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A day in Nebraska and Colorado 5/21/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I woke up at the Alliance Hotel and Suites and after our morning preparations, we checked out and went to MacDonald's where we ate in the car. I then filled the car with petrol then drove us down to Bayard where we made our first stop of the day.

Great Western Sugar Company 0-4-0T unknown number built in 1924. I drove us to the station in this town.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Bayard station built in 1928.

Unknown Burlington Northern caboose. I drove us next to Gering but had to make a stop.

Chimney Rock National Monuement. Prior to exploration and settlement by European immigrants, the Native Americans of the area -- mainly the Lakota Sioux -- would refer to this formation by a term which meant "elk penis". The first non-natives to see the pillar were probably the Astorians of Robert Stuart in their eastward journey from the Pacific Ocean in 1813. Chimney Rock was recorded in many journals after the Stuart expedition. The name "Chimney Rock" probably originated from early fur traders. The first recorded mention of "Chimney Rock" was in 1827 by Joshua Pilcher. Pilcher had journeyed up the Platte River valley to the Salt Lake rendezvous of the Rocky Mountain fur trappers. The formation went through a variety of names before becoming Chimney Rock such as Chimley Rock and Chimney Tower, as well as euphemisms based on the original Native American name, such as Elk's Peak and Elk Brick. A small town named Chimney Rock once stood near the base of the formation. A post office was established at the town of Chimney Rock in 1913, and remained in operation until 1922. Based on sketches, paintings, written accounts and the 1897 photograph by Darton, Chimney Rock was taller when it was first seen by settlers, but has since been reduced in height by erosion and lightning and reportedly by cannon fire from military aircraft.

The Union Pacific Gering Station built in 1929.

Union Pacific 2-8-0 423 built in 1900. I drove us out to a museum to find the other steam engine in Gering.

Legacy Museum of the Plains. We went inside and met David Wolfe who walked us out to the engine.

Great Western Sugar Company 0-4-0T 17 built in 1923 and acquired from Fort Morgan, Colorado.

Scottsbluff. From here I drove us into Scottsbluff.

The Union Pacific Scottsbluff station. I drove us to the other station in town.

The Chicago, Burlingtom and Quincy Scottsbluff station. From here we drove us out to Mitchell.

Great Western Sugar Company 0-4-0T 29 built in 1924. We headed east to Bridgeport then down to Gurley where Elizabeth would get her first picture along this US Highway 385 and a first for me.

BNSF 8578 South at Gurley. We drove to Sidney then down Nebraska Highway 19 to Lorenzo where we stopped again.

First we caught the DPUs BNSF 9344 and 9592.

BNSF SD70MAC 9592. We drove to the head end of the train.

BNSF 6255 South at Lorenzo.

Welcome to Colorado.

BNSF 9038 South at Peetz. I next drove us to Iliff.

The station in Iliff is the Union Pacific one from Proctor, which is 7.2 mile from Iliff. We stopped at Carl's Jr. in Brush where we ate lunch inside. Afterwards we took Highway 71 through Last Chance on the way to Limon, then took US 24 to Calhan.

Two abandoned trestles from the Rock Island line that ran from Limon to Colorado Springs. We drove into Calhan and were surprised to find more than just a station because of the efforts of the Rocky Mountain Railroad Heritage Society, dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historic railroad buildings and equipment as used in the Rocky Mountain States.

Colorado and Southern first class coach 532 built in 1902 and donated by the Forney Museum.

Rock Island box car converted into caboose 17658 in 1942 and continued in service until 1986. It was also donated by the Forney Museum.

Musuem scene.

The Rock Island Calhan station built in 1906 and abandoned in 1980. Cadillac and Lake City Railway operated the railroad and station until 1989. It sat neglected until the Rocky Mountain Railroad Heritage Society purchased it in 2014 and started restoration.

The Calhan Rock Island timetable board.

Clouds on the way to Colorado Springs.

Pike's Peak still en route to the Springs.

Santa Fe Colorado Springs station at 555 East Pikes Peak Avenue built in 1918. It now houses the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation.

The Santa Fe/Colorado Southern freight house adjacent to the station also built in 1918.

Denver and Rio Grande Western/Rock Island station built in 1877.

Next to the station is Denver and Rio Grande Western caboose 01513 which we were really surprised to see in 2021.

The railroad mural also near the station. From here, I drove us south to Penrose where we had dinner at the Goose Berry Patch Restaurant. We enjoyed the buffet which was very good and had a unique dessert.

Colorado and Kansas Railroad station in Penrose.

Beautiful stormy clouds ended our day as we drove to Canon City and checked into the Quality Inn. While writing a story, we did some laundry and were glad we arrived without getting wet as it rained during the night.