Facebook Page

Chris Guenzler 2016 End of the Year Review

I left you at home where I spent my New Years at home again. It felt funny being here but I needed a change in my life. It had been a great year in my life for most things, including Santa Ana Unified School District's Heninger Elementary School, working again with Mrs. Wright and the great kids 4th through 6th graders in Special Education. We worked with only 5th and 6th graders when we came back in August. This is a dream school with no troublemakers and kids who really want to learn. I am truly blessed.

Most importantly everyone in the Guenzler family is doing well. I pray that God keeps the rest of us all going strong in 2016. I did lose Keith Emerson who died the night of March 10th, 2016. That one hit me really hard and a spent days listening to old ELP shows to get me through it.

The concerts I saw this year were Paul Stanley Soul Station support Tom Griesgraber at the Coach House which was so fantastic with Robin Bowers. The next night the Young Dubliners support Kelly Bowlin Band and Michael Vanags at the Coach House with Robin, Caroline Boullon along with Haynes, Michael and his wife with the Dubs always a good show. In August I saw Yes at the Grove playing all of Drama and Tales of Topographical Oceans. In October saw Ian Anderson doing Jethro Tull the Rock Opera at the Pantages and in November it was ARW or Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman at the Orpheum Theatre and the Young Dubliners again at the Coach House.

Hockey games I attended was the Ducks and the Capitols at the Honda Center with the Caps winning in the shootout. I saw the Penguins and Los Angles Kings game at the Staples Center. My Pittsburgh Penguins did win the Stanley Cup in 2016. I then saw them play again at the Honda Center. Thanks to Maureen at Jefferson once again!

I still belong to the Orange County Railroad Historical Society and do many shows of my trips for them. I belong to the National Railway Historical Society and always attend their convention which was in Denver, Colorado. I am a member of the Train Travel Group in Fullerton that meets the 4th Monday night of the month and sometimes we take trips together. I have good friends in each of these groups and I feel very lucky to be a member of each one. I produced my seventh railroad calendar "The Chris Guenzler 2017 Railroad Calendar" via Vista Print. I also no longer host Lets Talk Trains but I did host one more show about the NRHS 2016 Convention Trip.

Now for my 2016 trips and events:

Bill Compton and I went out and did a BNSF Mojave Sub Trip in mid January between Bartsow and Mojave, California, shooting pictures at mostly new locations. In February Chris Parker, Robin Bowers and I did the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation Metro Gold Line Extension and Shop Tours trip. We rode the new extension before the public opening out to the end of the line at APU/Citrus College Station taking pictures there before heading back one station west to Azusa Downtown Station for more pictures. We all then boarded the bus for the R22 Shop for a very complete tour of this brand new shop complex in Duarte. We returned to Azusa for lunch at the Canyon City Barbeque. After lunch we went to the original Gold Line R21 shop along the Los Angeles River. It was a very well planned out tour and I was glad I did it. In March I flew to Portland meeting Chris Parker. The next morning we met the Bob and Elizabeth Alkire who joined me finishing up the Trimet Max Milwaukie Line then we did the Portland Streetcar B loop followed by the A loop all new mileage for me. Next we did the Oregon Rail Heritage Center before heading south towards Corvallis stopping at train stations, short line railroad, steam engines and any covered bridges we could find. We did the Friday night Railfan and Railroading Pizza Party where I should my program,"A Year of Trains in the Life of Chris Guenzler 2015". The next morning 3 more covered bridges before Winterail which was excellent. Sunday we did the Post Winterail Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad McCloud Railway 25 Trip which was excellent. I flew home Sunday night.

I worked up to the day when I left to ride the Norfolk & Western 611 for the first time ever. I took Pacific Surfliner 579 to LAUPT then the Southwest Chief to La Plata. I started off going to all new photo location for me in Missouri. Day one of the La Plata Spring Railfan Event 2016 found me hiking to the signal bridge at Hart. Day 2 found me at new spots east of La Plata and getting to see the construction work being done to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. That night good friend John Green arrived into La Plata. Day 3 John and I went to the BNSF bridge at East Sibley then worked our way back to all my new spots for John to get his pictures there. Day 4 was east of La Plata at new and old photo locations. The next morning, I took the Southwest Chief to Chicago had a Gold Coast Char Dog before taking the Capitol Limited to Washington DC arriving there the next day. I rode the new Washington DC Streetcar before boarding my Viewliner Sleeper on the Crescent, having dinner then sleeping most of the way to Salisbury. While I was sleeping during the night of April 7, 2016, I passed the 1,450,000th rail mile 1.6 miles north of Elma, Virginia at MP 137.2 aboard the Crescent. I detrained at 1:42 AM and took a taxi Cab over to the Econo Lodge for my two night stay. The next morning I taxied over to the North Carolina Transportation Museum where I saw the N&W 611 under steam for my first time. I toured this great museum and rode the train in the early afternoon. Now it was time my first live encounter with N&W 611 moving. I set up with some other photographers and watched it move onto the Spencer Turntable. I walked to the roundhouse side now all by myself I had the N&W 611 in prefect lighting on the turntable. I watched it back off the turntable and couple up to its auxiliary water tender, How much coal does the tender of the N&W 611 hold? The answer, 180 clam shovels of coal. I watched the Museum train came by my photo location. Then I set up to wait. The diesels for our two N&W 611 excursion trains came by my photo location. Dave Pressley next arrived and joined the photo line with others you soon joined me. Next the N&W 611 backed by my photo line then ran by us. We headed back to David's car. It had been a great afternoon watching the N&W 611 move before me under steam for the first time in my life. We drove US 29 into Kannapolis where David took me to the the new Amtrak station. We also found the old Southern Railway station and set up there for the Piedmont Train 76 which we photographed. David knows his way around and soon we were at the North Polk Street station of the Charlotte Lynx Light Rail line. We took pictures of our train arriving before we boarded and rode a roundtrip over their entire system at the present time.

We returned to Salisbury for the night. Up the next morning, we went back to the North Carolina Transportation Museum and parked the car before we boarded the Norfolk & Western 611 The Virginian trip on 4/9/2016 from Spencer to Lynchburg. This was my first ever N&W 611 steam trip over the route of the Crescent all in daylight. It was a fantastic trip and I stayed onboard to ride around the wye in Lynchburg. We returned to the Econo Lodge for the night. The next morning, we parked across the street from the NTCM and then boarded the N&W 611 The Blue Ridge Special. Once we got onto the Asheville Line this trip would all be new rail mileage for me. I had been back here with Chris Parker and we had stopped at Old Fort and the Andrew Geyser. Now I would finally get to enjoy this from the train behind the N&W 611. The trip over this railroad around around all the loops to gain elevation was incredible and getting to see Andrew Gesyer blow its top was fantastic. We went through five tunnels then dropped into Asheville. I once again stayed on the train and rode over the Asheville Wye. The trip back was just as incredible. I had now ridden two trips behind the N&W 611 and I was one happy person. David dropped me off at the Salisbury Amtrak station and after shooting night shots of it, I waited with other trip passengers for our trains to arrive. My train came in early at 2:16 AM and I was back in my Viewliner Sleeper's bed before the train pulled our of the Salisbury station on time and slept all the Alexandria, so I had almost seven hours of sleep. I detrained at Washington DC and went to Club Acela with me using my time wisely. That afternoon I boarded the Capitol Limited for Chicago and then the next day the Southwest Chief which I took to Riverside then boarded a Metrolink train to Santa Ana. 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 worked my shift then Robin drove me home.

On the last day of April I went to Fullerton Railroad Days 2016 which was weird because for once we did not have a booth. In the middle of May I did the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation Pre-opening Expo Line with Robin Bowers and Chris Parker. Next I did the Trainriders Group Expo Line trip with AC Adam, Brian and Shirley. I left the group at LAUPT and returned to Santa Ana. Robin Bowers and I drove to Riverside after my day of work and rode a first mid day trip on the new Metrolink Perris Valley Line on 6/6/2016 which was opening day. Once my school year was done I took the San Joaquin 715 to Martinez then Capitol Corridor Train 642 to Sacramento for two nights at the Vagabond Inn, The next day Bart and Sarah Jennings along with Dave Arthur took the NASCAR Race Train to Sears Point on 6/26/2016, I sat just below the Jennings then sat next to Sarah as we watched a very good race. It was plenty of fun spending time with my good friends. Bart and Sarah Jennings really enjoyed their day at the Sears Point Race Track. The next day it was San Joaquin 702 to Pacific Surfliner 580 to Santa Ana with Gene from Phoenix where I then put my luggage in the car and a tired Chris walked over Track 1 to wait for Metrolink 641 to Fullerton for my Train Riders Meeting tonight. We walked over to Joe's No Limit Restaurant and had the meeting. We later walked over to see the Southwest Chief before I walked over to Track 3 to wait for Metrolink 608 which I took home. I drove home and did the watering before going to bed ending my 3rd Sears Point Race Train Trip.

The Trip to the 2014 NRHS Denver Convention

Now for this year's NRHS 2016 Denver Convention Trip and I drove my Ford Focus to save us all plenty of money. Robin Bowers would join me for almost the entire trip. Chris Parker did the week before the convention and Elizabeth Alkire did eight days with us including the entire NRHS Convention in Denver. I picked Robin up at his apartment in Huntington Beach and we drove to Needles for gas and lunch. We caught our first train in Kingman Canyon, shot the Santa Fe 3759 and the Kingman Santa Fe station before we caught the first westbound train and our eastbound just east of Valentine. From here we drove to Ash Fork then north to MP 396 on the Crookton Cutoff and had three trains there. We shot the Ash Fork Santa Fe station before we went to Williams for the Santa Fe station, SP&S 2-8-2 539 and then dinner. From here we drove into Flagstaff. We drove first to the Northern Arizona Museum for Southwest Lumber Mills INC 2-6-6-2 12. Next we shot the Santa Fe Flagstaff passenger and freight station then the Southwest Lumber Mills INC 2-8-0 25. We stayed there at the Snow Peak Inn for the night. The next morning it was raining so it was a good thing we had photographed those steam engines last evening. We drove east to Two Guns where the rain ended and then drove to the BNSF Canyon Diablo Bridge very slowly and steadily. We had five trains including a 3.5 hour late Southwest Chief with the Tioga Pass on the rear end. We drove back to the paved roads very slowly and steadily then we decided to visit the Meteor Crater. After that we drove to Winslow for a pair of trains at the west end on town. After that we stopped at the Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona statue. From were we went to the La Posada Motel in the old Santa Fe Harvey House in Winslow. Next we went to Holbrook for the Santa Fe passenger and freight house. Next we stopped at the Painted Desert for pictures of everything there. Then it was to Gallup for the Defiance Coal 0-4-0T 2 and an early dinner. On US 491 we stopped at Ford Butte, Bennett Peak, Table Rock, Barber Peak, The Cathedral and Shiprock. From there US 24 took us east to Farmington where we gassed up the car and checked into the Rodeway Inn for the night. The next morning, we drove to Durango and chased the Durango & Silverton Railroad getting the train at six different locations allowing for excellent photographs. It had been a fantastic chase! We drove north on US 550 crossing over Coal Bank Pass 10,640 feet, Molas Pass 10,970 feet and Red Mountain Pass 11,018 feet on the way to Ridgway, our next stop of the day. There we stopped at the Ridgway Railroad Museum with replica Galloping Goose Rio Grande Southern Motor #1. Next we drove to the Cimarron Railroad display and found the man with the keys to the city lot where we shot the D&RGW 2-8-0 278 and train set. From here it was on to the Gunnison County Pioneer Museum for D&RGW 2-6-0 268, its train and other railroad related things. Coming back we shot the Denver & Rio Grande station in Montrose then drove to Dolores for the replica Rio Grande Southern Dolores station and RGS Goose 5 1933 Pierce-Arrow orig, Wayne Bus Body. We checked into the Dolores Mountain Inn and had dinner at the Ponderosa Restaurant. On July 4th, 2016 we rode the Durango & Silverton Railroad and then visited the Las Animas Live Steamers before driving to the San Juan Inn and Cabins for the night. The next day we drove to Chama to photograph all the narrow gauge equipment there before Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad chase where we got more excellent photographs. We caught the train at 14 different locations. Next we shot all the equipment in Antonio. We left Antonio after shooting the D&RGW station then went north to the D&RGW La Jara station. We headed to Alamosa for the D&RGW station plus the Carolina Southern F7A 9163 and D&RGW 4-6-0 169 along with B-1 Business Car. We stopped for lunch before we drove to the San Luis Central shops for the San Luis Central SW-9 70. We headed northwest to the D&RGW Monte Vista and Del Norte stations. We saw miles of stored railroad cars. At South Fork we found the equipment of the Denver Rio Grande Railroad, a D&RGW water tower and a railroad display of a Seaboard Coast Line observation car PPCX 6401, White Satin Brighton 44 tonner 1 and Santa Fe Business Car 36. From here we drove north to Salida where we shot the Koppers Company Railway 0-4-0T 40, checked into the Classic America Inn and had an excellent meal at the Quincy Restaurant in Salida before we returned to our room for the night. The next morning we drove to Buena Vista Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad station. From here we drove to Breckenridge to the Highline Railroad Park which has the Colorado & Southern 2-6-0 9 on display. From here we went back to Fairplay and the South Park City Museum. We gassed up and picked up some breakfast to go before we drove to Cripple Creek and shot the 11:00 AM departure of the Cripple Creek & Victor Railroad steam engine 2 on their train with steam engine 3 on the other train this morning. We then drove to the Royal Gorge Park for the D&RGW 2-6-2 K37 499 then went out onto the Suspension Bridge for the Royal Gorge Railroad train running through the Royal Gorge. We stopped at Canon City for the Royal Gorge Railroad F7A 402, Royal Gorge Railroad Shay 8 and the Santa Fe Station. From here we drove to Pueblo and visited the Railroad Museum shops. Here we got to see the Colorado & Wyoming Railroad GP-9 102, US Department of Transportation experimental guide way train, Federal Railroad Administration Tracked Levitated Vehicle and the US Department of Transportation Limry Maglev Test Vehicle. We left Pueblo but stopped at Pinon for BNSF 6009 North. This was Robin's first ever Joint Line train. At Colorado Springs we stopped at the Santa Fe/Colorado Southern Freighthouse, Santa Fe Colorado Springs station, Rio Grande Colorado Springs station then found the Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway 5 at the Broadmoor Inn. From here we drove to Denver via Palmer Lake and fought the traffic into Denver and finally reached the Clarion Inn for this night. We slept in and I worked on a story but had to stop because it was time to leave. We packed up and checked out of the Clarion Inn. We gassed up the car and drove the short distance over to the Forney Museum. Here we shot the Forney Locomotive F&CPRY 0-4-0 108, Forney & Central Platte Valley Railway Swedish 1909 Rail Combo Car, Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 4005, Chicago & Northwestern 4-6-0 444, Henschel locomotive NR7, Denver Tramway 77 built by Woeber Carriage Company in 1906 and the Denver Tramway Cable Car 40 built in 1888 plus other things in this great museum. After the visit, we drove on Interstate 76 east to our first stop in Fort Morgan where we found the Great Western 0-4-0T 2176. We drove towards the Amtrak station and ahead of us we saw a very late California Zephyr arriving into Fort Morgan 6 hours and 49 minutes late. We then drove to Sterling for the Great Western 0-4-0T 2121 and the Sterling Union Pacific station. Next we drove to Ovid for the Great Western 0-4-0T 2150. From here we drove to North Platte making the first of three photo stops here. First we went to Cody Park for the Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 3977 and Union Pacific DD40AX 6922. The second stop was at Memorial Park to the other steam engine in North Platte the Union Pacific 2-8-0 480, the third stop was at the Golden Spike Tower where we took pictures from the open air viewpoint on the 7th floor and then went up to the enclosed 8th floor viewpoint. After that we went to Applebees for an excellent meal before we gassed up the car and checked into the America's Best Value Inn for the night.

We got up in North Platte after an overnight series of storms. We drove to MacDonalds for breakfast before we left North Platte for good. We drove west on US 30 to Paxton and found the first station of the day. From Paxton we drove to Sutherland where US 30 was closed so we detoured on Interstate 80 to Roscoe and were back by the Union Pacific mainline. We drove to Ogallala and had to make a stop for the Farmers Elevator Company GP-9 7558. From there we drove to Lodge Pole and found the Union Pacific Lodge Pole station. Between Lodge Pole and Cheyenne we took US 30 and found then photographed 11 Union Pacific trains on the UP Overland Route. In Cheyenne we found the Wyoming Merci Car, Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 4004, Union Pacific Cheyenne station, the BNSF yard and Union Pacific 4-6-2 1242. From here we went to the grade crossing at Southwest Drive for BNSF 6035 North with an empty coal train above going over the Union Pacific 8455 East with CSX 112 headed for the Cheyenne yard. We went though a major thunderstorm on the way to the Ames Monument. We went into Laramie where we replaced the wiper blades before we shot the Laramie Union Pacific station. Next we walked over in LaBonte Park for the Union Pacific 2-8-0 535 and display train. From here we went to the Motel 8 and checked in for the night. The next morning, Saturday we left Laramie after breakfast then drove back over Sherman Hill finding a train and shot Union Pacific 8843 East with CSX 136 in the engine consist. From here we drove into Cheyenne and went over the bridge but no action from Union Pacific 844 this morning. We took US 89 south to Greeley and went to the station. From here we went south to Lasalle for the Union Pacific station. From here we drove to Windsor for the Great Western station and display. Next we went to Fort Collins for the Fort Collins Union Pacific station and the Colorado & Southern Freighthouse. From there we parked by the baseball diamond and walked to the Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society where I was met by Bob Manning. We rode from the shop building to the boarding location at the City Park station where we then rode their regular route. We stopped by the old Fort Collins Municipal Railway Car Barn built in 1919 and saw their newest trolley. We then drove north on Interstate 25 to Exit 2 in Wyoming to the Terry Bison Ranch where we would spend this night in a Cabin 1 and two 4:30 Bison Train Tour tickets. At 4:30 PM we were on the Bison Train Tour for a trip around the ranch. We saw horses, ostriches, llamas and camels. The real treat was seeing all of the bison in their pastures up close and personal. We also crossed the state line twice on our trip. After that great train trip, we went to the Senators Restaurant and I had a sirloin which was one of the best I had ever eaten. I had to walk over to the lobby and sat outside to upload the Fort Collins story. Then I wrote this story and then I finished this story then tried to upload it and it worked. I called Elizabeth to proof it then called it a night. I got Robin up and soon we checked out of our room and we were headed south down Interstate 25 to CO Highway 52 east. In Hudson we crossed the BNSF mainline and we saw a headlight coming and it was BNSF 3003 East. We stayed on CO Highway 53 east to CO Highway 79 south to Bennet then US 40 east to Strasburg and the Comanche Crossing Museum. Here was the Union Pacific Strasburg station. This was the location where the Kansas & Pacific Railroad was completed. Also in Strasburg are 4 passenger cars, Great Western Sugar Company 0-4-0T 6 and Pacific Fruit Express NW-2 1048. On the way to Limon I pulled off the highway for Union Pacific 8505 West on the old Kansas Pacific mainline east of Byers. We then went to the Limon Heritage Museum & Railroad Park Complex followed by the Hugo Union Pacific Roundhouse restoration and Union Pacific Hugo station. Further east in Kit Carson we found the Kit Carson Union Pacific station and Union Pacific caboose 25400. Driving south to Lamar once there we found Santa Fe 2-6-0 1819 and Lamar Santa Fe station, a 103 degree temperature and the most modern self car wash, so we left Lamar with a clean car. At the Las Animas Santa Fe station it was 105 degrees. On the way to La Junta, we found BNSF 5762 East with DPUs on the rear end at MP 546. From here we drove into La Junta where it was 107 degrees. Here we found the La Junta Santa Fe station, Santa Fe caboose 999602, Santa Fe 2-6-2 1024 and USA switcher 7575 with a display train. Next we drove out to Delhi for the Santa Fe wig wag crossing signal, the last one in Colorado. We shot Santa Fe stations in Rocky Ford, Manzanola, Fowler and Boone. We caught BNSF 8796 East at East Pueblo under smokey skies. The smoke is from two fires. The one here is from the Hayden Pass fire caused by lightning and the rest of the smoke is from the Nederlander fire that at that point cause is unknown. We drove to the Ramada Inn and checked in for the night. The next morning we left the Ramada Inn and gassed up the car before we drove Interstate 25 to CO Highway 470 to US 285 west to Turkey Creek Road to our first destination of the day, the World Famous Tiny Town & Railroad. We got there an hour before they opened so we rode the train and I shot almost all of the buildings. Next we went first to Central City for Colorado & Southern 2-8-0 71 and Colorado & Southern combine 20. In Blackhawk we saw Colorado Central 2-8-0 71. In Idaho Springs we saw Colorado & Southern 2-8-0 60 and Colorado & Southern passenger car. From here we drove to Georgetown and parked at the east end of the railroad's parking lot. We walked down the bike trail under the trestle and took a trail to the prime photography spot here and waited for the train to cross the Devil's Gate Viaduct. In the museum at Silver Plume we shot Georgetown Loop Baldwin 2-6-2 4 built in 1912 for the Klondike Mines Ry in the Yukon Territory, Canada. We rode the 12:30 PM train behind the Porter locomotive and Robin really enjoyed his trip aboard. From here we drove to the Super

Robin and I got up and I finished the Georgetown Loop story before we had breakfast at the Super 8 in Westminster. We gassed up the car then drove out to where 88th Street goes under the new Denver Fastrack line to the Denver International Airport to wait for Chris Parker to call and tell us he landed in Denver. We would see trains cross 88th Street so sit back and watch the show. We saw 6 A line trains while we waited. Chris Parker then called and said he had landed and would be out front of the arrival area. We left eight minutes later and drove to the airport to the arrival level but no Chris so we made a second pass and Chris was standing there so I pulled up. Robin went to the back seat and I helped Chris put his bag into the car. We left the airport and took the Toll Road {warning this one does not take cash and records your license plate number!} to Interstate 25 heading to Wyoming. We stopped at a Colorado Rest Area before we drove by the Terry Bison Ranch and showed it to Chris from the freeway. We then stopped in Cheyenne and we showed Chris the Merci Car then took him to Holiday Park to see the Union Pacific Big Boy. We had lunch at Arby's before we left Cheyenne and started the drive to Douglas. We stopped at a rest area near Glenco before we drove the rest of the way to Douglas and our only stop of the day at the Douglas Railroad Interpretive Center. Their prize attractions are Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 4-8-4 5633, CB&Q dining car Silver Salver 196 built in 1947 and Great Northern Empire Builder sleeper Agassiz Glacier 1182. Douglas has two train stations, the CNW station is the museum and the CB&Q station is the restaurant, plus freighthouses from both railroads still stand. We checked into the Super 8 where I wrote this story. I called it an early night. This morning we would tour the Powder River Basin. We went to 10 different locations and had a total of 17 trains. We drove to Devils Tower and then to Newcastle for the CB&Q station and checked into Sundowner Inn for the night. The next morning, Robin Bowers, Chris Parker and I checked out of the Sundowner Inn and crossed the street to get some food for breakfast. We drove from Newcastle to Custer, our first stop of the morning for BN caboose 12263 and there were bison {fake ones} all over town. We then stopped outside of the Crazy Horse carving. They have not done much work on it since my last visit here in 1971. We drove to Hill City and I photographed all the equipment of the South Dakota Railroad Museum followed by the Black Hills Central Railroad's equipment. We got a tour of the shop complex. The 8:00 AM diesel train returned so I got all the car numbers. Then it was time to board the Black Hills Central Railroad pulled by the Black Hills Central Railroad 2-6-6-2T 110. We rode the Mystic open air coach for our first ride on this railroad. The grades were six percent and I was truly impressed. We got to Keystone and after the steam engine had run around the train it returned to the former front end with braking issues. The diesel Black Hills Central Railroad GP-9 63 was dispatched from Hill City to come and pull us back. Passengers could go get something to eat or stay on the train. We stayed on the train with me meeting the other passengers and staff of the train. We left Keystone 1.5 hours late and the GP-9 63 pulled us back to Hill City. With no steam engine to chase, we had lunch then drove to Rapid City to our next stop of the day at the Storybook Park for Homestake Mining Company 18 inch gauge 0-4-0 24 which is a compressed air locomotive and South Dakota Cement Plant 0-4-0T. The next stop was the Milwaukee Road freighthouse in Rapid City. We went to the train yard and found a Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern train getting ready to go plus two other Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern power here. We then drove south to Dakota Junction in Nebraska finding Nebraska Northwestern Railroad SD-9 303. We went into Chadron for a post office drop and to pick up some dinner at Subway. From there we drove to the Ponderosa Ranch and put our stuff in the cabin before having dinner on our picnic bench. The owner then came, told us the rules and how to get pictures then took our money for our two night stay here. I started to work on this story but only got as far as putting the pictures into the computer. Once it got dark it was a star festival overhead. I went to bed a very happy person. The next morning I followed the directions, did not find a lake and drove to the picnic bench she circled on the map. We had seven train movements during our visit to the picnic table overlooking the rail line on Crawford Hill. I worked on the story before the three of us drove back to NE Highway 2 to Belmont where we caught BNSF 8568 North at Belmont. From here we drove to the Belmont Tunnel which is the only tunnel in the State of Nebraska. We continued the drive to Alliance but saw a headlight after Marsland which was BNSF 5901 North. We arrived in Alliance and found the first thing we came here for, CB&Q 4-6-0 719 and CB&Q caboose 13701. Next I took Chris and Robin to Carhenge. This exhibit is based on Stonehenge in England. We gassed up the car and started back to Crawford but caught up to a northbound train which was the BNSF 5844 North at Belmont. We found BNSF caboose 10718 in Crawford. We crossed the bridge over the railroad and stopped again for the NS 1101 South at Crawford. We went to the Tailgate Bar and Grill and I had chicken strips for dinner. We then drove back to the Ponderosa Ranch. We returned for the last night in our cabin at the Ponderosa Ranch. It had been a great place to stay and I will come back some day in the future. Tomorrow we pick up Elizabeth in Denver at Union Station. The next morning, we got up at 5:05 AM and I had my donuts and orange juice before I packed up. Chris Parker was up next and then Robin Bowers was the last to rise. We loaded the car, closed all the windows and took the trash with us. It took twenty minutes to drive from the cabin to NE Highway 71. We took that to Scottsbluff where we had breakfast at MacDonald's inside Walmart. After breakfast we crossed the BNSF tracks and saw a station building. We went down to investigate the CB&Q Scottsbluff station. After that we crossed the Union Pacific tracks and had to make another stop for Union Pacific 2-8-0 423 on display in Scottsbluff. We drove further down this road and stopped again for Union Pacific caboose 24534 and finally for a pair of pictures of the Scottsbluffs. From here we took NE 71 turning in CO 71 to CO 14 to CO 52 to Fort Morgan where we showed Chris Parker the Great Western steam engine on display.

Elizabeth Alkire called saying she had landed safely and would meet us at Denver Union Station. We gassed up the car and drove straight to Denver Union Station and picked up Elizabeth. We drove to the REI Store and parked underground. We came up and I led the way to our next stop on this trip on the Platte Valley Trolley. This would be my second trip aboard this and for the other 3 their first trip. I bought Elizabeth her ticket and soon we were off and going. Everyone enjoyed their trip on the Platte Valley Trolley. We all returned to my car and we drove to Colorado Springs to our next stop. We arrived at the Colorado Springs & Interurban Railway headquarted in the old Rock Island roundhouse in Colorado Springs and we parked. It was Robin and Elizabeth's first time to this unique museum. With only one staff person we could not ride this but this time I photographed all of the trolleys here and got to see in the tent the D&RG car 470 tourist sleeper built by Pullman Palace Car Company in October 1889. It is being restored here by the Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. We drove to Walsenburg and went to the A&W and I had a root beer. Then we drove to the D&RGW train station and D&RGW caboose 01441. We drove next to La Veta. Here we got a surprise, a San Luis & Rio Grande freight train was idling here with SL&RG GP-40PH2 4136, 4141 and 4142. The D&RGW La Veta station is now a police station. We drove to Blanca for some Ghost Railroading of the San Luis Southern Railroad engines Plymouth ML8, ex. Utah Power and Light, bought in 1977 and San Luis Southern D-500. We gassed up the car and drove to Alamosa. There was a Rio Grande Scenic passenger train in Alamosa. I had KFC for dinner and then we checked into the Rodeway Inn. I did my laundry and wrote the story before calling it a night. We woke up in Alamosa and put the corrections into the stories before we had breakfast at the Country Kitchen at the Rodeway Inn. After breakfast, I uploaded the stories and we then met at the car to drive to Antonito. Once there, we started to look around after we picked up our tickets, I bought a really nice Cumbres and Toltec Scenic T-shirt then boarded the tourist car for my trip to Chama but would not spend too much time in it as the open car is always the preferred car to ride in. However, I enjoyed all of the free Coca-Cola during my trip. We departed on time at 10:00 with the K27 the "Mudhen" 463 will pull our train today. This is my first time riding westbound as it is for Chris Parker and Robin and Elizabeth's first time ever aboard. I did like the lighting for photography going east to west. Since this is my third time on this railroad I know where everything is. We all rode in the open air car with me showing Elizabeth where everything of interest was along our route. All too soon we were nearing Osier and the word came that we would be switching engines but not trains today. Our new engine was on the balloon track when we arrived at east Osier, the Mudhen cut off and it went around the balloon track. Our new engine pulled us into Osier where I enjoyed a Turkey Lunch. After lunch it was back on the train to Chama. Elizabeth was happy as she got to ride behind two steam engines for the price of one. We took the bus back to Antonio. We started our drive back to Alamosa but stopped at the Rio Grande Western station in Antonito and at La Jara. Back in Alamosa, we got dinner at Arby's and worked on stories for the rest of the night. The next morning, we left the Rodeway Inn and started up Colorado Highway 17 to US 50 east. We headed to Salida where I stopped to let Elizabeth photograph the steam engine there. After a stop at McDonald's for a bathroom break and other things, we then proceeded to Cripple Creek. We arrived at the parking lot at 10:38 for the 10:40 AM train. Luckily the Cripple Creek isn't the Swiss, so we had time to buy our tickets, use the bathroom then board the train. Since my last visit to ride here back in 2009 the Victor Gold Mine had expanded cutting off the wye at the end. A new wye has since been built about half a mile west of the old one so I will get some new mileage. For my other three riders, this is all brand new. It was a great morning for a train ride and we all enjoyed our trip aboard the train here. After the trip, Elizabeth told us about a store which makes homemade fudge in thirty-five unique flavors including carrot cake and orange cream, as well as seasonal ones. I bought chocolate mint and Elizabeth bought carrot cake and chocolate mint. Chris and Robin looked around Cripple Creek and Elizabeth and I then caught both trains out making their runs. We returned to town and then to the Colorado Midland Railroad Tunnel I once was in a camper and we drove through it. Next we head to Garden of the Gods but hit a major thunderstorm as we got near then onto the property. We saw the Kindergarten Rock, Sleeping Giant, South Gateway Rock, Cathedral Spires and Keyhole Window with me being very impressed. We left Garden of the Gods and drove down the Garden of the Gods Boulevard toward I-25. We stopped to gas up the car and I picked up some more Coca-Cola for my use. From here we drove to Denver and Chris Parker gave me the easiest route to the hotel off I-25. We checked into the Super 8 but found out we had only four nights instead of six. When we got to our room, Elizabeth found us two more nights at the Quality Inn next door, so from an error by Super 8, we will have rooms at the Quality Inn Friday and Saturday nights. Robin, Elizabeth and I walked over to the Holiday Inn and we all picked up our NRHS tickets and guidebooks, ha ha. Instead of the quality books that Bart Jennings produced for the last four conventions, we are using the Kalmbach Colorado Railroading book which I already had since last November. We walked back and went to Chick-Fil-A and brought dinner back to the room due to an impending thunderstorm. We finished the Cumbres story, watched some television and called it an early night since the internet at the Super 8 is bad that I cannot upload my stories. Tomorrow, we have our first NRHS convention trip to the Royal Gorge and a bus ride each way of 2.5 to 3 hours as bus hosts. Then this happened: had a major web server failure a few days ago. After doing a restore we realized that many accounts and files were still missing. We had the professional backup service that we use do some research and they found that the most recent valid backup that could be recovered is from June 2015. We have now finished reloading the web server from this June 2015 backup. We are instituting new backup procedures and notification alerts to insure this backup failure is not repeated. While repairing our web server we have also performed a significant upgrade to disk hardware and memory capacity of the system that will provide better performance and increased reliability. Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience. In the meantime, if you are a webmaster with your website hosted on and have your own personal copy of all your files on your computer, please re-upload them to your website. That would mean I would have to reload everything back to June 2015. This is not good! We no Internet here I will have to wait until we move on Friday to the Quality Inn. We got up the next morning, Elizabeth and I got up and went to McDonald's for breakfast. I then drove Chris Parker over to the Central Park A line station and we said our goodbyes. He would fly home and call us when he got back, I returned to the motel and we worked on the stories until it was time to go."

The NRHS 2016 Denver Convention

The two of us and Robin walked over to the Holiday Inn for our safety briefing where we received our red safety vests and our radios. We then went outside and talked to some of our passengers who would be on our trip today. The first bus arrived and we waited for our bus No. 3 to arrive. Very shortly thereafter, Bus No. 3 arrived and we started boarding our passengers. Once everyone was aboard all the buses, we then went down the highway elephant style all the way to Canon City. I gave a running commentary of sights along the way and some history to the passengers, which they all enjoyed. We arrived at Canon City with over an hour before our train was to depart and I went to Gate 6 and sat underneath a tent waiting to board our passengers. About twenty minutes was due to leave, I lined up all of our dome passengers and explained the procedure for boarding and we waited for the railroad to give us the signal to board. It was at this time one of the young women succumbed to the heat and was attended to and was taken to the local hospital. Elizabeth then succumbed to the heat and was given water right away. Once we started loading the train, a third female passenger succumbed to the heat. The crew immediately gave her water and within a few minutes, she was able to board the train. Once I boarded, I took a seat in the dome car but I became concerned about Elizabeth so I went looking for her. I found her coming onto the dome car from the open car. There were no more dome seats so I made the decision to put both of us in the club car. I got Elizabeth re-hydrated and then finally the train departed Canon City. I took my pictures through the Club Car windows so I could keep an eye on both of the women who had the problems. My lunch came of chicken strips and I had root beer on this entire trip. I walked the groups cars repeatedly checking on everyone of our passengers once we got to Parkdale I went to the open car and shot pictures back to the Hanging Bridge. I then checked all passengers again and made sure everyone had gotten their lunches. Our NRHS group was having a fantastic time in the open air cars. I went back to the club car, sat at my table and had a root beer. I just looked out of the window and enjoyed the views of the Royal Gorge all the way back to Canon City. When we arrived in Canon City, Elizabeth and I detrained and assumed our position at the door of the bus waiting for our passengers to arrive. Once everyone was aboard, including our narrator Ira, we then proceeded back to the Holiday Inn in Denver. There we helped unload the passengers before we returned to the Super 8. We finished the Garden of the Gods story before we went to Country Buffet for a very good dinner. We returned and started on the Cripple Creek story. With that, we called it an early night and had a well-deserved good night's sleep. Chris Parker made it home safely. Tomorrow, we will ride the light rail tour of Denver and a trip on the A Line to the airport.

The next morning, Elizabeth and I got up at the Super 8 Motel and tried their breakfast. We then walked over to the Holiday Inn and got in the line for the bus as we are just passengers today. This was not a bus to the A Line Commuter rail station like the convention booklet had stated. Instead it was a bus to Denver Union Station so we would get to see some of the neighborhoods on the way into town. We made it to Union Station and the bus took us to the underground bus plaza. It was a short walk to where a wrapped light rail train was waiting. Who would give a wrapped train to a national group for their tour of their system? You could not take pictures through the side windows. I knew a view through the operator's cab would be the only way I could document this trip. In addition, a gas leak in downtown had that section closed so we could not ride the entire Denver Light Rail system. We were supposed to leave Union Station at 9:00AM but did not leave until 9:17 AM. This will cost us later. We first rode the W line out to the Jefferson County Government Center-Golden station. Here passengers were given a photo opportunity as well as a bathroom break. We then headed back east down the W Line to Auraria West where we would switch to the D Line, also known as the Southwest Line. I had ridden this line before and at Littleton-Mineral. Here they gave everyone another photography and bathroom stop. Our operator announced that if anybody wanted to stay on the car, we would go down to the layover facility. This would be a chance to get very rare mileage on the Denver light rail system. So Elizabeth and I stayed on to get this unique rail mileage. We then got trapped behind another light rail car and that would cost us latter Once that trolley in front of us finally cleared and headed to downtown Denver, we were now free to head north. We pulled back to the station and picked up all our passengers then proceeded north. North of the I-25-Broadway station. Next we would ride the Southeast Line and we got rare mileage on the connection to that line. Our rare mileage to the end of track on the E Line. Due to time constraints, it was announced that we would not do the H Line to Nine Mile. That disappointed everyone on the trip including myself. Had we left on time, we would have been able to accomplish this as it would have only added ten extra minutes to the trip. They gave us an hour to eat lunch. We went up on the platform to look around. Over on the two Amtrak tracks, we found some very special private cars: Kitchi Gammi Club, Mount Vernon and Pullman Pacific Home. Next we will look at the cars of the A Line. We enjoyed some butterscotch ice cream which hit the spot. We made our way to the platform for the A Line train ride. We had a special four car train set for our trip. this was a great trip. Our special convention A Line train has arrived at the airport. We went up the escalator up to the overlook and I took pictures looking down and caught a train leaving the station. Our train in the station ready to depart. We boarded for the return ride to Central Park Station ahead of the most of the rest of our group. We rode to the Central Park station where the buses were waiting to take us back to the Holiday Inn, then boarded the bus. We walked back to our hotel and worked on the story before going to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Stories were worked on the rest of the evening before we called it a night.

We got up on the last day of our stay at the Super 8 and went to McDonald's for breakfast then made our way to the Holiday Inn for a 7:15 AM safety meeting. Elizabeth and I were bus hosts on the Photo Bus with Skip Waters. He explained to us that we would head to Georgetown, set up two photo lines to photograph the first train of the day then drive the short distance to Silver Plume to meet the other NRHS members for the train ride. After the ride, the photo bus would drive to the scenic overlook and those people who could manage the path down to lower level would photograph the train coming over the Devil's Gate Bridge. Those who stayed on the top could get their photographs then the bus would return to the main parking lot and pick up our passengers. The photo bus would then make its way to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden for the rest of the day's activities. We boarded our passengers and left the Holiday Inn at 8:00. On the way down, I pointed out a few items of interest including the steam engine and passenger car on display in Idaho Springs. Elizabeth handed out water to the passengers throughout the day, ensuring that all stayed hydrated on this warm day at high elevations. She became known as the Zephyrette. We arrived at Georgetown and had about half an hour before the train's arrival. I led the way to our two photo lines I was in charge of, one on the bike path and my usual one above them on the hill. The 10:00 train crosses the Devil's Gate viaduct on its trip from Silver Plume to Devil's Gate station and everyone got fantastic pictures of our train. We all walked back to the bus and headed to Silver Plume to join the rest of the NRHS members. There the railroad had the Georgetown Loop 2-8-0 111 outside for picture taking. I started the line for the train, We boarded and Elizabeth, Robin and I sat in the covered open car 0718. This car is the only way to get on and off the train and as bus hosts, Elizabeth and I had to be the first people off the train when our trip was complete. This was Elizabeth's first trip on the Georgetown Loop Railroad. Robin was making his second and my third trip aboard. I pointed out all the scenic highlights for Elizabeth. Westside Lumber Shay 9 was the power for the trip down and would get help from the Porter coming back up the grade. The crossing over the Devils Gate Bridge and passing under it is something every railfan should do once in their life. Elizabeth really enjoyed that. Once we returned to Silver Plume, I was at the Chase Bus door waiting for everyone to come back. It had been a fantastic trip behind steam on the Georgetown Loop Railroad. Once everyone was back on the chase bus, we departed Silver Plume for the Scenic Overlook off of Interstate 70. I led the way to the "Sweet Spot" for loop photography on the bike trail while Skip Waters brought up the rear. Elizabeth stayed at the overlook with the people who did not want to walk to the "Sweet Spot". I got down there in time to catch the diesel crossing the Devil's Gate Viaduct. The diesel crossed the Devil's Gate Viaduct and made its way all the way to the Devil's Gate station. Now we would wait for the steam train to do the same thing. The steam train crossed the Devil's Gate Viaduct and headed to the Devil's Gate station. Now we will watch the train complete the loop. The final thing we did at the Georgetown Loop was watch the steam train climb the grade and then crossed the Devil's Gate Viaduct. Everyone got fantastic pictures of all the action we saw at the Georgetown Loop Railroad. Our chase bus finished up at the Georgetown Loop then we proceeded straight to the Colorado Railroad Museum. Once there, we had to walk in through the front offices then around to the pavilion where we got our lunch. I had barbecued chicken and a roll but they were out of drinks. After lunch, Elizabeth and I decided to ride the train around the grounds. We missed the first one but managed to get pictures of the train at several spots around the museum. Our trips around the grounds. Now we will look around the grounds where took pictures of D&LG 2-8-0 191, Galloping Goose 2, CB&Q 4-8-4 5629, Colorado and Northwestern 2-8-0 30, Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway 0-4-2 cog 1, Coors Brewing Company SW900 C988, D&RGW 2-8-0 318, Colorado Central 2-8-0 40, Rio Grande FP7A 5771, Rio Grande FP7B 5772, Colorado and Southern rotary snowplow 99201, Union Pacific 0-6-0 4455, Westside Lumber Shay 12, Westside Lumber Shay 14, American Oil 0-4-0T, Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose 7, Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose 6, D&RGW 2-8-2 491 and D&RG 2-8-0 683 plus Rio Grande 346 which we caught in five different locations on the museum's grounds. We were finished at the Colorado Railroad Museum and we found two seats on the first bus back to the hotel. Once the bus was full with an NRHS member in every seat, we headed back to I-70 with very little traffic until we passed I-25. As we crossed over the Union Pacific's 36th Street yard, we spotted UP 4-8-4 844, Rio Grande heritage unit 1989 and passenger cars. We returned to the Holiday Inn and walked back to the Super 8 for one last night. Once Skip Waters returned to the hotel, I called him and told him to meet us on the corner of 36th and Quebec Streets. From there, we walked over to Country Buffet and had a good dinner and a nice talk about a variety of things. After dinner, Elizabeth and I walked to Walmart to get her more film. We returned to Super 8, worked on the light rail story and called it a night.

Elizabeth and I packed up before we picked up Robin and left the Super 8 motel at 5:45 AM to get out of Denver before the traffic started. We escaped and stopped at MacDonald's for breakfast. We then drove to Manitou Springs and stopped in town for a few minutes to take pictures of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway 0-4-0T cog 2 on display at Manitou Springs. We then drove to the station, parked the car in the parking lot, picked up our tickets and parking pass then went down to the platform to watch the action and wait to board the train. Our train came into the station and our group boarded. I could not believe it. What were the odds that someone I worked with at Heninger Elementry School on Santa Ana would be sitting across from me on the Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway. This is Mr. and Mrs. Navarro and their daughter Sofie. Mr. Navarro is a 5th Grade teacher I worked with and his kids. He is an excellent teacher and a joy to work with. We got caught up on things as the trip began. The Navarro's, Robin and Elizabeth would all be making their first trip up Pikes Peak and I would be on the train for my third time. I pointed out the points on interest for everyone and Sofie Navarro took a nap going up the mountain. We got above the tree lines and the views really started looking great! We saw a yellow-bellied marmot which is the most visible creature that can be seen on Pikes Peak at Windy Point. There is the one spot on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway that you can see views from both sides of the train looking out or down if the passengers choose. The Pikes Peak Toll Road climbs the mountain from the east side to the north side then up the west side to this location. You can see the top of the grade as our train has reached the summit of Pikes Peak at an elevation of 14,110 feet. This is the highest elevation that I will be on this whole trip. I detrained and walked all the way around to get a 360 degree view looking down off of Pikes Peak. I went inside the Summit House for the bathroom and then a donut. Next it would be time for summit pictures at the sign. They took me, Elizabeth and I, Sofie, the Navarros, me and the Navarros and then Robin. On the way back down, we passed trains at Windy Point. We returned to the base station at Manitou Springs and it was time to say goodbye to Navarro family. What were the odds that they could be on a train with me in Colorado and seated with me? It had been a fantastic trip on the Manitou and Pike's Peak Cog Railway. We stopped at the Colorado Midland Railroad roundhouse still stands in Colorado Springs but has a much different use today than what it had been built for in the beginning, Next we stopped by the Colorado Springs & Interurban Railway to get the ride we did not get last Saturday. Once there we met the same gentleman who had been there on Saturday and he agreed to give us the ride we did not get when we had visited their project before. SEPTA PCC 2129 would give us a ride today. Now lets take two rides on the length of their track on this former Rock Island Railroad. After our two trips, we thanked our operator and flagman before we left for the Air Force Academy. Robin is a veteran and wanted to see the Chapel which I did too. We stopped at the North Gate where I had to show ID to get us in and then we followed the signs to the Chapel and parked in the visitor parking lot. We then walked onto the grounds. Now let see the Air Force Academy Chapel. Now lets go inside and enjoy the Protestant Chapel. It was very impressive. Now lets go down the stairs to the lower level and enjoy the Catholic Chapel with all the pictures of the Saints on the wall. It was sunny when we got here, but it was pouring down rain as we walked back to my car. We left the Air Force Academy and drove via Palmer Lake before going around a traffic jam in Larkspur before we returned to dropping Robin off at the Super 8 and we checked into the Quality Inn next store. Here the Internet worked extremely well. We wrote some stories but I updated my rail mileage. With still down I have not be able to upload stories. Steve Grande kept me informed of the process he was going through to fix the stories. My web site only has only the stories up to 2014 in November. We worked to about 6:15 PM then went to the NRHS Banquet. The meals were served late and my portion was way too small of the steak dinner. Carl Jensen then talked about the two NRHS Rail Camps and then baskets were passed around to collect our donations for this program. We all gave $1,407.50 then someone wrote a check for the same amount bringing the total to $2,907 for the evening. NRHS President Al Weber then introduced our guest speaker, Union Pacific Railroad's Edgar E. Dickens who would tell us all about the complete rebuilding of Union Pacific 844 through a power point presentation. Ed took questions at the end of his program. After that the Banquet was over and Robin, Elizabeth and I walked back to our hotels for the night.

Skip Waters has asked Elizabeth and I if we wanted to go with him to chase the UP 844 steam engine on Saturday morning before the final NRHS trip to Leadville and we of course both said "Yes!". This was coming back from our Georgetown Loop Chase Bus on which we had been bus hosts. So Saturday morning we got up, had a good breakfast at the Quality Inn then walked over to Skip's vehicle from Texas and waited for him to arrive. He did shortly and we drove to 2300 block of York Street and parked the car. Elizabeth and I set up and we waited. We heard the five minute whistle then at 7:00 AM heard the farewell whistle from the Union Pacific 38th Denver Street Yard. Then we saw UP 844 and train coming our way. The Union Pacific 844 put on a great show leaving Denver's 38th Street Yard. From here we got on Interstate 70 west to Interstate 25 north to Interstate 76 East to US 85 north to Hazeltine where we turned onto 112th Street and a left to Havanna Street. Elizabeth and I set up while Skip got himself into pacing position. Union Pacific 844 ran through Hazeltine, Colorado at track speed. From here we gave up the chase and returned to the Holiday Inn for the NRHS trip to Leadville. Once we arrived at the Holiday Inn, I bought an NRHS Denver Convention hat then waited for the safety meeting. After the meeting, Elizabeth and I were assigned to Bus 4. With everyone aboard all the buses, we left Denver and took Interstate 70 west into the mountains. It was decided to take US 24 over Tennessee Pass as it is the historic route of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The buses pulled in just as the morning train was arriving. Once the buses were parked, we were free to look around. We boarded just before 1:00 PM and I walked the train telling the passengers that their lunches would be delivered and that they would give us the bottom of their NRHS ticket. After that was done, I visited the concession car for a hot dog and Coca-Cola for my lunch. We departed Leadville right on time at 1:30 PM and the railroad employees passed out the lunches. This was Elizabeth and Robin's first trip here and me second trip here! Later at the French Gulch water tower Steve Barry and I came up with a good plan for the photo runby on the way back. I then got onto new rail mileage and I was really happy. Soon the Climax Molybdenum Mine came into view. Soon the train has reached our furthest point from Leadville as you can see the barrier across the tracks ahead of the train. This is only the fourth time that a train has traveled this far on the railroad. On the way back Steve Barry and I met with the train crew about the photo runby at the French Gulch water tower. We would have two photo runbys as we discussed the safety procedures for making it a safe experience for the passengers. Steve would take the lower photo line at the first runby and I would take the upper level for both runbys. No passenger could move until the train backed up. After the first runby and the train had backed up, then people could switch either to the upper or lower or stay on the same level. Steve announced it over the train's PA system and when we arrived, I was second off and headed to my appointed spot. Our passengers got off the train and I was at the east end of the group making sure no one went down the tracks until the train was done backing up. Our conductor and I would lead the passengers to the upper photo locations. Our first photo runby at the French Gulch water tower. I moved to another location at set up. We returned to Leadville then boarded the bus back to Denver, taking a much more direct route and went through several thunderstorms on the way. We missed Union Pacific 844 returning to Denver by about ten minutes after we crossed the bridge. Upon our arrival, I said goodbye to each of our passengers. Elizabeth and I then turned in our radios and safety vests, thus ending our participation in the 2016 NRHS Denver Convention. Robin then met us and we walked over to the Country Buffet for our final dinner in Denver. After dinner we walked over to Walmart for some more Coca-Cola for my drive home. We returned to the Quality Inn for the night. It had been a very good NRHS Convention.

The Trip home

The next morning Elizabeth and I got up at 5:15 AM and could not believe that we were going home! We packed up and loaded the car then checked out of the Quality Inn. We drove to the Super 8 to pick up Robin then drove to the Central Park A Line station and dropped off Elizabeth so she could get to the Denver Airport for her flight home. Robin and I said our goodbyes to her before we took Interstate 70 east to Interstate 225 to Interstate 25 which we stopped at Monument at MacDonald's for breakfast. From here we drove the straight shot down I 25 to Trinidad and drove to the railroad display there which included Colorado & Southern 2-8-0 638, Colorado & Southern coach 545 and CB&Q caboose 10707. We took pictures of the Santa Fe Railroad Trinidad freight house. Now we would wait for the Southwest Chief to arrive into Trinidad before we would chase it over Raton Pass as I had always wanted to do. Amtrak Southwest Chief train 3 arrived into Trinidad. We left town and headed south on I 25 to the Starkville exit and set up at the grade crossing at the County Road 18.3 for our next set of pictures. We got back on I 25 south to the Clear Creek Road exit and went out on the bridge over Clear Creek and the BNSF railroad and set up for the next set of pictures. We headed south and pulled off just south of the Dick Wootten Ranch sign and set up for the next series of pictures. From here we drove to Canyon Drive just north of Raton and set up for the next series of pictures. Well we completed that goal on to the next one, the Southwest Chief passing through semaphore signals. From here we drove south on Interstate 25 to the Exit 404 and a left on old US 85 to the semaphores at Colmar. The Southwest Chief then split the semaphores at Colmar, New Mexico. We headed next to Las Vegas and Santa Fe 2-6-2 1129 on display. We gassed up the car and Robin got himself some lunch. We returned to Interstate 25 taking it to Exit 330 to the Bernal semaphores. We parked and set up for the next series of pictures of the Southwest Chief splitting the semaphore signals here at Bernal. That goal was now completed. We returned to Interstate 25 south heading to our next planned stop on this trip, the Santa Fe Glorieta station which is now a US Post Office. We returned to Interstate 25 and took it south to New Mexico Highway 14 which we took south to the town of Madrid. Santa Fe 769 2-8-0 769 is part of the Mine Shaft Theater in Madrid. We left Madrid and took NM 14 south to NM 344 south. Bad weather was brewing as we traveled south. We reached Interstate 40 and headed east to Moriarty where we turned south and headed into the worst thunderstorm of the trip so far. We made it to just west of Willard where we turned onto US 60 and came out of it as we were following a westbound BNSF train. We managed to get ahead of it and picked a grade crossing to the south and set up and waited for BNSF 8471 West at the County Road B028 grade crossing which was followed by BNSF 8128 East at the County Road B028 grade crossing. From here we drove west on US 60 to Mountainair for the Santa Fe Mountainair station. We continued west of US 60 and came upon another train, BNSF 8213, East along US 60 west of Mountainair. We then drove to the US 60 bridge over the BNSF mainline just east of Abo Canyon and set up hoping for a train which came as BNSF 542 East came out of Abo Canyon. We headed west on US 60 to Belen and the next stop of this trip the Santa Fe Railroad Belen Harvey House, now a museum, the Santa Fe Belen Station and then Santa Fe M-190 display. We then returned to Interstate 25 north to taking it nine miles to Los Lunes where we turned onto NM 9 but stopped at KFC to pick up some dinner to go. We took NM 9 to Interstate 40 to Grants where we checked in to the Travelodge for the night.

The second to the last morning of this trip. Robin and I slept. The reason I chose to is that we gained an hour once we reached the Arizona border. With the problems, I started uploading stories from 2015. We had breakfast at the Travelodge then packed up and loaded the car before checking out and gassing up the car for the day. Driving through Grants on old US 66, we looked for trains then drove to Baca Road, turned toward the tracks and parked. We had a green eastbound signal so we waited for BNSF 7090 East at Baca Road. We headed west but a train caught up with us, BNSF 4347 West between Baca and Thoreau. We beat the train to Thoreau and got up on the bridge over the tracks. Back on Interstate 40, we caught BNSF 7318 East at West Gallup. We got off of I 40 and took NM Highway 118 west to the bridge over the BNSF mainline and waited just a few minutes for BNSF 7124 West at Manuelito. We drove into Arizona and stopped at the rest area. From it was back on Interstate 40 to the exit for the Petrified Forest. Robin and I decided since we saw the Painted Desert eastbound why not see the Petrified Forest westbound? Robin used his card to get us in and we bypassed the Painted Desert and almost made it to the bridge over the BNSF mainline for BNSF 4347 West. We stopped at Puerco Pueblo, Newspaper Rock, The Tepees, Blue Mesa, Agate Bridge, Jasper Forest, Crystal Forest and the Giant Logs and Long Logs at the Rainbow Forest Museum. It had been a fantastic visit to the Petrified Forest and we saw plenty of petrified wood here. We stopped in Winslow for an early dinner then stopped at the the Standin' on a Corner statue and we both had pictures taken with it. We gassed up again and headed west into the afternoon rain. A big rig had a major accident at the I 40/25 interchange and then the rain started to fall. We found a train and got to Maine just as one was heading east before our BNSF 5476 West at Maine. We got back on Interstate 40 and the rain got worse. It was 50 MPH driving over the next hour as the good drivers stayed at the below the speed limit and those bad ones flew by. Once I neared Seligman, I decided to leave Interstate 40 for US 66 with a lot less traffic. Once we were closer to Peach Springs and back in the sunshine, I stopped for a picture of the pure black sky highlighted by the bright sunshine. We left that last thunderstorm behind and now we were on a dust storm with very high winds. We caught BNSF 6583 West at Peach Springs. We took off to get another picture of this train, BNSF 6583 West, near Valentine. We headed to Kingman in a dust storm. We pulled off the highway and called Elizabeth to make a reservation for me at the Best Western in Needles. I did not want to stay in Kingman in a dust storm. Once on the move again we caught up and passed that train then crossed the Colorado River and we were back in our home state of California. We checked into the Best Western and it was 119 degrees Farenheit when we did. I worked on more of my stories before calling it a night.

That blast furnace of Needles was still on when we packed up the car and checked out. One last MacDonald's breakfast and filling the car with gas and we were off for home. I got off of Interstate 40 taking US 95 to the old US 66 to show Robin the way the Santa Fe Railroad crossed the desert. The road was opened all the way to Ludlow and we did see some trains along the way. At Ludlow we returned to Interstate 40 and stopped at the rest area. On the move again at Barstow we took Interstate 15 to CA 60 and had a construction delay due to a close car pull lane for about a mile. CA 60 took me right onto the car pool lane on CA 57 to the car pool lane on Interstate 5 to the car pool lane on CA 55 and then the car pool lane on I 405 which I got out off and exited at Brookhurst. A right on Talbert and soon we were back to Robin's apartment. He took his stuff out of my car and we both commented that it had been a fantastic trip to Colorado. I drove back to Talbert, then the normal freeway I 405 south to CA 55 north to Interstate 5 exiting at 17th Street then straight up Santiago to my home. What a great trip is had been but it was so good to be home again.

The rest of the year

My mother and I took our trip after all that going to Prismo Beach, Cambia, the Harris Ranch, Elk Grove having dinner with Karla, Eric and Adam before staying one more night in Bakersfield. In October with three weekends of no train service on the Pacific Surfliner route I did some train that I had never ridden before. These were the El Dorado Express Park train and Descansco Garden Enchanted train with Robin Bowers. Mid week I did a trip solo at the Santa Ana Zoo train. The next two weekend it was back with Robin doing the Tom's Farm train ride and Goat Hill Railway Orange County Model Engineers train ride. The last weekend of no train service we did the Griffith Park & Southern Railroad train then the Los Angeles Live Steamers train and finally the Travel Town train. In November, Chris Parker and I drove to the El Dorado & Western for a speeder trip from Shingle Springs to El Dorado and return then we did the Folsom Park steam train. In December Bill Compton and I went out to take pictures on Beaumomt Hill and I rode the Tioga Pass from Los Angeles to San Diego and back to Los Angeles then home to Santa Ana.

All these stories can be found on my web site at My web site had its 271,329 hit on Christmas morning. Thank you to all who reads it.

My rail mileage was 1,440,357.8 on January 1, 2016 and on December 31, 2016 it was 1,474,025.5 or just 33,667.7 for the year 2016.

The year started with 7653 Days of Sobriety on January 1, 2016 with my Day 8000 on December 13 and ended with 8018 on my 59th Birthday on December 31, 2016.

May each of you have the best holiday season ever and may next year be one of the best in your life. Take care of each and everyone of you, be safe and until next year, goodbye!

Chris Day 8018