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The Rest of my visit to La Plata and Trip Home

by Chris Guenzler


I got up and got the corrections to Part 4 of this part of this story. I then met Bob, Elizabeth and Bill Compton before we walked out to the van. The La Plata Bank sign read -4 degrees at 8:04 AM this morning. It had gotten down to -9 degrees last night in La Plata.

The Depot Inn & Suites sign read 8:03 AM.

Before it flashed to -2 degrees before we loaded the van. I scraped off the ice off the wind shield of the van creating a porthole to see through to drive the van. We drove out to the grade crossing on Iceberg Road on a morning where if you stood outside too long you would become an iceberg yourself.

BNSF 749 East was the lone freight train of the morning. From there we headed over to Cardy but alas had no trains. We did get to see the BNSF track inspection trucks switch places on the grade crossing there. From here we drove back to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

Amtrak's Southwest Chief arrived into La Plata at 9:44 AM this morning.

After it loaded its passengers, it pulled down to clear the Owensby Street grade crossing. It then left La Plata on time at 9:57 AM and headed to Chicago. We returned to the Depot Inn & Suites where I said goodbye to Bill Compton and his family who was headed to Jefferson City before flying home from St Louis tonight. I had Bob and Elizabeth put their luggage in my room as I made the page for this story. From here, we went down to the Silver Rails Gallery for the event.

Dedication Ceremony of the Silver Rails Memorial Library 1/2/2010

We came in and set up for doing Lets Talk Trains live from La Plata with me, Nathan, Bob and Elizabeth hosting the show today.

Nathan and I before the show. We started the show with the official caller Ken Ruben before I went to cover the event in the Silver Rail Memorial Library.

Bob Manning started off the event by reading a prepared statement by Steve Grande about Richard Hamilton.

That was followed by Kelly Marshall talking about the contributions of Harold and Hilda Marshall towards the success of the Depot Inn & Suites.

People listening to Kelly. Bob Cox spoke next about things in La Plata.

Bob Manning then had more to say from his heart. I then gave a brief statement about all the people being honored today.

Barbara Cepinko then paid tribute to all being honored this morning.

Steve Grande just listened to all of the event.

Next Tom Marshall spoke about all of our former friends.

People listening to Tom Marshall speak. Ray Ivy then spoke about La Plata and welcomed all who would like to travel to La Plata. Plus he spoke about Richard, Hilda and Harold. I finished up the event by adding more information on Richard and mentioned that both Richard and Harold are in my Million Mile DVD Set. That finished the event and I went back to the hosting of Lets Talk Trains. We had a fantastic show as well as having a great time doing the show here in La Plata this morning.

After the show I took Nathan, Bob and Elizabeth over to Santa Fe Lake then up to Kirksville to the Subway for a lunch. We returned to the Depot Inn & Suites and worked on my story, before our group headed to the Silver Rails Event Center.

Our group at the Silver Rail Event Center standing on the stage made from the bowling alley that Walt Disney once bowled on. Bob Cox opened up the center for us. From here we went to the Building to let them see it.

The Steam Engine painting on the wall behind the stage at the Silver Rail Event Center.

The group in front of the building. Bob Cox gave us a nice tour before we drove back up to Kirksville for dinner at the Wooden Nickel.

The unique menu at the Wooden Nickel.

Our group at the Wooden Nickel. I had a charred Prime Rib which was excellent. We went back to the Victorian Suite where I worked on the story while listening to the Lets Talk Trains Show that we did today. After that I drove Bob and Elizabeth back to the Amtrak Station and waited there with them and the couple from Oklahoma until the Southwest Chief arrived into La Plata tonight. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites where I finished the story for today, took a sauna tub bath and called it a night.


I woke up and got the keys to the van on another frigid cold morning before I drove over to the Red Rooster for a Waffle and sausage patties. After a fulfilling breakfast I drove out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

The scene looking down the former Wabash Railroad grade. I had opened up a Coca-Cola and took a few sips of it and set it on the table inside the lookout point. I then checked the ATCS Monitor and learned only the Southwest Chief was running this cold morning. I read some of the names on the walls before returning to my Coke which was frozen solid. That wasn't the only thing cold this morning. The Marceline BNSF Sub Dispatcher came on the radio talking to an eastbound west of Marceline. At one point he asked, "Just how cold is it there? I couldn't hear the train's response but he then said "You just keep the cold up there and I'll keep wearing my shorts down here." The Dispatcher is in Fort Worth, Texas. Speaking of shorts I do have my shorts on over my long johns and under my warm up pants. To say it is cold is really an understatement this morning.

Amtrak Train 4 the Southwest Chief came into La Plata three minutes early.

The Southwest Chief leaves La Plata on time and I returned to the warmth of the Depot Inn & Suites. After noon we gathered again and I drove a van load of our group over to the Red Rooster for lunch. We then toured the Silver Rail Gallery again and I saw the apartment above it I that almost moved into. Back at the Depot Inn & Suites I watched NFL Football and scanned my computer with the anti virus program I use. I then got asked to drive some of the group up to Kirksville to Kelley Furniture where Tom and Kelly gave us a tour of the showroom with things they make in their shop. I stopped at KFC for dinner which I took back to the Depot Inn & Suites to eat.

I watched some of the Raiders game before I took a sauna bath then washed my hair. I worked on the story from today before driving members of the group back down to the Amtrak Station for the westbound Southwest Chief. Steve, Barbara along with Bob Manning and his wife boarded the sleepers and Nathan boarded the coach. Once the train left that left me as the last one of our group in La Plata. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites for the night.


I woke to another frigid morning outside and went to get my breakfast which I took back to the room. I fixed the mistakes in yesterday's story and went through the morning E-mails. I then took the van out to Santa Fe Lake in hopes of catching a few trains.

No luck there on this minus one degree morning so I went west of La Plata to the Indiana Avenue grade crossing and parked the van. I heard a horn from the east and set up for a picture of it.

BNSF 1035 West at Indiana Avenue.

Back in the warmth of the van I heard a horn from the west then saw a headlight and here came the Southwest Chief running early again this morning.

The Southwest Chief headed to La Plata and so did I. I went through town and pulled off of Brown Street at the bridge over the BNSF mainline.

The Southwest Chief and the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. From here I drove out to Santa Fe Lake again and waited.

Soon the gates went down and then the Southwest Chief sped east towards Chicago. I stopped by Casey's Service Station before returning to the warmth of the Depot Inn & Suites. Back in the Victorian Suite I put on my DVD set of Queensryche "Mindcrime at the Moore". After that I drove up the Kirksville to Walmart to pick up a few things I needed. I stopped at KFC to pick up lunch before driving back to La Plata. I listened to my new CD of Kiss "Sonic Boom" before watching my new DVD of "Public Enemies". After that I went to the Red Rooster for a Filet Mignon before I relaxed the rest of the night in the Victorian Suite.


The Weather Channel said -6 degrees when I got up so I took my time and Checked the ATCS on the TV in the Victorian Suite then drove out to the wooden bridge the same one I got stuck at the first morning I was here. I would try my best to avoid doing that again this morning.

The van parked out on the wooden bridge.

BNSF 7676 East.

I finally got a westbound train out at this wooden bridge just west of Gibbs.

BNSF 7256 West passed by my photo location.

The Southwest Chief came east by my location basically on time again this morning.

The Southwest Chief heads to Chicago and then I drove down the road and carefully turned the van around this time with no problems. I first went to Gibbs before heading back to La Plata. I gassed up the van before returning to the warmth of the Depot Inn & Suites for my final day which I would spend inside the Victorian Suite. I relaxed and watched TV as I had it with the frigid cold temperatures of La Plata. I couldn't wait to get home back to warm Southern California. Later I would eat a Porterhouse Steak at the Red Rooster then I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites where I learned that Train 3 left Chicago at 4:20 PM, an hour five minutes late,

My final picture in La Plata is a sunset shot right outside the back door of the hall next to the Victorian Suite. I watched the TV and checked the Internet before I checked out of the Depot Inn & Suites near train time. I was driven down to the Amtrak Station by Bob Cox and waited inside until I heard the crossing gates go down.

Southwest Chief 3 1/05/2010

The train stopped right on the platform at 8:54 PM and I was greeted by the Conductor and Rene my Sleeping Car Attendant. After a double stop for coach passengers, we left La Plata at 8:57 PM {8:07 PM} with me in Room 2 in the 32057 Sleeping Car. The train consisted of Engines 98, and 116, Baggage 1162, Transition 39011, Sleepers 32000 and 32057. Diner 38057, Lounge 33021 with Coaches 34073, 31043 and 31033. After a few minutes I made up my room and called it a night.


I woke up at about 7:30 AM CT and went to the Dining Car for my usual French Toast and sausage patties. After that I walked most of the train getting most of the consist of the train. The front would have to wait until La Junta. I then put on my DVD of "Young Frankenstein for this early morning trek towards La Junta.

A wind mill in Lamar. Next stop is La Junta and a fresh air break. We left La Junta on time and half way to Trinidad the movie finished. Next I put on the Rolling Stones DVD "Four Flicks Paris Theater Show" and relaxed as the train took me on to Trinidad and over Raton Pass to Raton, our next fresh air stop. We left a much warmer Raton and headed to Las Vegas next. I put on the Rolling Stones DVD "Four Flicks New York City Madison Square Garden Arena Show" as we left Raton. After that I took a nap. I put on my DVD of "Prince and the New Power Generation Live" and later we met Train 4, the Southwest Chief, at Canyoncito before we descended through Apache Canyon to Lamy. From there it was a sprint into Albuquerque, our next servicing stop which we arrived early into today. Randy Jackson and his lovely wife came down to visit me during our servicing stop. After that I worked on my next Orange County Railroad Historical Society Program for February 2010 Meeting before and after dinner. At 5:15 PM I had dinner with a couple from Uniontown, PA. and a women who had to take the train from Albuquerque as she couldn't get a flight anywhere into Southern California. I had the steak and vanilla ice cream which was excellent. After I finished the OCRHS Program, I watched my DVD of Gun N' Roses "Use your Illusion" which took me back into Arizona. After that I made up my room for the last night on this trip.


I was out of bed with the Southwest Chief running thirty minutes late at this point. The room was made up and I enjoyed some Coca-Cola along with a Big Texas Cinnamon Roll as the train made its way through Riverside and Santa Ana Canyon. The train stopped in Fullerton before making the final sprint into Los Angeles arriving a few minutes early at 8:03 AM {8:15 AM}. I took Surfliner 566 home to Santa Ana and the warmth of home where it arrived on time. Despite the extreme cold, it had been a fantastic trip to La Plata and the Depot Inn & Suites.