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Chris Guenzler 2017 End of the Year Review

I left you at home where I spent my New Years at home again. It felt being funny here but I needed that change once again 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 5th and 6th graders in Special Education. This is a dream school with no troublemakers and kids who really want to learn. I am truly blessed.

This year's concerts were on 8/18/2017 Robin and I saw The Sweet House at the Coach House then on 9/16/2017 Chris Parker and I saw The Martin Barre Band at the Lancaster Performing Arts Centre. Then on 10/07/2016 Robin and I saw the Young Dubliners with support Grass and Four Sue at the Coach House. I also saw the Penguins play the Ducks at the Honda Center.

On January 4th I left on Amtrak Pacific Surfliner 763 to connect with the Coast Starlight to Portland where I spent the night. The next morning I took the Cascade Service Talgo 500 to Seattle where I met Bob and Elizabeth Alkire. We went and rode the new First Hill Streetcar Line then I rode with Elizabeth the Sounder Seattle to Lakewood where Bob picked us up. The next morning Bob drove us to Edmonds and we rode the Cascade trip to Vancouver, BC before we rode the Evergreen Extension of the Skytrain. The next day Elizabeth and I rode the Seattle Link Light Rail Extensions from Angle Lake to the University of Washington station but had to ride a bus both ways through the Capitol Hill Tunnel. The next morning Bob dropped us off at Edmonds and we ride the Sounder down to King Street Station where Bob then drove Elizabeth to work, and I took the Coast Starlight to LAUPT and a bus to Santa Ana due to a late arrival into Los Angeles. Next Robin Bowers and Chris Parker and I rode the Pacific Railroad Society Perris Express Trip. My next trip with Robin was the Metrolink Golden Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Celebration Special Train. Bill Compton and I rode the train Santa Ana to South Perris and back.

On March it was time to fly to Portland to go to Winterail 2017, Bob and Elizabeth picked me up and we photographed depots in Hillsboro at the Southern Pacific station, the Forest Grove Oregon Electric station, the Southern Pacific Carlton station, the McMinnville Southern Pacific station and the Southern Pacific Albany station. We also shot the Oregon Electric sub-station building in McCoy plus a Willamette and Pacific train, the Coast Starlight, Amtrak Cascades Talgo 508 and the Albany and Eastern freight train. The next day I ran a train on the Albany and Eastern Railroad called the Pre-Winterail Albany and Eastern Excursion Train with over 70 riders. It was a fantastic trip with a photo runby at the station and then posed photos at the end of this unique train trip. All passsengers had a very good time on my train. After that trip we went to Oregon City to the Oregon Electric Junction City station, now Rodeo Steak House & Grill, where Bob Riskie joined us for lunch. Before lunch we did take pictures of the interesting 2-8-0 418, built in 1904 and came from Finland in 1960 in the park across the street, as well as Portland & Western GP39-2 2305 Dallas went down the street while the northbound Coast Starlight went flying through Oregon City. On the way to Corvillas we found an Albany & Eastern GP-9 1750. Later at the Railfan Magazine Friday Night Pizza Party, Elizabeth showed her first ever program A Quarter Century of Railfan Adventures and Excursions. I showed my A Year of Trains in the Life of Chris Guenzler 2016.

The next morning we drove out to Toledo to the Yaquinna Pacific Railroad Historical Museum before we returned to Winterailand all the great shows. Sunday we drove me back to Portland and I flew home. My trip was on Pacific Surfliner 1761 then Metrolink out to San Bernardino to see the new station platforms.Next Robin and I drove out to Fillmore for the Fillmore and Western Railroad Railfest 2017 with a fantastic photo runby. Next Robin and I did Fullerton Railroad Days 2017 which went very well!

In early June, Bill Compton and I flew to the Twin Cities. Once there, we stopped at the Minnehaha Depot before we followed the CP Rail ex Soo Line out to Glenwood then stayed in Alexandria for the night. The next morning we drove to Rollag to visit the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers. Here we met up with Bart and Sarah Jennings and Steven Mitchell of Yard Goat Video Productions. We all shot the three stations on the grounds before Tom Hall showed up and gave us a tour of their roundhouse. We next all drove to Dalton to the grounds of the Lake Region Pioneer Threshers Association. Here I was interviewed by three newspapers before we took two rides behind French two foot engine built by Decauville on a half mile loop of 60 cm track. After that they ran the train for two more laps while we photographed it from many angles. They asked Bart and I if we wanted a cab ride and you know we did just that.

We called Dave and Cathy Smetko who were in Leonard waiting for Milwaukee Road 261. We got there then got caught up with Dave on his things. Milwaukee Road 261 soon showed up and we chased it to Shelton, then Buttzville and on to Lisbon we we broke off. We next drove to West Fargo to visit Bonanzaville USA and their Northern Pacific 4-4-0 684 on display there before driving to Davenport where we had a steak dinner in a bar in town. After dinner we rode Milwaukee Road 261 from Davenport to Lisbon and later it was just I who rode in the Super Dome from Davenport to Breckenridge. We stayed two nights in Whapeton, North Dakota. The next morning we meet Bart and Sarah at a road crossing in Dwight, ND and after an hour they decided to drive into Breckenridge. There they found out that Milwaukee Road 261 being steamed up but no excursion train. That meant that the employee train had already gone north. I called the Red River Valley dispatcher who said that the train would be in Dwight within the hour. We waited and just before the train arrived we were joined by 15 photographers. The train came and went then we returned to the hotel for a rest. We went back to Breckenridge then waited with friends for our Milwaukee Road 261 trip from Breckenridge to Kindred and return.

After boarding I brought a dome seat and rode in that until Kindred where I gave Bill his chance to ride in the Super Dome. The next morning we left Whapeton and stopped in Breckenridge to take pictures of the Red River Valley Railroad power there. After that we chased Milwaukee Road 261 from Breckenridge to Wilmar, getting many interesting pictures along the route. In Wilmar, we photographed Great Northern 4-8-2 2523 on display. We drove south to the End of the Line Railroad Park in Currie, MN and photographed their Georgia Northern 4-6-0 102 and the Minnesota Southern Railroad engine is really former DSP&P Ferrocarril de Salvery A Trujillo 2-6-0 13 from Peru. After that we drove to Worthington for a Milwaukee Road station then east to Albert Lea for the stations of Great Western Railroad, Milwaukee Road and Rock Island plus a crossing tower. We drove south into Iowa, first stopping in Manly for the Iowa Northern GP-20 2000 and Rock Island caboose 17054. Further south at Mason City, we photographed the stations of the Great Western and the Milwaukee Road plus Minneapolis & St. Louis 2-8-0 457 on display in East Park.

We spent the last night of the trip in Mason City. The last morning of the trip, we stopped by the Iowa Traction Railway shops and signed a release to be on the property. We took pictures of their trolley and all the electric engines they still owned. We got to watch two engines do their switching before we followed one down their route to an industry which we watched and photographed their switching activity. Satified, we went north to Mall of America where we rode the entire Hiawatha Light Rail System then photographed North Star Commuter trains before we headed back to the airport to fly home, ending another great trip with Bill Compton.

I finished my school year a week early then flew to Nashville going solo for the first three days. The next morning I started out after a good night's stay in Nashville to photograph depots in Smyrna, Murfreesboro with CSX local power and Tullhoma with a CSX freight. After that I went to Cowen to photograph the depot with Cherokee Brick and Tile 2-4-2 1 and Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis 44-tonner 100. All these Tennessee stations were NC&StL. Next I drove south into Alabama to Chase to visit the Northern Alabama Railroad Museum which had Mercury and Chase ex. Lackawanna Railroad S-2 484, Alco RSD-1 8652 andMercury and Chase Alco S-2 213. From here I drove through a corner of Georgia to get back into Tennessee to fight the nightmare traffic going through Chattanooga to reach Townsend and the Little River Railroad Museum with Little River Lumber Company Shay 2147 on display. I went through Pigeon Forge finding no signs for Dollywood, I highballed it for my motel in Knoxville where I rested a bit. After dinner at Arbys, I drove down to the banks of the Tennesssee River for my Southern Railway 154 Night Photo Session. I took many pictures of this new engine for me but headed back to the motel before it became completely dark and called it a night.

The next morning after checking out I went back to the Southern Railway 154 this time for a ride and a Freight Train Photo Charter. All photo locations were excellent. The actors were fantastic plus I finally had the opportunity to ride part of this unique railroad. After this I stopped in Glen Mary for a southbound Norfolk Southern freight then drove north to Stearns, Kentucky for a two night stay. That evening watching the Weather Channel told me that severe thunderstorms with lightning, hail and tornados would hit Northern Kentucky tomorrow where I was going to go, so a change in plans had to be made. I decided to visit the Norfolk Southern Rathole. After having to go to Sommerset to get breakfast with huge thunderstorms lurking in the north, I went to Cave Springs Road bridge and caught one train there. Next Keno Road Bridge where, unlike in 2007, when I saw computers dumped off the bridge down along the grade, this time there were none, but here came another NS freight. I then drove south Parker Road where I caught two trains heading in opposite directions. My last location was Wyborg Loop bridge where I caught a NS rail train. It had been a great morning of railroad photography. I went to a crossing in Whitney City, called Chris Parker who gave me the phone numbers of the Bluegrass Railroad where I cancelled my visit, then called the Big South Fork Scenic Railway and got on their 1 PM train. After a visit to KFC and a stop at my motel to clean up, I proceeded to the Big South Fork Scenic Railway for my second trip; the first was in 2007 withChris Parker. The only difference was no S-1 105 as power for the train but now SW9 106. I sat right behind it and enjoyed my trip. A northbound NS train went through Stearns just as we were leaving. The trip wentdown the mountain, through the tunnel then passed Barthell Coal Camp, by Union Railroad 0-6-0 14 and down to the new trackage before we reversed to reach Blue Heron. Having been here once before and having done everything, I got a Coca-Cola and relaxed then waited on the train for the trip back. That night it was Subway for dinner then I relaxed back at the hotel the rest of the evening.

I was up at 5:30 AM and left the motel then stopped in Harriman, where I stopped at McDonald's for my usual breakfast. In Rockwood I stopped for Southern caboose X347 on display there. Then it was west on US 70 to Crab Orchard where I met up with Steve Barry and Mike Berghart who were there like me for a Lhoist freight train chase. I caught Lhoist B23-7 4021 which is used as the plant switcher. We just waited and got caught up on things until they were ready to go. Our first shots were just east of the Lhoist Plant before the second stop at the Ashburn Drive grade crossing before they went one way and I went to the Price Loop grade crossing for solo pictures. Back to US 70 I found them pulled off the road for the Piney Creek bridge. From here I led the way to the Willett Hollow Tunnel that is under Mount Roosevelt Gap and we waited for the train to arrive. The final pictures were the the train exiting the Willett Hollow Tunnel under Mount Roosevelt Gap. Once the train had passed, I said my goodbyes to Steve and Mark, who were going to continue to chase. I had to drive back to Nashville where I checked into the Days Inn Airport Hotel and started to convert the pictures for the first story of this trip.

Elizabeth then called saying that she and Bob were at baggage claim so I closed the computer and drove to the airport to pick them up. We then drove out to Lebanon for our Music City Star train trip. We first stopped to get a picture of the Tennessee Central Lebanon station before we headed to the Music City Star station. The train came in and we boarded the former Chicago and North-Western bi-level cars with their awful greenish tinted windows. We rode the entire line including my new rail mileage to the Riverfront Station in Nashville. We boarded the same train but it only went to Mt Juilet where we waited thirty minutes for the next train back to Lebanon. We stopped at the motel to get the Alkire's checked in before we went to the Longhorn Steakhouse down the street where I enjoyed a much-needed steak.

The next day we got up early and headed south first to the Franklin Louisville and Nashville freighthouse. We drove from Franklin to Columbia, finding the Columbia Louisville and Nashville station built in 1904. Also here we found something else to take a picture in the form of Patriot Rail's Tennessee Southern GP9 1974. We next drove to Mount Pleasant finding the Patriot Rail's Tennessee Southern GP9 1955. We made our way to Florence and Bob and Elizabeth arrived in Alabama which was a new state for Elizabeth. Next we drove west and crossed the border into Mississippi and Elizabeth's third new state in the last two days. We arrived at Corinth Union Station then drove back into Tennessee to Selmer, our next stop, at the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio station. We then visited the NC&StL Depot Museum in Jackson. Across town we went to the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum which we toured. Before we left Jackson we found the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Iselin shopsand the motive power of the Western Tennessee Railroad. On the way to Clarksville, we made an unscheduled stop at Bruceton finding CSX SD40-2 8052 in the yard. Next we drove the rest of the way in Clarksville tosee the train display at the depot called The Last Train to Clarksville, a homage to the song by the Monkees, with Louisville and Nashville Clarksville station along with Illinois Central caboose, former US Army 907, and R.J. Corman GP35M 3501 playing their parts in this display. After this went to White Castle for dinner before we drove to Madison to our final stop of the day at the Louisville & Nashville station before we returned to the motel for the night.

The next morning the 2017 NRHS Convention started. We stopped at McDonald's for breakfast before we drove over to the convention hotel, the Nashville Airport Hotel. We went to the second floor for a brief safety meeting before we went back down and I had Bus Three which all my usual passengers boarded, as well as a few new ones. We left for Chattanooga down Interstate 24 and made a stop at the Georgia Rest Area. From there we made it to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. I then took my first pictures of Southern Railway 2-8-2 4501 and Southern Railway 2-8-0 630 under steam. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's Missionary Ridge local, led by Tennessee Alabama and Georgia GP38 80 arrived at Grand Junction which I photographed. After it had unloaded and loaded its next passengers, the steam engines pushed back the rear of our trainset while they were switching our train together. I walked up to the front of the train at this point and started my photography as the steam engines backed by me. Once that was done, I caught the TVRM Missionary Ridge local as it headed out of the station area heading back to East Chattanooga. They used the loading ramp instead so I got in the front of that line. Once the train was spotted, they let us board and I took a seat and saved the seats in front of me for Bob and Elizabeth in Southern coach 829.

The train passed through the 986 foot long Missionary Ridge tunnel built in 1858. As we left the museum grounds, we received a send-off from the Missionary Ridge local returning to Grand Junction. Now it was going to be fun going down the piece of railroad that I have never been on before, taking us from East Chattanooga to the Norfolk Southern mainline, my only new miles at the this convention. At the NS Mainline end, my new mileage ended, because from the Chattanooga Choo Choo, where the 2007 NRHS convention trips left from, we came out to the main and zig-zagged onto the Summerville line. So it was back to old mileage the rest of the way there, which is fine with me. One of the things I remembered about this railroad was the large amounts of kudzu plants as we started our journey south toward Summerville. Our group three was then chimed into the dining room where we responded with going and sitting in the second dining car for lunch. They served Hero sandwiches with cheese, so I could not eat it. I therefore just had the dessert, which a nice big piece of chocolate cake, along with lemonade. It really hit the spot. After lunch we did two most excellent double photo runbys at Rock Springs. I later shot the Lafayette depot and offices of the Chattanooga and Chickamauga Railroad as well as their GP11 1804 and GP7 102. I enjoyed a can of Coca-Cola as the train went the final miles to Summerville. We pulled into the depot, ending a fantastic trip with Southern Railway 4501 and 630. A special thank you to all the volunteers of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum for providing us with this steam railroading experience.

We then were off first and headed to our buses where we waited for all the passengers to come back for the trip back to Nashville. Once we did that and they were all aboard, we headed west into Alabama where I got on the PA system and told everyone they were now in Alabama and where they were going tomorrow, that they would be getting their fourth state. I asked if we had ever had an NRHS convention that had been in four different states. That generated some good discussion. The rains then came as we made our way into Alabama as this was the first attack from Tropical Storm Cindy. Next I asked how many train songs we could come up with which made another interesting discussion for all our passengers. After that, it was how many states have we not had an NRHS convention in. All this broke up the long trip back very nicely. We returned to the Nashville Airport Hotel and unloaded the bus. After that, we went upstairs and bought our souvenirs from this convention and then to Popeye's Chicken for dinner. Back to the motel and the first day was complete.

Day Two started with a good breakfast at the Waffle House then making our way to the convention hotel and I got new batteries for my radio. I then boarded Bus 2 and at 8:00 AM we headed north. We stopped at a Kentucky Rest Area before we drove the rest of the way to Bardstown and My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. Elizabeth went to the Bowling Green Railroad Park and then New Haven to the Kentucky Railroad Museum today. The bus arrived and we all stayed on board while Bus 1 was given their tickets then Skip came on and made a few announcements. The lady from the dinner train passed out our tickets for my car and I had time to photograph the train before the trip started in a light rain storm courtesy of Tropical Storm Cindy. This was my second time riding this train. The other time was a dinner train experience in December when I rode the whole line in the dark so I was now able to see and photograph the countryside and features of the train. Highlights were the former Louisville and Nashville depot with a caboose in Deatsville, the T.W. Samuels Distillery Bourban Warehouse and the Crossing the Jackson Hollow trestle bridge. I came back to my table and found my food for lunch was covered to keep it warm. We had a lunch of excellent roast beef and mashed potatoes which was fantastic. During lunch we ran by the Jim Beam Distillery. From here, we rode the rest of the way to Limestone Springs where the power ran around the train and there was a water tower, distilleries and the Louisville and Nashville Limestone Springs Junction station. The engine ran around the train for the final time of the trip. We returned to Bardstown where I was let off with the bus drivers and since it was pouring rain, everybody else would walk through the kitchen car to exit the train to the depot. A special thank you to My Old Kentucky Dinner Train for having the NRHS conventioneers here today.

Once the buses were able to move, they pulled down by the depot and our passengers had a much shorter walk to their proper bus. When we had all of our passengers, we left Bardstown heading back to Nashville in the rain. The rains continued until just south of Bowling Green, so we made a rest stop at the Welcome Tennessee center. From here, we stayed on the interstate through the Nashville stop-and-go traffic to get onto Interstate 40. The one thing about going this way was I had the opportunity to see where the Nashville Predators play and the Tennessee Titans play. We returned to the Nashville Airport Hotel where we debused everyone and I returned my clipboard to Eileen. Bob and I then went into the lounge to wait until I figured Elizabeth was ten minutes away. She arrived and did what she needed to do before we drove back to the Days Inn, ending another great day despite Cindy. We had an excellent time on the NRHS Old Kentucky Dinner Train.

The next morning, Elizabeth and I went to McDonald's and headed to the Nashville Airport Hotel. Bob would be going into Nashville to see the sights while we would do the NRHS Andrew Jackson's Hermitage tour and the NRHS General Jackson Showboat. We waited for John Goodman and met our other two bus hosts, Larry and his wife from Quincy, Illinois, out of the St. Louis Chapter. John arrived and we discussed the plan for today as well as giving me the phone numbers of both of our contacts for today. We then went down and loaded our Bus 1 for the much shorter bus trip to the Andrew Jackson Hermitage site. The bus stopped and I went in to get the tickets for our group and basically all I received was a receipt which they said would get everyone in. We lined everyone up and then divided them into three groups. Our group, number three, would go to the grounds, then the mansion and finally, the movie. At least that was the plan.

During the grounds tour, I found a spot where everyone in my group was able to get two great pictures of the mansion. We then visited the Andrew Jackson grave shrine and saw the graves of General Andrew Jackson and Rachel Donelson. Next we toured the mansion in two groups which was fantastic. Finally most of my group went and saw the movie with Robert Redford playing the part of Andrew Jackson. I learned so much about this man and felt I was given a true education about him. Next it was now time for our group to start returning to the bus. It is always very interesting to see if people follow directions. Everybody did that and soon we were all off to our next stop of the trip, the General Jackson Showboat.

We arrived at the General Jackson Showboat and I went to the ticket office who had 87 tickets for the show. We had lined everyone up while I was doing that and they waited for me to give each one a ticket. Each ticket had a table number where they would sit at. I made sure Elizabeth and I had a seat at the same table. When I had a few extra tickets left, I sent Elizabeth to find the bus drivers who had done an excellent job all week and she presented them with two tickets. They were very appreciative and one of them had never seen the show so I thought it was high time that she did. Since we were the last two people to board, there was no hurry. The trip would be going upstream as near Nashville there were thunderstorms with lightning so we avoided that. We went in and found our table, stowed our stuff and visited the buffet where I got fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a dinner roll and then I asked for some water since I do not like iced tea.

After my meal I decided, as Alex Mayes had told me the balcony is a far better place to take pictures of the show, to go up there to watch the show called A Taste of Tennessee. It would feature music from all over the state. It should be an interesting show which it was. This performance was extremely well done as I really enjoyed the violin-playing musicians and all the singers who made for an unforgettable afternoon. A big thank you to them for an excellent show that I will never forget. I then walked out of the theatre and went up one level where I found Elizabeth and we enjoyed the Cumberland River together. We were enjoying the views until our un-favorite Tropical Storm Cindy decided to send monsoonal rains that made everything, even under the covered decks, wet. Elizabeth and I ended up in an unused lounge and sat at a table, then talked and she discovered that I wanted a T-shirt of the Showboat experience and she offered to get me one.

We returned to the Nashville Airport Hotel where we dropped the people off and returned to the Days Inn and relaxed. After this, Bob, Elizabeth and I drove back to the Nashville Airport Hotel for the social hour and the NRHS Banquet. We went to the social hour where I paid four dollars for a Coca-Cola. After that stupid move of mine, I remembered there was a vending machine on the second floor so I would not make that mistake again. At 7:00 PM, the doors were opened and we went into the banquet room. We were greeted by John Goodman, the convention chairman, but this year for some reason, there was no invocation at the beginning which I found very strange as we were in the Bible Belt of America. For my dinner, I had the chicken which I have to admit was not as good as the Showboat's. After the recognition and introduction of guests, the Rail Heritage Grant collection was announced and $3,168 was raised by all of us in attendance. Following that Al Weber, the NRHS President, spoke to us. Once he was finished, John Goodman then introduced Mr. Robert D. Tuke whose speech included a Powerpoint presentation on saving Nashville's Union Station from demolition, but not the train shed, which was the largest in America. Once that was finished, the banquet was over and we returned to the Days Inn and had a good night's sleep before our final NRHS convention trip.

We met at 6:15 AM and drove over to the Waffle House for another good breakfast. From here we drove over to the Nashville Airport Hotel and boarded the first bus to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum. I found out that the museum was ready for our group so we turned them loose into the museum. Me, I decided to walk and photograph a few of the locomotives around the museum. I was then led out to the gate and took my location at the front of the line for boarding. About twenty minutes later, they opened the gate and I led the way on to the train, sitting in the former Santa Fe car. The consist of our special NRHS Tennessee Central train was Tennessee Central E8A 6902, Louisville and Nashville F7B 715, Nashville and Eastern B40-8W 573, TCRX coach 4717, TCRX coach 4739, TCRX dome coach 9400, TCRX coach 3119, TCRX baggage car 1266, TCRX HEP car "Silver Chest" formerly Amtrak. We started backing to reach the route of the Nashville Music City Star train and once we were past the switch we started the trip to Cookeville this morning.

Later we reached the Lebanon Music City Star station. This is where we departed from for our ride on the Music City Star on Monday to the Riverfront station. This starts Bob and Elizabeth's brand new rail mileage all the way to Cookeville. We passed the Music City Star's shop complex then I returned to my seat and enjoyed another Coca-Cola. Later on, I returned to the vestibule, trying to get a picture of the Carney Fork River. Later we reached the end of our trip at the Cookeville Tennessee Central station. I then joined the photo line for our first runby in Cookeville. Passengers could either join our runby or pick up their boxed lunch. We all chose the photo runby and some would eat afterwards, except me. I went and bought an ice cream cone at the shop that John Goodman recommended and boy, was it good. Photo runby number two was the train arriving back into Cookeville after the power was run around the train. When the passengers boarded, they all went to the wrong cars because they thought the train had been turned, although it had not. Elizabeth and I wrote the trip story on the trip back to Nashville. Once we returned, we were bused back to the Nashville Airport Hotel and returned our vests and radios before driving to the Longhorn Steakhouse for a fantastic dinner. Once at the Days Inn, Elizabeth and Bob packed while I started working on the Hermitage story and Elizabeth soon joined me and we proceeded to get the last two stories finished. This ends our coverage of the 2017 NRHS Convention in Nashville.

We got up on Sunday morning and left the Days Inn at 6:15 AM and drove into downtown Nashville to visit the State Capitol building of Tennessee. Out in front was a statue of Edward Carmack. From here, we made our way over to Nashville Union Station which is now a hotel. We went inside and took pictures. The inside of this beautifully restored station was the topic of our NRHS Banquet speaker. From here, we drove to Centennial Park for our next stop on this early morning to photography the NC&StL 4-8-4 576. After that we drove to the Parthenon, which was also used as a backdrop for the battle against the Hydra in the 2010 film "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief". We met a dog walker who then told us another great shot was across the lake. We thanked him and drove over to the lake to find a fantastic photo spot which we did. Satisfied, we drove back to the Waffle House to have another fantastic breakfast. Bob realized, or he thought, he had lost his cell phone in the bathroom at Nashville Union Station. So we drove back over there but he had no luck finding it, until he looked on the floor of the back seat of the car and found it. Well, this was okay because now we were going to have an opportunity to get more pictures of Union Station and might even see a train or two. So we drove over to the bus station parking lot and since it was a Sunday morning and nobody cares, we parked there for just a few minutes to capture more views of Union Station. We returned to the Days Inn and relaxed before I drove Bob and Elizabeth back to the Nashville Airport for their flight home to Seattle.

From here, I drove north to Bowling Green, Kentucky to visit the Bowling Green Historic Railpark and Train Museum, my last place to visit on this trip. I parked and walked to the end of the display train and photographed all of their equipment as well as the depot. I then went in and paid twelve dollars for a tour of the railroad equipment display. The women walked me out to the tour that was going on and I joined the group, meeting our guide Luke. I toured the trainset and the museum then saw the large HO model railroad. I caught a northbound CSX freight before leaving Bowling Green then returned to the Days Inn in Nashville where I got all my quarters then went a half mile to the Coin Laundromat at 2565 Murfreesboro Pike. After an excellent steak dinner at the Longhorn Steakhouse, I returned to the Days Inn and started packing. Elizabeth called to say they had arrived in Seattle and she had also checked me in for my flight and I was TSA Pre-checked again. With my sore knee I would also be pre-boarded. I updated my rail mileage for this trip, worked on this story and watched television. The next morning, I relaxed until it was time to check out then gassed up the rental car before having a late breakfast. I returned the car to the airport then went to the Southwest Kiosk to print my boarding pass and checked one bag before I went through security. I then waited for the first of two flights home today. I read my new Tennessee Central book on this flight to Las Vegas. On the short flight home I did Sudoku puzzles. We landed and I claimed my bag then met my mother who drove me home, ending a most excellent trip to the 2017 NRHS Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Since my prescription sunglasses broke on the second day of the last trip, I had to go to Lens Crafters to get a replacement. They took my blood pressure which was 265 over 184 and said I should be taken to the Emergency Room but I said I would take care of it. The next day I went to Urgent Care and the doctor there took great care of me. She prescribed Lisinopril to lower my blood pressure and Hydrocholorothiazid to reduce the water in me. She sent me to get blood work done and I had good results. Over the next month I lost over 30 pounds, took salt out of my diet, limited myself to one Coca-Cola a day and my blood pressure became normal again. However, I still check it twice a day. As of mid-August I am now under the care of Doctor Shabdeen as my new doctor.

At the end of July with 1,495,197.6 rail miles, I boarded the Pacific Surfliner 763 to Los Angeles then transferred to Train 14, the Coast Starlight, for a relaxing trip to Portland in Coast Starlight Business Class lower level service. It was great to be back on a long distance train again and this trip would cut my rail mileage in half for my next goal of 1,500,000.0 rail miles. The Starlight arrived in Portland the next day 38 minutes late. I took the MAX light rail out to the Days Inn at 82nd Street for the night. The next morning I took the MAX back to Portland Union Station and took pictures of Amtrak Cascades Seattle Seahawks 90250. I walked out to Car 9 and took seat 13 and I found 15 inches of window and a wall. So much for my window seat. I put on my DVD of Jeff Beck Performing This Week at Ronnie Scott which took me to Tacoma. I detrained at Seattle then walked east to the International District/Chinatown station, bought an Orca Card and put $10 on it and then tapped it and headed down the escalator to the platform to Angle Lake. Once there it was down the elevator, tap the Orca Card then the escalator back to platform and boarded the train to University of Washington station. Then it was up two escalators, tap the Orca Card then back down two other escalators and back to the platform to return to the International District/Chinatown station. There I took the elevator back to the surface before I walked back to King Street Station to wait for my Empire Builder to Edmonds. About thirty minutes before train time, I was standing in line and I saw a familiar face looking for me. It was Bob Alkire who had taken the bus to Seattle so that he could ride to Edmonds with me. I was happy he did this as now I would have someone to talk to on the Builder. We boarded the lower level of Empire Builder Train 8 since we were only going to Edmonds, the first stop of the train's trip. It was a quick trip and we talked the whole way there. All too soon we were detraining in Edmonds where Elizabeth picked us up and drove us to their house in Lynnwood. This ended an interesting way of getting from Santa Ana to Edmonds by rail.

We woke up and I worked on my Winterail program while the Alkire's fixed breakfast. After I checked e-mail, we locked up the house and drove to Skykomish. We pulled in and parked and then I saw the first train of the day out on the Great Northern & Cascade Railway main line which I photographed. The Skykomish Great Northern depot built in 1898 is used by the group as a gift shop, museum and office. The group owns a former Great Northern SD-9 1731, later BN 599 which was donated to the Great Northern and Cascade Railway by BNSF. I heard a horn coming up the valley, so I knew the BNSF which had a train waiting at Gold Bar was on its way. BNSF 6894 East was the first freight train to come through Skykomish this morning. I came back to the grounds and rode my first trip of the morning. I would make fourteen trips, seven on each trainset, during my visit. Bob is a conductor and engineer while Elizabeth helps out at the station. I took pictures 8 BNSF freights during my visit to the unique Great Northern and Cascade Railway. Today they had 451 riders and donations of about $350. I really enjoyed my visit to this unique railroad and highly recommend to anyone in the Pacific Northwest or visiting the area between the months of May and the end of October to come and ride this train as it is free to all. We left Skykomish and stopped by Union Bank in Monroe so Bob could make the day's deposit and I could get more cash. We then went to The Buzz Inn Steakhouse where I had an eight ounce top sirloin steak which was excellent. We returned to the Alkire's house for the night and watched NCIS.

We all got up early and after a good breakfast, took off up Interstate 5 to Blaine where we took the State Route 543 Truck Crossing into Canada. With only a less than five minute wait, we had one car in front of us before it was our turn. Upon arrival at the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway, I first photographed the replica depot. The equipment that this group owns is impressive and includes B.C. Electric interuban car 1304 "Connaught" in its final stages of restoration, B.C. Electric interurban car 1225; the car that is operational at this moment, and B.C. Electric interurban car 1207 acquired from the former Downtown Historic Railway in Vancouver. They have a generator car that provides the power for BCER 1225. The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway recently completed an extension to the carbarn to house B.C. Electric interurban 1231, which is coming to the property later this year.

Next I met Bob in the car barn and then boarded Car 1225 for the safety run. I sat on a stool for my trip down the museum's trackage. Once we returned, I walked over to the barn for an unobstructed view of Car 1207. I went into the museum room of the depot and sat in the chairs to watch the video. Elizabeth brought me my first ride ticket and a few minutes before the trip started, I walked out to the platform and waited to board. On today's rides, Bob would be the motorman for two trips and the conductor for the other two trips. I talked to the crew about how I wanted to take my pictures and they agreed to let me kneel on the return trip to get the trip back down the line. I would make four trips from Cloverdale to Sullivan where the original car barn was and where I visited on my last trip here in 2011.

After trip two, I checked with Elizabeth to see when we were going for lunch and I then walked on top of the Highway 15 bridge and waited for the 12:30 train. I saw Mount Baker on this clear day before I photographed Car 1225 from the bridge. I returned toward the museum and found Elizabeth waiting for me and we went to A&W where I had a Mama Burger and a root beer, which really hit the spot. I made my final two afternoon trips then watched the car being put into the car barn. A special thank you to both Bob and Elizabeth for taking me to the two places at which they volunteer. We waited for Bob to finish his duties before we left and headed to the Save-On Foods store. Once that was done, we drove back to the border where it said there would be a twenty minute wait. We did it in twelve minutes and once we were across and back in my homeland, my Verizon phone worked again, complete with the correct time, so I made a few phone calls as we travelled down Interstate 5. We stopped for petrol in Bellingham before stopping in Burlington for dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. Once that was done, we returned to the Alkire's house in Lynnwood for the night. It had been a great day and I highly recommend you go to Surrey to visit the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway.

Last night we were talking and Bob asked me if I would like to take Sounder from Everett which would be more mileage for me, so you know I said "Yes!" So this morning I was up early and after checking the Internet, had another great breakfast. Bob drove Elizabeth and I to Everett and dropped us off. Elizabeth used her Orca Card and a very helpful security guard helped me get my paper ticket. A BNSF freight pulled next to us prior to departure and one runner from the other side of the tracks missed his train as we departed right on time. I would get a short piece of new track up the main line switch in Everett. Once that was done we curved into the tunnel under Everett that took us to the shores of the Puget Sound. It was a beautiful morning without any clouds in the sky. Mount Rainier was seen the whole way along the water. We passed another BNSF stack train and Cascades Talgo 510 for Vancouver, BC. The train crossed the Ballard Drawbridge, went through BNSF Interbay Yard, along the Seattle Waterfront then into the Downtown Tunnel before we arrived at Seattle's King Street Station. We waited for all the other passengers to detrain before we did, then took the elevator up to the bridge and then down the west side in that elevator. Inside the station Bob was waiting for us so I used the bathroom before saying goodbye to both Bob and Elizabeth Alkire. It had been another fantastic trip with two of my best friends in the whole world.

Now I waited for the Coast Starlight to board. They scanned my ticket with the sleeping car passengers and then waited for the door to be opened. Train time came and went. They announced the Coast Starlight would be late and I found out they had two cars they had to be replaced The train backed in at 9:38 AM and soon we were allowed to board. I took my usual rear seat lower level west side of the train and Amanda was my car attendant. The train left at 9:58 AM {9:35 AM}, 23 minutes late and I was heading home. I photographed the new State of Washington locomotives soon to be put in service. I worked on my Winterail 2018 Powerpoint show as the train made its way south. I took a break at noon for lunch in the dining car and enjoyed an Angus Beef burger. Back to work, I took a second break to photograph the Coast Starlight in Portland. Since the Dining Car Steward never came down and they had started dinner service, Amanda took my order and I prepaid. She brought me back the change and a few minutes later brought me Amtrak's signature steak which I enjoyed at my seat. At Eugene I took a fresh air break before I manually timed my program. I put on my DVD of Alice Cooper Theater of Death program then called it a night. I was sound asleep just before Klamath Falls when the people getting off were very loud and noisy and woke me up. They had opened the door and left it open. I glared at these detrainers and finally said, "You woke me up and please close the door!" They did that but a man and women came in and talked in loud voices the rest of the way to Klamath Falls where they both got off and peace returned. I had the lower level all to myself since Eugene. I returned to my nightly slumber.

I survived the night and woke up very well rested at Chico. I changed clothes then went to the dining car at 6:30 AM for my breakfast of French Toast and bacon. I checked my blood pressure and caught up the story. Later I saw Caltrains new locomotive 2105 at Oakland. Later we arrived into San Luis Obispo and a fresh air break. I ran into Conductor Bobbie Lee on the platform so I gave her one on my 2018 calendars. We left SLO and headed next to Santa Barbara. The Dining Car Steward once again passed me up for dinner reservations so Amanda took my order and I used my six dollar off Business Class coupon. She brought me back too much money which I returned and then I received my Signature Steak and really enjoyed my meal in the peace and quiet of the lower level. I put on my DVD of The Mummy Tomb of Dragon Emperor that would take me to Santa Barbara and beyond. After Point Conception I called Elizabeth who told me our ETA is now 11:10 PM. The bus it will be! I took my last fresh air break of the trip as we arrived in Santa Barbara. We continued to Oxnard, Simi Valley, Van Nuys and Burbank Airport.

We arrived in LAUPT at 11:10 PM {9:00 PM} ending the rail part of my trip home. I walked out to the bus loading area just as the 11:10 PM bus for Santa Ana was leaving but the driver would not stop. I called the 800 number since not a single Amtrak person was out here and she called the ticket office to tell them we were all out here waiting. Finally she came out and told us that Amtrak could not hire any buses to take us. We had been told on the train that the buses would be waiting for us! She told us that anybody going to Fullerton or Santa Ana would take the 12:55 AM bus and those going to Anaheim, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, Oceanside, Solana Beach or San Diego would take the bus at 2:55 AM. Some people found other ways to get to their destinations. Then we found out there would be no buses until 2:55 AM. This is a big joke and Amtrak is the cause of all this. The bus from Bakersfield broke down which is unacceptable. The 2:55 AM bus came in and I boarded that one which stopped at Fullerton but had no Anaheim passengers, so it was a straight shot to Santa Ana dropping me off at 3:50 AM, ending this busing adventure. My mother picked me up and I was home in my bed by 4:15 AM, ending this adventure.

Now it was time to start planning my 1,500,000.0 million mile trip for 9/9/2017. I came up with plan 1 but that didn't work, then did plan 2 which was short by .3 of a mile. I rode more trips then on 8/19/2017, came up with plan 3 which, if followed would work fine. I triple checked it and had a plan I would follow. My train riding came to a stop except for the trips I could take. The Irvine Park Railroad really helped me out with five rides as did the Santa Ana Zoo Train for one ride. My next school year started at Heninger in mid-August and I gave my teachers and staff members their new 2018 Chris Guenzler Rail Calendar that I make on Vista I have new 5th graders and my now 6th Graders and still work with Mrs. Wright. I worked until 9/8/2017, had T-shirts made to give out plus a plaque that Conductor CJ would hand me on that morning. Elizabeth and I met our group and soon we were on our way to Solana Beach aboard Pacific Surfliner 562 and then took two group pictures in Solana Beach. About twenty-five minutes later we all boarded Pacific Business Class on Pacific Surfliner 1567 which we all took back to Santa Ana. There, I was last to leave the train and then gave the 1.5 with my two hands with my thumb marked black, and with that I had completed my 1.5 Millionth Rail Mile. Conductor CJ then presented me with the plaque and lots of pictures were taken by my group. I want to thank everyone who came with me on this special event in my life. Elizabeth and I went to Santa Ana High School for an All-Saint Event so she had the opportunity to see where I went to high school. We then made a round trip to Oceanside on Metrolink, followed by a trip to Irvine Park and rode the train there. I took her on a drive out to Cooks Corner and showed her some of the unspoiled Orange County, then went to the Habit to pick up dinner and we wrote the story of today. Sunday we repeated yesterday's trip but took it north to Fullerton then made a Metrolink round trip to Oceanside. I took to her to Ruby's Diner at the Orange Station before driving her back to the airport and she flew home to Seattle.

On September 30th, I took Delta Airlines from John Wayne Airport and flow to Minneapolis. I got a rental car off site and stayed two nights at the Motel 6. I had dinner at Burger Burger at the Mall of America which was my first visit there. On October 1st I took the Milwaukee Road 261 fron Minneapolis Jct to Glencoe and we did a double photo runby at Bongards, MN. A Twin Cities & Western diesel pulled as back. I was up early at 4:30 AM then drove to the 62nd Street station and caught the 5:22 AM Blue Line train to Target Field then bought my round trip ticket to Target Field to Big Lake. I took Northstar Commuter train 1601 predawn out to Big Lake and then returned on train 1608 back to Target Field. I returned to the 62nd Street station then gassed up the rental car and returned to the Motel 6 and wrote the Northstar story. I returned the rental car then got my boarding pass. I then rode he entire Hiawatha Light Rail system before returning to the airport and getting dinner. I then got my seat assignment and was preboarded aboard the airplane. We were delayed thirty minutes by a heavy thunderstorm. I watched two full movies and one short so the time flew by and my mother picked me up ending another great trip. In late October, Bill Compton and I went first out to the Pedestrain Bridge over the BNSF mainline in Placentia before heading west to Fullerton and the BNSF bridge there. We saw many BNSF and passenger trains on that trip. I made the detour trip over the Tehachaphi Loop aboard the Coast Starlight. In December Robin and I took the Special Metrolink Train to the Mission Inn Festival Lights in Riverside. I wrote a story about the First Coaster Train 631 to be run with Positive Train Control then saw Santa Fe 3751 at Union Station. The next morning Robin and I went to Los Angeles and rode Angels Flight before riding out to the new San Bernardino Downtown station on Metrolink. That does it for 2017!

A11 of these stories can be found on my web site at My web site had its hit on Christmas morning. Thank you to all who reads it.

Rail mileage was 1,474,025.5 on January 1, 2017 and on December 31, 2017 it was 1,513.114.7 rail miles on December 31, 2017 or 39,089.2 rail miles for the year 2016.

The year started with 8019 Days of Sobriety and ended with Day 8383 on my 60th Birthday on December 31, 2017. It had been a great sober year of my life.

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 8383