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A Mid-Week Visit To Sallisaw, Oklahoma 2/19-22/2024

by Chris Guenzler

Our friend David Cantlin, who lives in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, informed Elizabeth that Rowan's Restaurant in Stillwell was going to be closing late February. We had been here with David and some of his family during our Thanksgiving visit last November. Plans were made to stay with his daughter and son-in-law and then the news came that Rowan's closed a week earlier than planned because they ran out of food. That just shows how popular this family-run restaurant was.

Elizabeth and I decided to keep our plans so left Columbia on February 19th bound for Sallisaw but did not drive directly there.

St. Louis and San Francisco Crocker station in Crocker, Missouri. The depot was the last in Pulaski County and served as the mail pick-up and drop-off point for the rest of the county. Now a museum, the original structure is home not only to county antiques and photographs but also old train logs.

St. Louis and San Francisco caboose 1418 built by the railroad in 1971.

As we were driving out of Crocker, we spotted Burlington Northern caboose 11339, nee Northern Pacific 10007 built by the railroad in 1951. We continued on our way, entering Arkansas.

St. Louis and San Francisco Bentonville station built in 1925.

Chicago, Rock Isand and Pacific caboose 17860 built by the railroad in 1930 and painted as St. Loius and San Francisco 2341. Our next stop was Fayetteville.

St.Louis and San Francisco Fayetteville station built in 1897.

Observation car "Empire State" built by Pullman in 1912. It became a Missouir Pacific maintenance-of-way car then was owned by the Little Rock Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society before becoming Fayetteville Community Bank.

St. Louis-Southwestern caboose 128 built by the railroad. From here, Elizabeth drove us to Sallisaw and learnt that as James under the weather, David and Rachel booked us into the Blue Ribbon Inn for one night. Rachel prepared some rice and beef for dinner with vanilla ice cream for dessert then we visited a while before returning to the motel.

2/20/2024 The two of us arose, did our usual Internet checking then drove the short distance to the Cantlin house and we went to Sherry's Farmhouse Kitchen for breakfast. Once back at the house, Elizabeth started to go through the myriad of thumb drives on which David had copied his photographs to identify their contents and made an index. This was a large job but she enjoyed it and found a group of photographs that David was specifically looking for. There were not many trains passing through Sallisaw on the KCS today and unfortunately, my camera was on the wrong setting so the pictures I did take did not turn out. But it was not a wasted day, and we both enjoyed relaxing, giving the cats, Titus and Felix, plenty of attention when they were not out exploring and spending time with David and Rachel.

That evening, we went to Ruger's Grill for dinner then returned to the house before driving up to their daughter and son-in-law's house where we chatted with Rebekah and James before calling it a night.

2/21/2024 After a good night's sleep, we drove back to David and Rachel's house and went to Ruger's Grill for breakfast then back to their house. Contrary to Columbia, it was a beautiful day in the high 60's/low 70's so wereable to sit out on their porch, wearing shorts in late February, to watch trains while Elizabeth continued to assist David with his photographic project.

A postion light signal on David's porch. When he lived in Tacoma, Washington, he had several types of signals on display in his garden.

Kansas City Southern concrete milepost 259.

BNSF SD70ACe 8545 built by Electro-Motive Division in 2014.

Kansas City Southern ES44AC 4761 built by General Electric in 2007.

Norfolk Southern SD70ACe 1036 built by Eletro-Motive Division 2007

Canadian Pacific ES44AC 8717:2 built by General Electric in 2005.

BNSF SD70ACe SD60 9047 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1986.

Union Pacifiic SD70ACe 8690 built by Electro-Motive Divison in 2011, Kansas City Southern ES44AC 4796 built by General Electric in 2012 and Kansas City Southern C44-9W 4433, nee BNSF 4910 built by General Electric in 1998, in a light engine move.

For dinner that evening, we went to Braum's and enjoyed hamburgers with milkshakes. Braum's is a good quality, not quite "fast food" restaurant based in Oklahoma, although they are in neighbouring states but only as far as 100 miles from the Oklahoma border. In addition, each store has a fresh market area. We later returned to Rebekah and James' house.

2/22/2024 The two of us arose and after our regular morning preparations, left Sallisaw and drove north to Stilwell, having breakfast at McDonald's then followed the Kansas City Southern mainline and near Lanagan, stopped for a northbound KCS train.

Kansas City Southern de Mexico ES44AC 4878 built by General Elctric in 2016, Kansas City Southern SD70ACe 4191 built in Electro-Motove Divison in 2015, Kansas City Southern AC4400CW 4592 built by General Electric in 1999, Canadian Pacific AC4400CW 9810 built by General Electric in 2004 and Canadian Pacific AC4400CWM 8041:2 built by General Electric in 1995.

Elizabeth drove us to Lebanon, Missouri, where I drove us back to Columbia, ending another visit to see our friends and trains.