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A Sad Trip to Winterail 2013

by Chris Guenzler

3/7/2003 I worked my last day at Godeniz High School then drove home before my mother took me to Enterprise to get my rental car and I filled it with petrol before coming home. She left with my brother Duane and his wife Lisa to go and see my sister Laura, who was closing in on death up in San Rafael. I packed up the rental car and drove to the Denny's across from LAUPT to wait for Chris Parker to meet me there before we would pick up Bob and Elizabeth Alkire who were flying in from Seattle via Salt Lake City, then taking the Flyaway Bus to meet us at the drop-off point.

The rental car, a Chevy Blazer, for this year's driving. Chris Parker arrived and dropped off his bags before he parked in the lot below the MTA building. Soon we saw the bus pass our location and waited just a few minutes before we drove over and picked up the Alkires then drove north on Interstate 5 to California Highway 99, where we existed at White Lane in Bakersfield as I had an idea for dinner.

We had dinner at The Grill Hut in Santa Fe lunch-diner 1576, built by Pullman-Standard in 1950 and Amtrak 8117 in 1973; it was retired in 1977. I had smoked Tri-Tip which was very good.

Our group at the table. We made our way over to California Highway 43 seeing several BNSF trains on the way to Wasco, where we stopped at the Amtrak station.

The Wasco platform.

Amtrak 703 came into Wasco and then left. We continued north on California Highway 43, hitting the rain just after Corcoran; the rain was the reason we left Thursday afternoon instead of Friday morning, as a cold storm was coming in, which we were now in and it would close the Grapevine that we crossed earlier today. We went to the Super 8 motel in Hanford for the night.

3/8/2013 We woke to a wet day and would have rain most of the morning. The Grapevine was closed so I would say we made a great choice by leaving yesterday. We all met and headed over to the Santa Fe Hanford station.

The Santa Fe Hanford station built in 1897.

BNSF 4946 West came through a rainy Hanford. We then went to McDonald's for breakfast where I had hot cakes and sausage, after which we went wig wag hunting here.

We found this one on Redington Street on the San Joaquin Valley Railroad line. Then we went east to Brown Street.

The Brown Street wig wag. From here we went west to Lemoore where our next station was located.

The station in Lemoore, built in 1912, is actually the Southern Pacific station from Strathmore which was moved 52 miles to here and restored. We continued east east to Visalia and our next stop.

The Southern Pacific Visalia station built in 1916, is The Depot Restaurant which Chris Parker and I had eaten at during two previous Winterail trips. As of 2023, the restaurant is for sale.

From here we drove north to Orange Cove to our next station.

The Orange Cove Santa Fe station, built in 1914, is the town's city hall. From here we headed west over to Reedley for our next stop of the trip.

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