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A Tioga Pass Trip To Remember the Late Chris Parker 1956-2021 10/15/2021

by Chris Guenzler

My dear friend Chris Parker passed away suddenly on June 26th, 2021. With no public service planned, Elizabeth came up with the idea of chartering the private car "Tioga Pass" in memory of Chris on his birthday, October 15th. She discussed the idea with me and I heartily agreed as the "Tioga Pass" and the "Pony Express" were Chris' two favorite cars in which to ride. We e-mailed Norm Orfall, owner of the "Tioga Pass", who was also good friends with Chris, and arrangements were made. We invited several people who knew Chris and ten of us signed up for the trip. Others wanted to but were unable due to other commitments.

The only Pacific Surfliner trains that were able to handle a private car to San Diego was 564 and 595 as well as 567. As the day neared, Norm invited us to spend the night in the car in the coach yards in Los Angeles since the departure was 7:05 AM. We took him up on his kind offer and the night before the trip, we drove to Los Angeles and met Norm at the gate to the 8th Street coach yard. He led us in and we helped him unload some supplies for the trip before settling into the lounge and spending the evening talking. Elizabeth forgot our overnight bag and her handbag in the car so on the way there, I took a pair of pictures.

"Tioga Pass", the 1959 Canadian National business car, on which we would spend this night, a first for both of us, and we slept very well.

Also in the yard at 8th Street was New York Central "America".

10/15/2021 Elizabeth and I awoke before dawn and after getting dressed, we walked back to the lounge and Norm soon joined us there. A few minutes later, we pulled forward out of the 8th Street shed then started reversing down the mainline to Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal.

Reversing down the mainline.

Old Metrolink engines at Keller Yard waiting to be sold.

A sea of railroad signals along our reversing route.

More Metrolink engines up for sale.

Mission Tower as we continued reversing.

Terminal Tower as we neared our loading location.

We arrived into LAUPT on Track 13 and stopped for a safety stop before we arrived at our loading location. Elizabeth and I went to Trimana, a store at Union Station, where we bought a bouquet of flowers for the table, ten bottles of orange juice for our group, plus chocolate donuts for me and a danish for my loving wife. We returned to the train and a few minutes later, Bob Riskie, a former retired Amtrak conductor, came into the car and was our first passenger of the day.

Norm had set a place, similar to how the military does, in honor of Chris Parker.

Bob Riskie and Norm having an early morning conversation as Elizabeth and I ate breakfast. Our train, Pacific Surfliner 564, departed Los Angeles on time and we started our remembrance trip of Chris Parker. In the dining area Norm had a selection of breakfast pastries and goodies as well as coffee, orange juice and soft drinks.

The Los Angeles skyline on a most beautiful morning.

BNSF 6173 East was heading out of Hobart Yard and would follow us to Fullerton this morning.

My most beautiful wife Elizabeth in the "Tioga Pass".

DT Junction, where we crossed the Union Pacific.

The Southwest Chief would be arriving in Los Angeles early this morning.

At Los Nietos, we crossed the former Pacific Electric line to Yorba Linda, now another Union Pacific line.

At Fullerton, we picked up Carl Morrison and Robert (Bob) Gordon.

Robert and Norm.

Carl and Bob. The train continued on to Anaheim where we picked up more passengers.

David Aten was one of the trio who boarded here.

Barbara Cepinko, who along with her husband Steve Grande, also joined the group in Anaheim.

Steve Grande joined the others in the lounge area.

The train crossed Santiago Creek and we saw the progress of the trail they are putting in to join to Santiago Park. The train stopped at Santa Ana and our last new passenger joined us.

Robin Bowers boarded the car in Santa Ana. I took this time to read an e-mail from Larry Boerio. I then opened it up to conversation about Chris Parker, with everyone sharing their memories. Hearing them really helped me as I am still dealing with the loss of a very good and dear friend.

All too soon we reached the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. Now enjoy a trip along the ocean.

I hope you enjoyed the views along the shore. Now we were reaching the point of the damage from the waves. In mid-September, I rode to Oceanside with high waves crashing onto the rocks and the tracks. The tracks were shut down for over two weeks and BNSF added more rocks along the route but this action cracked the rocks below the tracks. The weekend of October 16th and 17th would also see a shut-down of Metrolink and Amtrak service so they can drill down and use gunnite to solve the problem. What a good thing that this memorial ride was not on the weekend. Now take a trip though this wave-damaged area of the railroad.

The trip though the wave-damaged area to County Line.

The train crossed San Mateo Creek.

We ran south past the life gaurd station on the bluff.

The train crossed San Onofre Creek.

More track equipment along with boulders north of CP Songs.

Passing through CP Songs.

Our train ran by the former San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Later we ran through CP Don.

We went by the end of track, which in the future will be connected to the mainline at CP Las Pulgas.

The train ran across Las Pulgas Road.

Down this piece of straight track.

The location where we took this curve to reach the new bridge over Las Pulgas Creek.

This new retaining wall was quickly passed by.

Las Pulgas, where double track starts again.

Santa Fe power at Stuart Mesa, after BNSF took over the operation from the former Pacific Sun Railroad. We ran the rest of the way to Oceanside.

Coaster train 644 waits for its departure time.

The train ran through Carlsbad.

We ran through CP Carl.

While Carl Morrison was enjoying his trip.

Next we ran through CP Farr.

The Surfliner then crossed Batiquitos Lagoon.

We continued south through Leucadia.

The train went through Encinitas.

At CP Swami, we diverted to the east mainline.

The train crossed San Elijo Lagoon.

Pacific Surfliner 567 had private car New York Central 3 on its rear markers before we stopped at Solana Beach.

The Solana Beach station after we left.

The Del Mar race track.

The train crossed San Dieguito Lagoon.

A little later, we ran through CP Crosby.

We passed the old Del Mar station, after which is the trip along the Del Mar bluffs.

The trip along the Del Mar bluffs.

The view as we had just gone underneath the Coast Highway.

The Pacific Surfliner crossed Los Punasquitos Lagoon.

Our train ran through CP Torrey.

We ran though the Coaster Sorrento Valley station.

Our train ran through CP Sorrento Valley.

Next was the climb of the grade to CP Scripps.

The train ran through CP Scripps after which was another climb.

The climb up Miramar Hill.

The train ran through CP Cumbres.

Our train was headed to CP Rose.

CP Rose.

Just north of old Elvira, the future San Diego Trolley Blue Line extension came into view.

The train went under the CA Highway 52 bridges.

Coaster Train 639 on its way back to Oceanside.

Our train went under the new bridge that the Blue Line will use.

Travelling through Lower Rose Canyon.

Our train ran through the intermediate signals.

The train took another curve along the future San Diego Trolley Blue Line extension.

A Blue Line test train went by us.

We continued on our journey, passing through CP Moreno.

The train went under the Interstate 8 bridges and stopped at Old Town.

The train went through CP Corvair.

The old switch for the US Marine wye which is out of service.

Pacific Surfliner 569 went by us on its northbound run.

The train ran through CP Ash before arriving at the Santa Fe station in San Diego. We all stayed on the car unitl we were cut off at the south end of the station.

Carl Morrison enjoying himself at the end of the southbound trip.

Our train would return to the track behind us and become Pacific Surfliner 777 later. Carl, Robin, myself and Elizabeth bought trolley day passes and received the very new Pronto cards which replaced the Compass cards.

This trolley would take us to Santee on the Green Line.

Carl enjoying his ride on the trolley. Chris Parker always really enjoyed riding the trolley.

A group shot at Santee. We took the trolley back to Arnele Avenue and then took the Orange Line to 12th and Imperial where we detrolleyed.

Our trolley went to the San Diego Courthouse.

Our next trolley came from America Plaza. Here we transferred to the Blue Line to San Ysidro.

San Diego Imperial Valley 3GS21B 701 built by National Railway Equipment in 2008 at San Ysidro.

San Diego and Imperial Valley GP40-3 3112, ex. Arizona Central 3112; exx. Arizona Central 410, nee Florida East Coast GP40 410 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1971 and 3GS21B 702, built by National Railway Equipment in 2008 at San Ysidro.

From here we took the trolley back to 24th Street where Elizabeth and I went to Jersey Mike's for lunch while Carl and Robin went to Seaport Village for their mid-day meal. After lunch we took the Blue Line back to America Plaza then reversed to 12th and Imperial where we took a Green Line trolley to finish up the system.

Coaster trains spent their day at the San Diego trolley yard. We returned to the San Diego Trolley with Elizabeth finishing her first complete San Diego Trolley tour. The Silver Line Vintage Trolley only operates on weekends so we could not do that this day. The two of us made our way to the harbor but stopped by the station for a picture.

The "Tioga Pass" at rest in San Diego. We walked over to the Flagship Tours box office and bought a 5:30 PM Sunset Harbor Tour ticket. With plenty of time to spare, we walked over to the Maritime Museum as I wanted to see the Southern Pacific Berkeley Ferry. We paid the admission and I was on the middle level of this ferry but no one could go up to the top level as it was closed due to a bee problem. The exhbits were all excellent and it had been seventeen years since Elizabeth's last visit. I visted the Dolphin, a submarine, then we visit the San Salvardor.

Elizabeth on the San Salvador.

The author on the San Salvardor with the Berkeley in the background.

The Berkeley in this view.

Disney cruise ship The Wonder was at the Port of San Diego From here we went to H.M.S. Surprise which had been used in the films "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and "Master and Commander".

Elizabeth at the wheel. From here we toured the Star of India then walked back but I stopped to take a picture.

On the way there we walked past the Disney cruise ship The Wonder. We finished at the Maritime Museum then walked to the Harbor Tour and started the line. At 5:15 PM they let us down the ramp but had to wait for the other passengers to return. At 5:27 PM they turned us loose to board the boat.

Our boat was the Spirit of San Diego and we boarded, taking seats on a very crowded boat as passengers had stayed on board to do both the south and north portions of the tour. We departed at 5:33 PM.

Reversing out with USN Midway to our right.

Looking toward the Maritime Museum.

My beautiful wife Elizabeth on the Spirit of San Diego.

View of San Diego.

The Coronado Bridge.

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is the fifth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the United States Navy. She is the second Navy ship to have been named after the former President Abraham Lincoln. Her home port is NAS North Island, San Diego, California; she is a member of the United States Pacific Fleet. She is administratively responsible to Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific, and operationally served as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Nine and host to Carrier Air Wing Two until 2012. She was returned to the fleet on 12 May 2017, marking the successful completion of her refuelling and complex overhaul carried out at Newport News Shipyard. On 1 April 2019 USS Abraham Lincoln was deployed to the Middle East as the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 12 and Carrier Air Wing Seven assigned to her.

Downtown San Diego in the late afternoon.

Fly Navy on this building.

Downtown San Diego in the late afternoon.

Helicopter hangars.

View of San Diego.

A catamaran with San Diego behind it.

Tom Ham's Light House on Shelter Island.

The North Runway.

The control tower.

United States Navy Base.

Jet fuel tanks.

Helicopter hangars.

Airplane hangars and a helicopter.

Two view of USN Coronado.

Looking to the northwest.

Hangars for our quick response team of US Navy pilots on the right.

Looking out to sea where The Wonder is sailing.

Those mountains are in Mexico.

One Disney boat is leaving and another one is coming in.

Bunkers for ammunition storage.

A helicopter and a half moon.

Looking down the Coast.

California sea lions are seen on the dock.

Twilight view with a cross on the hill.

View looking back to downtown.

Another twilight view.

In this view you can see the Coronado Bridge.

My last view of the USN Midway. We returned to the dock and walked back to the "Tioga Pass".

The San Diego Santa Fe station on the way back to our private car. We all talked in the lounge and enjoyed the camaraderie while we waited for Pacific Surfliner 584 to arrive into the station. Once it did I visited with Amtrak Conductor C.J. Hardman for a few minutes before I returned on board.

This number looked very familiar to me as the train came into San Diego to hook up to the "Tioga Pass". 21 is the current year and 15 was the date Chris Parker was born. A BNSF freight train passed on its way north while we were still in the station. A couple from one of the condominiums across the road came over and received a tour of the car, much to their delight and amazement. We left San Diego on time despite Amtrak's late boarding of the passengers. We passed that BNSF train as we made our way to CP Cumbres at the top of Miramar Hill. It was a very good trip back and good conversations were had on the way as we munched on some chips and dip. We met another southbound freight train south of CP Songs then once in Orange County, we dropped our guests off at their respective stations before Norm, Elizabeth and myself were the only three left on the car. We made our way to Los Angeles Union Station and I asked Norm if we could stay on the car one more night as it was 11:30 PM and could be over two hours before the trainset was moved to the yard, where our car was. Norm agreed immediately and we were off to dreamland.

10/16/2021 This morning, we slept until 7:30 AM and sat in the lounge area reading books until Norm joined us. We were still in the maintenance bays and could not get off. One employee finally removed a barrier and then Norm detrained and retrieved his truck. We moved our belongings to the loading door then Norm sent me off, wearing my mask, to put the materials into his truck. He and Elizabeth closed the blinds and Norm locked the car then we walked around to the truck. After Norm dumped the garbage, he drove us back to our car and we then followed him out of the gate and Elizabeth drove us home. It had been a great trip and I felt much better about Chris Parker's death now that I had shared my thoughts and opinions about him with everyone. It really helped hearing all the very nice and complimentary things about him that were shared.