during his stay in Cedar Rapids. To get there it would be the Southwest Chief Los Angeles to Chicago, a two night stay with Dave and Cathy Smetko then the westbound convention train from Chicago to Cedar Rapids. After the convention the eastbound train back to Chicago, one more night with the Smetko's then the Southwest Chief first to La Plata for a three night stay with recharging of my batteries with a little photography thrown in and then home aboard the Southwest Chief. I got Nathan and I baseball tickets for the Saturday night game but alas the Women Roller Derby Team was out of town the whole time we were in Cedar Rapids. I got my rental car for La Plata and then finished up the school year at Santa Ana Valley High School one day early to start this great trip. I worked that day and finished up before driving home, doing chores, worked on the Internet then finished packing. My mother drove me to the Santa Ana Amtrak Station and I took the elevators over to Track 1. Metrolink 609 came into Santa Ana and sat with some problem for 12 minutes as I called Nathan to go over a few more things and then talked with Dave Smetko who filled me in on Saturday's trip plans.

My luggage for this trip.

Metrolink 686 came into Santa Ana.

Surfliner 583 6/13/2012

Pacific Surfliner 583 came into Santa Ana and I boarded the lower level of the Pacific Business Class Car. I caught up the story as the train ran to Anaheim and Fullerton. The train then made the final sprint to LAUPT being delayed by following that Metrolink 609 train. We arrived into LAUPT on Track 10 and I walked down, under and over to Track 11 to board the Southwest Chief.

Southwest Chief 4 6/13/2012

The Southwest Chief had a consist of Engines 85 and 125, Baggage 1160, Transition 39018, Sleepers 32117 Wisconsin and 32086 Louisiana, Dinner 38066, Lounge 33003 and Coaches 34031, 34100 and 31006. I was in Room 8 in the Louisiana with Carl as my Sleeping Car Attendant. The train left LAUPT right on time and I got my dinner reservation tonight for 7:30 PM. I put on my CD of Rush "All the World's a Stage". We returned to the new bridge in Pico Rivera as the shoo fly is all but gone as well as we had a slow order at La Mirada for tie replacement and a delay because of waiting for Metrolink 707 to clear off of Track 1 at Buena Park. I retraced my route to Fullerton where I took a fresh air break. We ran out to Atwood then followed Metrolink 810 out to Riverside on Track 2. But the DS crossed us back over at Esperanza as we headed around the Horseshoe Bend and out through Santa Ana Canyon we raced out into the Inland Empire passing through Corona. I went to the Dining Car for my dinner seated with a guy returning to Lamy, a woman going to Garden City and a lady going to Brooklyn, New York. I enjoyed a Flat Iron Steak along with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The meal lasted beyond San Bernardino and I was back in my room listening to my CD of Jethro Tull "Thick as a Brick 2" as the train climbed up and over Cajon Pass. After a stop in Victorville, I called it a night and made up my room.

6/14/2012 I woke up just east of Flagstaff just before sunrise and prepared myself for the day. I read USA Today in the lounge car then returned to my room and enjoyed the high desert to Winslow. After leaving there I went to the Dining Car being seated with a couple returning from Williams to Chicago and a lady going to family reunion so she is getting off at Albuquerque then renting a car to get to Carlsbad Caverns. I had the French Toast and sausage patties. After that, I put on my DVD of Wayne Gretzky called the "Ultimate Gretzky" before we entered New Mexico heading to Gallup. The train made the stop at Gallup.

Later the red mesas of New Mexico.

Much later, the last mesa before dropping down to the Rio Grande River.

The train crossed the Rio Grande River before we arrived into Albuquerque early this late morning. Randy Jackson came down to visit me while I was here during our station stop. It was in the low 90's and soon I was back on the train listening to my CD of John Cougar "Scarecrow" and the train left Albuquerque on time with LiIlian as our new Sleeping Car Attendant. At 12:30 PM I was called into the Dining Car and was seated with a couple going to Branson. I had the Beef Angus Burger which was excellent and vanilla ice cream. Slow orders were at the Devil's Spine and MP 850 with a 10 MPH speed restriction that the state of New Mexico has while they are fixing the track. I put on my DVD of the Keith Emerson Band "Moscow" which took me to Lamy and beyond.

A Santa Fe Southern freight train at Lamy? More slow running above Apache Canyon. In the siding at Glorieta was the westbound Southwest Chief as we started down the grade to the Pecos River.

Starvation Peak across the Pecos River Valley. We crossed the Pecos River.

The Southwest Chief starts up the "S" curves at Chapple. The Emerson DVD finished near Starvation Peak so I then put on my Poison DVD "Poison Live Raw & Uncut" that took me to Las Vegas and beyond.

Lone tree hill with the afternoon clouds off to the west as we closed in on Wagon Mound.

Elk and baby elks run away from our train just before Wagon Mound. The train is heading for a storm just as the Poison DVD finished so I switched to my new Railpace Magazine for the rest of trip to Raton, our next fresh air break. On the move again we got stopped by a detector just short of the east switch of the siding on the south side of Raton Pass. Back on the move again, we went through the Raton Tunnel and exited into Colorado before we descended the north slope of Raton Pass.

The Southwest Chief descending the Wooten Curve on Raton Pass. At 6:15 PM I was called into the Dining Car and was seated with two gentlemen going to Galesburg. I had the Flat Iron Steak and vanilla ice cream and finished my dinner up by Trinidad. I watched my Led Zeppelin DVD that took me over to La Junta.

The sunset tonight before La Junta created interesting sky colors. Our next fresh air break of the trip was at La Junta after we passed through many more miles of slow orders. I made up my room and called it a night.

6/15/2012 I was up before Holiday at 7:00 AM and went straight to the Dining Car. I was seated with a Mother and son going to Chicago from Albuquerque with the son only eating meat. I enjoyed French Toast and sausage patties. While the train was being fueled at the BNSF Argentine Yard, I went downstairs and shaved.

CP Rail power at the BNSF Argentine Yard. We arrived into Kansas City at 7:50 AM and after some fresh air we left KC at 8:11 AM {7:43 AM}. I would start my morning across Missouri with my Lady Gaga "Monster Ball Tour Live" DVD.

The Missouri River crossed on the bridge where I passed my millionth rail mile on April 27, 2007. The BNSF and UP were sure running heavy with traffic. The Lady Gaga took to the Elmer and I relaxed the rest of the way to La Plata.

The La Plata Station where I didn't get off and it felt weird.

Bob Cox and the boarding coach passengers. We left La Plata at 10:27 AM.

The Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. The train headed east onward to Fort Madison. I have an 11:00 AM lunch reservation. I sat with a couple from Kirksville going to Chicago and enjoyed the Angus Beef Burger. I finished up just before Fort Madison and took my last fresh air break of this trip.

Two stations in Fort Madison, the former Santa Fe Station which Amtrak will move back into and the CB&Q Station.

The train crossed the Mississippi river into Illinois and I put on my Aerosmith Live DVD. The train ran to Galesburg then onto Princeton where we sat just outside the station for ten minutes and Mendota as we were trying to get into Chicago on time being 52 minutes late still at this point. The Aerosmith DVD lasted almost to Mendota before I switched to my CD of Metallica "Master of Puppets" to get me further towards Chicago. After that I put on my CD Selena Gomez and the Scene "When the Sun goes down". The train stopped at Naperville before it made the final sprint to Chicago Union station arriving there at 3:40 PM {3:15 PM} ending another great trip on the Southwest Chief over the whole route.

Chicago 6/15/2012

I got off the Southwest Chief and went straight to the Metra Ticket Office to get my tickets I needed to get me to and from Hanover Park for my trips while I am back here. I then walked out to a waiting Metra Train to take me there.

Metra 2227 6/15/2012

I walked out to the waiting train and got lucky as it runs on an express schedule. After we leave Chicago Union Station we stop at Western Ave then run straight out to Franklin Park, Mannaheim, Bensenville, Wood Dale, Itasca, Medinah, Roselle, Schaumburg and then to my stop at Hanover Park. The train ran a quick run and I was stepping off there in no time. Dave Smetko picked me up and took me to his house for the next two nights and a very nice day trip we will make tomorrow. At 6:00 PM we drove west to Barrington to have dinner at the restaurant called Chessie in the old Chicago Northwestern Station that had been moved.

The old wooden caboose with Chessie System lettering only on the street side.

A Metra Train came through Barrington on the Metra Northwest Line.

The old Chicago Northwestern Barrington Station.

Part of the Chessie Restaurant is made up of old Lackawanna Cab Cars.

Our party at our table.

After dinner a backside of the Chessie Restaurant. We returned to the Smetko's home for the evening.