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The drive back to La Plata and the trip Home Part 2

by Chris Guenzler

We left Peoria back and headed across Illinois to East Peoria and went to Subway for lunch. After that we tried to get near the yard in East Peoria but had no luck. From here we headed south towards Pekin but had to make one stop on the way there.

BNSF 6075 East at Pekin.

BNSF SD70MAC 9811.

BNSF SD70ACe 9233.

Chicago and Illinois Midland RR Depot in Pekin which is now called the Antonini Depot.

C&IM Caboose 275.

C&IM Combine.

C&IM gondola.

C&IM Combine.

C&IM box car.

C&IM box car.

The Pekin Station sign.

Another view of the Pekin Station sign.

IC Jct in Pekin. From here we took Illinois Highway 9 across the Illinois River and would head west on this road to beyond La Harpe. We made our first stop in Canton where we found another surprise.

Whitcomb Switcher Canton lettered 1998 on one side and 1997 on the other.

The CB&Q Station in Canton.

Separate Doors for to the Women and Men Waiting Rooms. From here we headed west where outside of Bushnell we found a BNSF coal train.

BNSF 6200 North just north of Bushnell. From here we headed into town and found the CB&Q Station there.

BNSF Caboose 750.

The CB&Q Wooden Station in Bushnell. We headed west and as we came into Good Hope we saw a Peoria & Western train slowing moving east. We drove back to the next grade crossing east and set up. The train stopped and did a switching move but we couldn't hang around so we kept going west. After La Harpe we turned south on Illinois Highway 94 south to US Highway 136 which we crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa then drove south into Missouri. As we crossed over the BNSF bridge at Medill we saw an eastbound train coming. We drove into Medill and set up.

BNSF 5349 East came to a stop at Medill.

Medill, Missouri. From here we headed back to the bridge west of Wyaconda to show it to Bob and Elizabeth.

The view both ways from the bridge.

Our group coming up the road towards the bridge.

Elizabeth, Bob and Nathan on the bridge. From here we headed straight back to the Depot Inn & Suites. We cleaned out the van and loaded the hotel van. I got my stuff into the Pullman Suite then let Bob and Elizabeth wait in there while Nathan and I returned the van. I drove to Enterprise in Kirksville and picked up Nathan. We returned to the Depot Inn & Suites picked up Bob and Elizabeth and we all went to the Silver Rails Gallery so they could see it. After that a dinner at the Red Rooster before we returned to the Pullman Suite and watched the Revelation Video "Amtrak 40 1971-2011". We watched most of it before it was time to take Bob, Elizabeth and Nathan back down to the Amtrak La Plata Station to catch the an over hour late Southwest Chief. It was sad for me to say goodbye to my good friends but everything must have an end. My good friends boarded after my good friend Dutch Meyers arrived into La Plata for his stay for a week. It's very good to see Dutch back in La Plata. We returned to the Depot Inn & Suites were I went back to the Pullman Suite and watched the rest of that Amtrak DVD. After that I enjoyed a sauna tub bath before calling it a night.

7/26/2011 I slept in after a good night's rest and had a good breakfast then met Dutch. We agreed on going out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point and I got the keys to the golf cart and we went out there. It was all ready 91 degrees on the Depot Inn & Suites marquee. I got out my computer and started this story.

BNSF 5189 East was our first train through La Plata this morning.

BNSF 6672 West was next.

Next came the BNSF 7334 East.

Dutch Meyers enjoying the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

The BNSF 7334 East DPU's.

BNSF 5339 West on an ethanol train. Now we waited for Amtrak Train 4 which would arrive with another surprise on it.

Amtrak's Southwest Chief with Amtrak Heritage Unit 184 met BNSF 7322 West as it left La Plata this morning. We returned to the Depot Inn & Suites where I did my wash as I watched the Revelation Video DVD "Northern California Explorer". At noon I attended a preretirement party for Sally.

A view of the party. We had lunch and plenty of good conversation.

The new La Plata Tourist Info Center at the Depot Inn and Suites.

Two of my all time favorite people Sally and Maria of the Depot Inn & Suites. I returned to my room and wrote this story before taking a sauna bath. Dutch and I would go to Colton's Steakhouse in Kirksville for dinner. After that I watched a Kiss Concert DVD and called it a night.

7/27/2011 Following another fantastic night of sleep, I started my final La Plata day with breakfast in the lobby. After that I got the keys to the golf cart and headed out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point for a morning of trains until Amtrak comes into La Plata. There is a cooling breeze blowing this morning but the heat index will be 105 degrees this afternoon, so I plan to be inside all afternoon.

BNSF 5455 East.

BNSF 5425 West.

BNSF 7569 East.

UP 4678 East.

BNSF 7253 West with DPU's on the rear end.

Holland Company Track Strength Analysis & Recording Hi-Rail Truck.

BNSF 5152 East.

BNSF 7489 East with brand new BNSF 7453 was slowed by a work gang near the grade crossing next to the La Plata Amtrak Station.

BNSF 7460 West.

BNSF 7515 West.

BNSF 7863 West.

UP 8415 West came through La Plata just before Amtrak.

Amtrak's Southwest Chief running almost two hours late this morning. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites where I watched my DVD of Blackmore's Night "Castles & Dreams". After that I would just relax until 5 PM when I would walk over to the Red Rooster for my final dinner here. Following a final sauna tub bath, I would be taken down to the La Plata Amtrak Station by my good friend Dutch to wait for my first of two trains for home.

Southwest Chief 7/27/2011

The train pulled into La Plata with the Amtrak Heritage Unit 184 on the point. I boarded the 330 Car taking Room 13 for my trip to Los Angeles. I then walked the train to get the consist. The train had a consist of Engines 184 and 115, Baggage 1855, Transition 39041, Sleepers 32082 Indiana and 32027, Diner 38056, Lounge 32036 with Coaches 34093, 34000, 31004 and 31014. My Sleeping Car Attendant is Fred. On the way back through the Dining Car the steward offered me a cream puff for dessert which hit the spot. I watched the Missouri countryside pass by in my darkened room before I made up my room and called it a night.

7/28/2011 I woke just before Baldwin City, KS and headed straight to the Dining Car for French Toast and crispy bacon. After that I napped until just before La Junta and made up my room then changed into some fresh clothes. The train arrived into La Junta and I had pictures to take.

The Southwest Chief at rest at La Junta.

Amtrak Heritage 184 at La Junta. The train departed there on time and I put together the September OCRHS Show as we headed west to Trinidad and finished that as the train was climbing the north slope of Raton Pass.

The Southwest Chief climbing Raton Pass. I put on my Rush CD "All the World is a Stage" for the climb over the rest of the Raton Pass, crossing into New Mexico, the trip through the Raton Tunnel and our descent into Raton, our next fresh air stop. I went and asked the conductor if I would have time to get a good picture of the Amtrak 184 in Raton and he said sure just be quick. I got off with him at the Transition Car and ran down to the head end of the train, crossed the tracks with extreme care and started my quick picture taking of the Amtrak 184.

The Southwest Chief at Raton.

Three views of the Amtrak 184 at Raton. I returned to the train and thanked the conductor before I returned to my room with four minutes to spare. The train left Raton and headed towards Las Vegas. At Noon I went to the Dining Car for lunch and enjoyed the Beef Angus Burger and vanilla ice cream for dessert. After lunch I put on my DVD of "Iron Man" which took me through several major thunderstorms to almost Lamy. There I put on the Alice Cooper DVD "Brutally Live". We came in via the siding and met the eastbound Southwest Chief as we left Lamy running over an hour late. From here we headed to Albuquerque our next fresh air stop. After getting on line there I updated the story up to that point. The train departed there on time and at 5:30 PM I had the Steak and with a Creme Puff for dessert. It was the worst steak I have ever had on Amtrak. I ordered it medium and it came to me raw. I send it back and it returned in the same shape only juices flowed out of it when I cut into it. Where is Gordon Ramsey when I need him? Following a shower, I watched another DVD before calling it a night.

7/29/2011 I woke up right after San Bernardino and Fred made up the room before I started writing again. I put on a Yes live CD to pass the final miles on this train. The train stopped at Riverside and then proceeded to Fullerton where I detrained at 7:09 AM after we waited for an Orange County Metrolink Train to clear. This train will arrive into LAUPT early. From here I waited for Surfliner 564 which was a low level train much to my disliking for loading my luggage aboard to take me back to Santa Ana. This ends yet another excellent adventure aboard Amtrak along with everything else I did on this fantastic trip to La Plata, The Depot Inn & Suites, the La Plata Railfan Event and Train Festival 2011.