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The Trip Home from the NRHS Convention with a stop in La Plata and my 1,350,000 Rail Mile Part 3

by Chris Guenzler

6/29/2012 I got up at the Depot Inn & Suites and following breakfast, a shower and checking out the Internet, I got into my rental car. I took US 63 to Missouri Highway F east to Missouri Highway V to Missouri Highway 6 to Hurdland. I took Route J north to Missouri Highway 11 then right on Route P to the bridge over the BNSF mainline and parked on the southeast side just as a train was coming west.

BNSF 7540 West at the Route P Bridge.

BNSF 6693 West at the Route P Bridge.

Union Pacific 7385 East at the Route P Bridge. From here I drove east on Route P before I made a left on Road 119 and took it to the old bridge.

The Road 119 old bridge.

Me and my shadow at the Road 119 old bridge.

BNSF 7247 West at the Road 119 old bridge.

Union Pacific 6025 West at the Road 119 old bridge.

A unique view at the Road 119 old bridge.

BNSF 7288 West at the Road 119 old bridge.

BNSF 7594 East at the Road 119 old bridge. From here I back tracked to the Route J grade crossing and set up there.

BNSF 7233 West at the Route J grade crossing. From here I went down to Hurdland but went west on Route Z to the grade crossing at the Hurdland Crossovers.

The grade crossing here at the Hurdland Crossovers. From here I went to the old bridge just west of Gibbs. A call to Bob Cox I learned the mainline was quiet. I returned to La Plata stopping at Casey's for some Coca-Cola for the trip home, then went by the Silver Rails Gallery where Amy Cox showed me all the changes to the Gallery. I stopped by and saw Tom and Kelly Marshall before I drove out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point to wait for the over hour late Southwest Chief. I got a bonus while I waited.

BNSF 6728 West at La Plata.

The high clouds were floating by overhead.

A track worker running to get off the BNSF mainline.

A quiet La Plata for the moment.

The Southwest Chief arrived into La Plata this morning running one hour 15 minutes late. I took my stuff back to the Depot Inn & Suites before returning the rental car to Enterprise in Kirksville. They gave me a ride back to La Plata and I relaxed the last afternoon here away. I went to the Red Rooster for dinner having a Sirloin Steak before returning to the Depot Inn & Suites to relax before packing up for the last time on this trip. Taylor drove me to the station and I waited for my train back to nice and cool California. That 105 degree mark yesterday and today makes me not to want to come back here in the summer ever again.

Southwest Chief 3 6/29/2012 The 1,350,000.0 Rail Mile Trip

The train pulled into La Plata tonight and I boarded the 331 Sleeper with Joan as my Sleeping Car Attendant with me in Room 11 for this trip. The train had a consist of Engine 193 and 169, Baggage 1242, {no Transition}, Sleepers 32011, 32109 South Dakota and 32118 Wyoming, Diner 38056, Lounge 33014 with Coaches 34049, 34137 and 31043. I was aboard in the South Dakota. We left La Plata at 8:20 PM and by Ethel the sun had set as we raced across Missouri in the twilight chasing the night. Tired from all that heat, I called it an early night.

6/30/2012 I woke up in western Kansas and had breakfast just as we departed Dodge City. Richard Talmy was my server and I had French Toast and pork sausage with a couple going to Santa Fe. I was in my I want to be home mood so I napped to Lamar then listened to my CD of Ian Anderson "Thick as a Brick II" which took me to La Junta and a fresh air stop on what else but a hot morning. The train left La Junta 45 minutes late with me listening to my CD of Yes "Union" while I read The Pueblo Chieftain newspaper as we headed to Trinidad. The smoke from those fires around Colorado Springs and some growing thunderheads are blocking my normal clear view of the Front Range of the Rockies this morning. The bouncing across Kansas has made my body sore this morning. I guess I could be trained out of a feeling I tend to get every year after doing the NRHS convention. I think I need my own bed and much cooler temperatures to return me to my normal mood. I think I will retime the Orange County Railway Historical Society Meeting show for Monday night as that might kill some of this trip. That took me all the way through Trinidad over Raton Pass to Raton where I took a one minute fresh air break after I had called Lets Talk Trains. Next I waited for noon to have lunch in the Dining Car. I was seated with a lady going from La Plata to Albuquerque. I enjoyed the Angus Beef Burger with Pudding for dessert along with seeing a pair of baby antelopes. I visited the lounge car for a cinnamon roll for tomorrow morning then returned to my room for my DVD of Poison "Live Raw & Uncut" to watch on the way to Las Vegas and beyond. It looks like we may be heading into some storms on the way there which we ran into just before, during and leaving our Las Vegas station stop. That DVD lasted to just beyond the Pecos River and I then switched to my Motley Crue DVD "Lewd, Crued & Tattooed Live". We had to line our train into the siding at Gise to let the eastbound Southwest Chief to get by us on their way to Chicago. The Crue DVD took me to Lamy. I switched to a CD for my next choice of Metallica "Master of Puppets" to get me most of the way to Albuquerque. The train had to go through the area of slow orders around MP 846 before it sped up to get the train into Albuquerque. The train arrived into Albuquerque after a local freight train cleared out of our way at 5:29 PM {3:44 PM} and I enjoyed some fresh air. The car temperature reading said it was 146 degrees outside. I will see what the bank says which was 97 degrees outside. The Delux Bedroom C in the Sleeper 330 had a major water "leakage problem" that the servicing crew here in Albuquerque tried to fix it which added to our delay here. The train left Albuquerque at 6:20 PM {4:45 PM} while I was having dinner with an Amish couple from outside of Maysville, Kentucky. We then came to stop at Abajo and waited for a southbound New Mexico Railrunner Train heading to Belen. We followed it south to Isleta before we headed out across New Mexico. For dinner I enjoyed the Amtrak Signature Steak and cream puff for dessert. I then took a shower before watching a movie. I shot some pictures for my August OCRHS Show and when the movie was finished I called it a night. A very tired Chris made up his room and went to bed wondering where I would wake up at.

7/1/2012 The train stopped in Needles and I got out of bed by Cadiz then went to the Dining Car for my last meal of the trip. I was seated with a couple from Joplin going to Huntington Beach and a lady who once ran a dude ranch. I enjoyed French Toast and sausage patties this morning. Joan had made up my room and I then put on my DVD of Jethro Tull "Live at the AVO Sessions Basel" to pass the time as the train crossed the High Desert. I took a fresh air break at Barstow this morning on a delightful morning. The train left Barstow for Victorville at 7:37 AM {3:39 AM}. We ran across the High Desert to Victorville departing there at 8:13 AM {4:18 AM} and the train will now climb up and over Cajon Pass this beautiful morning. Below the old Cajon Campground the Tull DVD ended so I switched to my CD of Chicago "If You Leave Me Now" that would take me to San Bernardino and beyond. We did fresh air break at San Bernardino and our Coast Starlight passengers would be bussed from here. The train left San Bernardino at 9:21 AM {5:32 AM} then headed to Riverside which we departed at 9:41 AM {5:53 AM} and in a few minutes a brief moment of personal celebration for me.

Me getting my 1,350,000.0 Rail Mile at Magnolia Ave in Riverside, California at 9:52 AM July 1, 2012. Special thank you to Joan for taking these pictures.

The sign I made for this event of mine. I relaxed the rest of the way to Fullerton where we left there at 10:26 AM {6:34 AM} and now the train would make the final sprint to Los Angeles arriving there at 11:04 AM {8:15 AM} on Track 10 ending another excellent trip aboard the Southwest Chief. I walked over to the waiting Surfliner train for home on Track 11.

The Southwest Chief at rest at Los Angeles from Surfliner 572.

Surfliner 572 7/1/2012

I boarded Surfliner 572 for the fast trip home back to Santa Ana. We back tracked to Fullerton then stopped at Anaheim and then at last at Santa Ana where this trip ended.

Where this trip all started back at the Santa Ana Train Station and my mother picked me up ending an excellent trip to and from the NRHS 2012 Convention in Cedar Rapids. Once again, many thanks to all the people who made this convention such a great success and one last thank you to Bart Jennings and all of his hard planning that made it a fantastic event.