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The Two Day Trip to Home 2/3-4/2021

by Chris Guenzler

2/03/2021 We checked out of the Best Western in Cottonwood and stopped by Walmart so Elizabeth could get film before we drove through Jerome then down to Prescott Valley where ate breakfast at a McDonald's outside in the warm sunshine. From here, we followed Elizabeth's directions to get us to the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott.

Consolidated Mines 0-4-0T 35 built in 1887 for Lincoln Rapid Transit Company in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was donated to the Prescott Chamber of Commerce in 1924 and in 1932, was donated to the Sharlot Hall Historical Society. It is on display at the Sharlot Hall Museum.

Display boards about railroading in Prescott and area. We then drove a short distance to Iron Springs Road and found two relocated stations that we had come here for.

The Santa Fe station from Drake built 1901 which was moved to Prescott in the 1970s. It is now the Flourish Design Company.

The Santa Fe station from Hillside built in 1902 which was moved to Prescott in the 1970's. It is now the Iron Springs Cafe. Our next stop was in Skull Valley.

Railroading signals.

Santa Fe upper quadrant wigwag signal.

Santa Fe semaphore signal from Lawrence, Kansas.

The 1899 Santa Fe Skull Valley station undergoing roof restoration.

Track maintenance equipment.

The Santa Fe section house. We then drove toward Wickenburg.

Views along US 89.

Granite Mountain viewpoint from the southbound lanes of Arizona 89.

BNSF 5832 East at Congress. From here we drove the rest of the way to Wickenburg.

Santa Fe 2-8-0 761 built in 1900. Originally displayed at Stone Park, it was moved to its current location beside the Sant Fe station in 2003 and is now under cover.

Southern Pacific wooden drover's caboose 604 built 1929.

The railroad display under cover.

The 1895 Santa Fe station at Wickenburg, now the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center.

Display boards in Wickenburg. We left here and as we went through Aguila, we both remembered the joke of the little Mexican children who called us "crazy gringos" for being outside when it was 114 degrees waiting to do a photo runby with Santa Fe 3751 in August 2002.

Contrails along US 60. We then took Highway 72 and came to an area where we had more memories.

It was out in these sand dunes that Santa Fe 3751 performed a very memorable photo runby during the NRHS convention return trip to Los Angeles day one. We had both been on this excursion but had not yet met.

Here is one of the three photo runby photographs from that day. We drove the rest of the way into Parker and stopped at a Circle K to get donuts for me and an apple danish for Elizabeth.

The 1908 Santa Fe station in Parker which is the office of the Arizona and California Railroad.

Arizona and California crane 199794.

Santa Fe heavyweight coach 1126 built by Pullman is on display in Parker. From here we drove to near Interstate 40 where we gassed up the car on the way to Kingman.

A westbound BNSF baretable train passing an eastbound BNSF stack train along Interstate 40.

BNSF 3984 West.

BNSF 7237 at Griffith.

Elizabeth watching the train go by after she took her picture.

BNSF 7380 leading a baretable train at East Griffith. From here we drove to Kingman then up US 93 to Chloride. We pulled up to what we thought the depot and a gentleman pulled up from down the road. I asked if this was the station and he replied that it was not; it was just down the road on the left and we thanked him. So we parked for our final Arizona station of the trip.

The Santa Fe Chloride station built in 1898.

Original Santa Fe tracks in front of the station. It came into town from Kingman in 1898 to 1935 and was known as the B&F 'back and forth'. Chloride was founded in 1862 with the discovery of silver ore and is an old mining camp that never really died. At one time there were over 72 mines operating in Chloride. The name comes from the silver chloride found in the hills among other minerals in the area. The two of us drove back into Kingman and went to Arby's to get dinner then drove over to the Best Western Wayfarer's Inn where we checked in for the last night of the trip. We ate our dinner and then I wrote the story before we relaxed for the rest of the evening.

2/4/2021 We got up in Kingman and after we packed up and checked out, we drove to the Black Bear Diner which unfortunately did not open until 8:00 AM. We drove to Needles and made our first stop at the Needles El Garces Harvey House.

The 1908 El Garces, a Harvey House and Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway station. After the original station was destroyed by fire in 1906, the Santa Fe built El Garces - a large neoclassical structure containing a Harvey House hotel, restaurant and train station. It was the "crown jewel" of the Harvey House network, and among the first train stations made of concrete. The hotel and restaurant closed in 1949 as passenger traffic declined. The Santa Fe converted the interior for office space and baggage use in the 1950s and demolished the eastern third of the building in 1961. In 1988, the railroad abandoned El Garces entirely; the city purchased the building in 1999 and reopened it as the El Garces Intermodal Transportation Facility in 2014. In May 2016, Amtrak opened a dedicated waiting room for Southwest Chief passengers. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

How often do you get to drive underneath a Santa Fe cantilever signal?

Unknown Santa Fe refrigerator dispatch on display in Needles.

Santa Fe refrigerator dispatch 12458 on display in Needles.

Santa Fe caboose 999224, formerly Santa Fe 2169, also on display here. Elizabeth and I had breakfast at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Needles and had to sit outside due to COVID-19 regulations. We donned our heavy jackets for the first time on this trip and enjoyed our meal.

BNSF 8236 East at Homer. Next we drove to Goffs.

BNSF 3787 East at Goffs. We made our way to Kelso.

The 1924 Union Pacific Kelso station. This was the second station built on site and ceased passenger operations in 1962 and Union Pacific closed the facility in 1985. Renovations began in 2002 and the building reopened to the public as the new visitor center for Mojave National Preserve in October 2005.

The Union Pacific herald on the track side of the station.

The train board from the past.

Looking in through the window to the Kelso depot.

One last view of the Kelso depot, Elizabeth's first time seeing this incredible building.

Union Pacific 2617 West which was her first train in Kelso.

Kelso sand dunes.

Views from along the road of Mohave National Preserve.

Views from the Granite Mountains view point along Kelbaker Road. From here we drove Kelbaker Road down to National Trails Highway, went through Amboy just behind a westbound BNSF train which we caught up to short of Siberia.

BNSF 8448 West which was the same train we saw leave Kingman this morning. I drove us the rest of the way to Barstow where we gassed up the car and Elizabeth drove us back to our apartment in Santa Ana. It had been a most wonderful trip to Arizona and we certainly covered a lot of ground and saw many new and exciting things and a few old and familiar sights.