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The trip west to get home from the N&W 611 4/11/2016

by Chris Guenzler

David had dropped me off with my train running on time. I first had my hot cakes and sausage then decided to photograph the Salisbury Station.

The views of the Salisbury station and area. A lady from our N&W 611 trip was heading to Atlanta, Georgia so she was taking Amtrak 19, the Crescent tonight. The station keeper showed up at 12:20 AM and let us in. I found a plug and started writing the Asheville trip story. Soon more N&W 611 trip people showed up and I gave out seven business cards to them. I wrote about a third of the story, but got tired of it. A southbound NS freight came blasting through and later, the Southbound Crescent arrived. I went outside again to wave goodbye to my new friend from Georgia. At 2:10 AM I walked my luggage out to the locked gate leading to the platform. The temparature was dropping while I was waiting. At 2:18 AM he opened the gate and I walked to near where my Viewliner Sleeper would stop. I could hear the horn of the Crescent off in the distance, saw the headlight coming then the train arrived

The Crescent 20 4/11/2016

I boarded and found my Room 7 with my new friend Sara across from me. My bags were delivered to my room and I pulled down the top bunk and placed them up there. The conductor scanned my ticket and I said goodnight to everyone. I made the bed, climbed in and was fast asleep all the way to Alexandria, so I had almost seven hours of sleep. I got up, shaved and got dressed then took my luggage down and saw the sights of Washington, DC from the train before we arrived.

Washington, DC 4/11/2016

Sara and I walked off the Crescent and headed straight to Club Acela where we checked in and got 5:00 PM dinner reservations. I stored my luggage then went to McDonalds for hot cakes and sausage which cost two dollars more than in North Carolina. After a good meal, I cleared out my E-mail before I finished the 611 story from yesterday then started on the trip home story, catching up to this point. I showed Sara my 2016 Winterail program then she went to get lunch, and I got caught up and could now relax until I would be taken out to the Capitol Limited by a red cap.

Capitol Limited 29 4/11/2016

I had Room 3 in Car 2901 32075 with Paul Stien as my Sleeping Car Attendant. The consist of this version of the Capitol Limited had engines 166 and 824, Viewliner Baggage Car 61013, Transition Car 39025, Sleepers California 32075 and 32073, Diner 37012, Lounge 33024 and Coaches 34058, 340390 and 31027. We left Washington, DC on time and heading back to Chicago on this train. At 4:45 PM, Sara and I went to the Dining Car and were seated with a very nice couple riding from Wilmington to Los Angeles. I had the steak with a Chocolate Mousse. I returned to my room and watched a DVD of "Cheap Trick Germany 1983" in honor of them now being in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. After that, I made up my room and called it a night.

4/12/2016 This morning started at 6:00 AM when I woke up and went to the Dining Car. My two tablemates did not say a single word and the woman was just reading her phone most of the time. The pancakes and sausage were excellent. I caught up writing the story and put on my DVD of Queen "Queen Houston Rocks Night at the Summit Houston Texas 1977". We stopped at Waterloo, Elkhart and South Bend before the final sprint to Chicago. The ground had many puddles on it from some excessive rains they had here since I passed eastbound late last week. The train arrived in Chicago Union Station at 8:04 AM {8:45 AM} and I was glad to be back in Chicago.

Chicago 4/12/2016

I walked off the train straight into the Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago Union Station. I sat down, but could not get any Wifi. I asked if it was Amtrak Metro 2 which would not show up on my browser. I moved and finally picked up a signal from outside the lounge. I clicked on it and once on-line I could upload my stories and pictures until the moment I needed it and it quit. I called Elizabeth and she told me everything was there so she would proof it this morning. I told her I had one double picture and not to worry about it. Now what to do; so I watched all six of my Winterail programs. When I finished, I asked Sara to watch my stuff while I went to Gold Coast for a pair of Char Dogs for my lunch. I let her watch my 2014 Winterail program which she really liked. I managed to get back on-line and stayed on-line until it was time to go. I put in the corrections, uploaded the stories and fixed one mistake. Then Sara joined me and showed me things on her phone and I showed her things on my computer

They had the floor plans for the new and improved Metropolitan Lounge that will overlook the Great Hall of Chicago Union Station opening in June 2016. So this should be my last visit to this lounge. I am a little sad that my old lounge is going away forever. They called my train and I said good bye to my new friend Sara who is returning to Holland, Michigan tonight. We all walked out to the train on Track 16 and I got car and engine numbers on my way to my car. I dropped off my bags and got the rest of the train while everyone else boarded.

Southwest Chief 3 4/12/2016

The consist for this version of the Southwest Chief had engines 197 and 130, Viewliner Baggage Car 61059, Transition 39032, Sleepers 32026 and 32033, Diner 38049, Lounge 33024 and Coaches 34038, 31039 and 34034. I am in Room 3 of Car 32033 with Phillip as my Sleeping Car Attendant. We left Chicago on time and headed west. After Naperville. I took a shower and it was so good to be clean again.

Metra Train in Aurora with the former CB&Q Roundhouse now housing a Walter Peyton Steakhouse which I will try on one of my next visits to Chicago. Now it is time to shave after we get the onboard Wifi issue settled. The answer was No! I watched my DVD of Paul Stanley "One Live Kiss" as the train sped across Illinois. I paused it as I had gotten a 5:30 Dinner Reservation tonight. I was seated with Pat and John going first to Newton than on to Dallas and a soccer player from Orland Park, Illinois. I had the steak and Chocolate Mousse.

Crossing the Mississippi River into Fort Madison, the Paul Stanley DVD was done.

Crossing the Des Moines River into Missouri. I put on my Jethro Tull Ian Anderson "Thick as a Brick in Iceland" and watched the original through La Plata and onto Elmer where I turned it off.

The sunset just east of La Plata. I then made my bed and called it a night.

4/13/2016 I woke up and went to the Dining Car when it opened at 6:30 AM MDT. I was seated with a very nice Amish couple from Goshen, Indiana and a black gentleman from everywhere as he said. I had pancakes and pork sausage patties. I then went back to bed sleeping past the crew change in La Junta and waking up just to the west of there. I made up my bed and started my day at 9:30 AM by getting both lunch and dinner reservations. I saw Pikes Peak and Spanish Peak as the train rolled the miles off to Trinidad. Now I will watch the second Thick as a Brick part of that DVD. After Trinidad, I put on my DVD of Martin Barre "Live in Lize Murea, Spain 7/10/2015 Jazz San Javier" that took me over Raton Pass to a fresh air break in Raton {paused} then on south and finished it before lunch. I was seated with a woman from Vermont, a Canadian from Montreal and Andrew from Indianapolis taking his first major train trip. I had the Angus Beef Burger and vanilla ice cream for dessert. After lunch I timed my May Orange County Railway Historical Society program as we climbed Glorieta Pass, meeting our eastbound sister train at Fox. After that it was time for the Young Dubliners CD that I keep in my music case. We descended through Apache Canyon to Lamy. I next discoved that my Chris Trip page that I use to post my story on vanished from the computer. I wrote all my code and titles into my new pad before putting on Metallica's Death Magnetic CD since my mood was not too good at the moment. The good news was that we were rolling into Albuquerque and running a little late. We arrived in Albuquerque at 4:32 PM. I called Randy Jackson and we talked about my trip for just a few short minutes. The train departed at 5:11 PM, 26 minutes late with me still listening to the Metallica CD. I had a 5:30 PM dinner reservation and was called at that time. I was seated with Jon who was going to the Grand Canyon and Andrew again who was going to Las Vegas, Nevada via the bus from Kingman. I had the steak and Chocolate Mousse for the last dining car meal of this trip. After dinner I took a shower then put on my Asia "Fantasia Live in Tokyo" DVD that should take me into Arizona. I called home and then Katie Wright, my Special Ed teacher who I work for. I sure miss those kids and teachers on our case load. It will be great to be back at Heninger Elementary School in Santa Ana, if all goes right during this last night on the train. Once I got into Arizona, I was very tired so I made up my room for the last time on the trip and called it a night..

4/14/2016 I made up my room for the last time stripping the sheets and piIlow cases off of the bed. I enjoyed a cinnamon roll and orange juice for a light breakfast. I took fresh air break at San Bernardino and then we rolled slowly towards Riverside. On the way there it dawned on me that I could take Metrolink 809 to Santa Ana and beat Pacific Surfliner 564 by 18 minutes since we were now 50 minutes late. So I told Phillip my new plan and he let me off at Riverside and I detrained. I had a nice man watch my luggage while I bought a Metrolink ticket to Santa Ana. The train came from the storage area and I boarded Car 192. The train left and headed west then south to Santa Ana where I detrained ending a very excellent trip to La Plata and a life long dream to ride behind the N&W 611.

Almost Home 4/14/2016

I tried to take a taxi to work at Heninger Elementary School but it turned out there are no longer taxis at this station. One taxi cab pulled up but was waiting to take someone else. He gave me a card and I called the number and after a five minute wait I was told it would be an hour. It seems that four days ago, the taxi company lost their business at this station. I went to the Amtrak counter and told Randy, the agent, of my problem and he offered to drive me to work. Thank you Randy for saving me. I took my luggage and left it in Christina's office. She is the school office manager. I stopped by my normal first room, then went by Katie's office to get her key to open my room. I went to the rest of my classes during the morning with my staff and kids very happy to see me. I worked my shift then Robin Bowers picked me up. That was the good news. The bad news was my mother left the sceen unlocked but the bottom lock was locked so I was locked out of my house. My mother had gone to lunch with a friend. Robin left me after about thirty minutes, When she returned I finally got in and was home at last. I did my income tax, fixed a new trip page for this computer and would be back in my own bed tonight