Thanks for your insights, man! I think it's really cool that you have as much rail travel experience and wisdom as you do. As such, I printed out your tips page to make a travel guide for myself. I really appreciate your following along and offering most needed help and reassurance. I'm looking forward to this trip, and hope to make more in the future. I'll be taking lots of pictures, and if you want, I'll send you some. Thanks again, for everything!~Billy M. (GP-38)
I had just finished reading the article of the trip we went on together. I must say "I am impressed" now I know that I had the honor of partisipating in one of train destination and new tracks you needed to ride. Thank you again for the invite and one of the most exciting trips I've been on. I know soon you will reach that 2.4 million mark. P.S Congradulations on your sobriety. Keep it up.Friends Bill Beale
Chris...thanks for the update. What a web site. You should be proud of ALL of your accomplishments. It was fun reading about all of your adventures. Keep me posted...Diana
You seem to be posting new articles faster than I have a chance to read them. I just downloaded another eight of your great travelogues. Over thirty years, I have taken most of the trips you write about so your articles really resonate with me. I try to read about one a week. Keep up the good work. I love your viewpoints.Robert Henryson
I am awed by your honesty and courage, and am very pleased you are succeeding in staying sober. Congratulations!
One thing I have learned in my life is that God (The Powers That Be, Allah, etc - whatever you choose to call That Which Is) will NEVER violate your free will. Never. You have to ASK for help - but once you do, it is there right away. I "yell for help" mentally when I need it, and it is always there, in subtle and quiet, but very helpful ways.
AA IS wonderful - I think it is GREAT, and I am not an alcoholic - but I DO have my own problems, and AA's ideas and models HAVE been a help to me.
"One day at a time" is VERY practical advice - and sometimes one HOUR at a time is all one can manage.
Thanks again for sharing part of your journey with us. It DOES help to see the victories others have over life's problems.
"Clear green" for a great time railfanning, etc.!Margaret (SP fan)
I've just spent several interesting days reading about all of your train trips. First I want to congratulate you on your 2605+ days of sobriety! PRAISE THE LORD! You are indeed special in God's eyes.
I found your site thru trainweb which came up on a search I made that had nothing to do with trains. I'm sure glad I found it. My dad was interested in trains and we do an occasional tourist train ride when we are on vacation.
The interesting thing is that you go by my house in Irvine everyday. I live in Irvine between Culver and Jeffrey, less than a block from the tracks. I'm sure I've seem your train go by many times.
Again, thank you for your interesting stories and I will be checking back again in the future as you continue riding the rails with you heading toward a million miles on the rails and heading toward 3000 and then 4000 days of sobriety.
A cup of coffee, a breakfast sandwich and CG's latest. More good writing, to the point I felt I was there myself!!!!
Take care, Doug
I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed viewing your website. My wife and I are train enthusiasts and we live near Savannah, GA. If you are ever traveling through, please do not hesitate to give me a call. We would like to say hello! We would be happy to give you a tour of the area.
I want to thank Chris Guenzler for the fantastic write-up he did on his web page on google.com about the Hoyt Lakes trip. I never picked up a program and have regretted that since I got home. Now I can print a detailed description of the trip and relive the best weekend of my summer over and over. Thanks for taking the time to do this Chris. It's going in my scrapbook.
I found your site looking for some information on the Trans-Siberian trip!. Not sure that there is much of a link, other than the distances involved. I read through your stuff, and it is great to see what you are doing. Should you ever make to Australia, be sure to ride some of the brilliant trains here. They are worth the trip. Good luck on the million plus!
Mike Jackson Sydney Australia
PS Love your taste in music!!
I work for a small shortline in southwest Saskatchewan Great Western Railway. I have always been somewhat interested in trains and say that your pics and storys are the best.
Good morning Chris
My name is Olivier, I'm living in France Inner Paris. I'm very fond of American railroads since 1999's year. I mostly love modern railroading such as the BNSF and UP companies. I'm just saw your web site and this one is very fine.Yours differents trips along the way make me dream and recall me my last vacations inside your beautiful country. Three months ago, my wife and I went spending ours vacations in the New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. We have been from Clovis to Belen crossing by Mountainair and Vaughn. Each BNSF depot are very beautiful and go back me one step in the time. I was lucky as I got one inside the cab of the dash nine and I able to speak witth the crew who were very kind.
I would like to thank you about your web site, thank to you I can appease my hobby from France to the USA thougt the Atlantic Ocean. I have read your life about the demons liquor, your sobriety is a good evidence that alcoholic sick cured.I know about that matter because I'm nurse inside the emergency service from a large hospital in the center of Paris. Every days I nurse the alcohol demons damages. Your story is a evidence that takes alot of courage. In France the statistics studies show there are five millions alcoholics persons and this sick is a scourge.
Have a nice day.
I found your website about a week ago. I enjoy watching trains as well and I have been reading a little every night. It's been like taking a little vacation in my own home although your photos from Wyoming and Montana make me homesick! I read your website before the little spur train comes 2 blocks away from my house (RailAmerica) It comes between midnight and one and the crew knows me and lets me take photos, I am near the end of the line so I get them coming switching and going. I am learning to take night photos with a digital. My brother still drinks and my Dad has been in AA since 1989 and I don't have the words to tell you but pass on the spirit of encouragement that you keep going sober. Thanks again for such a great vacation everynight in my own home
Yes, I definitely have seen and read much of your web page! It is amazing how many train trips you have been on and it is a good reference that I have used often before leaving on a trip. I especially enjoy your stories about the sometimes crazy things that happened on your trips. I am excited as I am getting ready for a big month long trip with a North American Rail Pass during April and May. I will post reports and pictures on my website upon my return!
-Ben H. "coachseats"
Thank you for the beautiful web-site. My son who is 3 1/2 years old loves looking at all the trains. He loves trains more then anything and your site is just what he needed.Thank You,
I work for the railway in New South Wales, Australia. I'm employed as an area controller, sort of like a dispatcher and towerman combined.
I looked over you website and am impressed but I am most impressed with your personal struggle and how you had the courage and determination to turn your life around.
Congratulations and best wishes,
Hello, my name is Scott, I work for Union Pacific, you have an excellent website by the way, anyhow I was writing because I was looking at your photos from Pocatello and came across CNW 11170, and that number sounded familiar, and after investigation, I realized that this is the caboose that job 63 in Clinton IA uses when they go West to DeWitt, this caboose is still on the property although it is nowhere near as good of shape as in your photo, it is really bad, yellow has faded to near white, almost every window is broken, and rust has taken a strong hold, but shes still earning her keep every day! it was really cool to see the photo of her former glory, again great site.............Scott
Congratulations on your 3909 days of sobriety. I find your recovery story quite "sobering". I am a psychologist and have been dealing with A & D problems with individuals and families for years. Would you mind if I shared your struggle with alcohol with some of my patients? Maybe your struggle will be sobering to one of them. I have been reading the Amtrak railforum for many years and have posted only twice. I plan to make only my 2nd trip before years end.
I've enjoyed a number of your trip reports. Your expression "Every trip is an adventure!" deserves a tshirt line. It would be fun to wear on board... on Amtrak every trip is an adventure, and has been since I started riding them in '71. Even on the capitol corridor [my only rides recently], things can and do happen [even with 90% on time rating]. Anyway, thanks for your reports.
Russell here from Sedona, AZ just 25 miles south of Flagstaff where I'm sure you've passed through on rail many times before.
Anyway, I came across your website through a model railroding page and was intrigued by your account of your latest trip to Post Katrina NO-LA. What initially caught my attention was your taste in music which is almost uncannily identical to my own (though you did mention of couple of more obscure artists whose work I am not familiar with.
Your affinity for trains of course was another though I've logged in but a small fraction of the miles you have. I've never made a long distance trip (yet!)
Lastly was your sobriety. I'll be drink and drug free for 15 years on April 21st which is also close in time to your own.
Anyway, I'm home with a cold today surfing through train websites and I just wanted to tell you what's contained above. I plan to read more about your adventures on the rails across America.
Take care and thanks for the entertainment.
On the Capitol Limited, the menu was the one with the New York Strip, which they didn't have. They also had three or four substitions or scratches, which I couldn't remember.
On the Southwest Chief, they had the menu with the flat iron steak. Everything was still available on that menu.
BTW, I've read many of your travelogues in the past. They are informative as well as inspirational. Congrats on your continued sobriety. I'm sure I'll be joining you one of these days
I just wanted to say that I just found your site this evening and have enjoyed it thoroughly. It brought back the pleasure of having come down to help Bart for a couple of days and get the opportunity to travel those rails. Thank you for the site.
Chad C. Rogers
Family Readiness Group Liaison
A Company/320th/2nd Bde/80th Div(IT)/99th RRC
"If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself." GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON, JR.
"Never imagine that such concepts as duty, honour, and love of country are outdated." Sir Winston Churchill
"Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don't in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide."- Field Marshall Erwin Rommel
"You should always do your duty. You cannot do more. You should never wish do less."-General Robert E. Lee
"A good leader can't get too far ahead of his followers."-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
What a treat to have run in to your site! I appreciate it. I do have a question but I'm afraid it's not a very impressive one.
I have a question about the Illinois Zephry 347. It says it has a snack car but in my limited riding experience I seem to remember that the "snack" part was downstairs and the lounge was above it. Is that the case on this train? I will be traveling from Chicago to Galesburg with small children. Just trying to get all the info I can.
I enjoyed your writing. Maybe see ya on the train sometime.
Hey Chris, I just learned about you by reading "Honk" in the Local section in the Orange County Register. Wow! What an interesting and exciting website you have! Did you take all those pictures yourself? Can I meet you sometime? Congrats on your sobriety and your miles!
Gus Fieldhouse in Anaheim
Hi Chris! My name is Melissa and I am a train freak! I just stumbled onto your trip from Santa Ana to Fillmore for the train to Piru. All those orange trees reminded me of childhood memories too in So Cal. I am beyond impressed with your train travel. I have ridden on all scenic trains in Cal except Yreka. I have ridden all scenic trains in Nevada. Heber in Utah, Durango and silverton, Cog railway in Colorado. I am not a huge fan of Amtrak. I follow the ATSF 3751 whenever is is out and about!!!
In a nutshell I just have a thing for trains. I am also in Torrance and when not working or bored I look for PHL trains in the Harbor area.
Once again... great great job on the Piru pictures and narrative!
Thanks for documenting the various trips you take ... I really enjoy reading about them (just finished reading about the Feather River Express). It's really cool to "catch" you out on the railroad ... I never know when I'm going to run into you!
You did a great job balancing the story and the photos...felt like I was riding right along with y'all. Some of my Bay Area pals were on the train, but did not see them in any of the pictures. They said it was a great trip too.
That was a very definite wall cloud that lowered in your storm shots...and looks like a funnel wanted to form, but I guess not enough shear. We've seen a few of those back here this spring.
I started my railroad career in 1979 dispatching the WP, and lots of chair time on the Third Sub. So it brings back lots of great memories. Just glad the slides held off in the usual.
Hey Chris what's up
My name is Tim and I am just writing to let you know that the railfan guide you put together for the BNSF Marceline sub is simply awesome!!!!! I will be out there in a couple of weeks and I couldn't have wanted to read or study anything better than what you did. This in my terms seems to be a very photogenic area of RR and I am very anxious to get out there.
Do you have any guides or stories continuing west towards Kansas City, MO, or more eastward towards Fort Madison?
If so I would love to see them or if you could refer me to any other sites it would be greatly appreciated.
Again you did a terrific job covering this stretch of RR
Kudos to you bud!!!
Stan here. My wife and I and daughter met you yesterday on the train to Oceanside. Last night I came home and checked out you website. I especially enjoyed reading the story about your alcoholism and your continued recovery. Being the son of an alcoholic father, I can totally relate to your story. I think I told you that I was pretty much a newbie when it came to trains. I almost told you yesterday the story of one of the other couple of times I was on a train, but for some reason I left it alone. After reading your story, I decided to share it with you. I hope you don't mind.
It was the early summer of 1967 and my mom, dad, and I took a train to Colorado Springs Colorado. I was seven. My older brother was graduating from the Air force Academy and we went to watch the festivities. I believe that we caught the train in San Francisco. As soon as we found our seats, my dad headed off to get a drink. Sometime late that afternoon, the conductor? or whatever they are called came up to my mom and asked if she was married to Joe Henson. She said yes, so he asked my mom and I to come with him to help get my dad back to his seat. We proceeded to move from car to car and for a seven year old it seemed to me like that train stretched half way around the world. We finally got to where my father was and the conductor put one of my dad's arms around his neck with the other arm around my mom's neck. As it turns out, my job was to open the doors between the cars.
We headed back to our seats and this time it took way longer as my mom and the conductor had to walk sideways down the aisles with my dad dangling between them. After an eternity, we finally got back to our seats and they poured my dad into his seat on the aisle. My mom had the middle seat and I had the window. I was thanking God when my dad went to sleep after only a few minutes. He could get very belligerent when he was drunk and we were happy to see him start to sleep it off without incident. Turns out however, that it would not be without incident.
My dad had a nasty habit of doing things in his sleep. This time after being asleep for only a few minutes, I hear him go hooooooooccccckkkkkkkkk and then PFFFFTTT!!!! Yeah, that is right, his spits on this lady's leg across the aisle! It was this giant loogie and she was wearing nylons. My poor mom was beside herself trying to apologize to this lady who was actually very gracious. She must have been from the South because she had a distinctive accent that I can still hear in my head. She said to my poor mom that it was "okay" and that "her husband got like that sometimes" all the while trying to wipe that foul thing from her leg with a tissue. She eventually got her leg cleaned off and about ten minutes later, my dad did the same thing again to the same lady hitting her on the same leg. This time everyone turned around to make sure he wasn't aiming at them! That poor lady got up and I never saw her again.
Sometime after that, my dad woke up and decided to go to the bathroom. He staggered over to the bathroom and tried to get in but was pushing the wrong way on the door. There was boy older than me (11 or 12) trying to get out of the bathroom and he and my dad wrestled with the door until the boy was finally able to get out. My dad began to curse out the boy calling him stupid and yelling at him. He made the boy cry and he went and told his father what happened. His dad came over and was ready to grind my dad into the carpet. I don't remember how they avoided a fight, but thankfully it did not come to blows.
When my dad came back to his seat, instead of sitting down - he just laid down on the floor in the middle of the aisle and went to sleep. People were having to step over him. Eventually, the same conductor or porter or whatever they are called came back and was very angry. He literally ripped my dad up off the floor by his collar and threw him in his seat. He told my dad that if he had any more trouble with him that he would throw him off the train whether it was moving or not! My dad got the message and finally went to sleep for the evening. I was so embarrassed by that time that I threw up on myself and my poor mom had to clean that up as well. The last thing I remember was pulling the shade down on the window and finally going to sleep. My mom told me later that they fired the bartender on the spot for letting my dad get that drunk. She also said that the next time the train stopped, they kicked the bartender off the train (I didn't see that part).
It's a funny story now, but back then it was very embarrassing.
I'm glad that you decided by the grace of God to give up the drinking. I hope your story inspires others to do the same. By the way, my dad eventually gave up drinking. Like you, he got drunk every day. One day he had enough and just stopped. Later on before he died, my dad even became a Christian. My father was a very hard man and I never thought he would stop drinking. To see my dad become a Christian on top of that was nothing short of a full blown miracle. It just goes to show you the power and grace of God.
Maybe we will run into you again on our next trip. If not, happy travelling!
Very interesting to read some of your adventures on the railroad. I also am a friend of Bill & Bob since March 3, 1990. It has been an adventure I would not trade for anything. A few years ago the medical staff at the VA made me retire from operating heavy equipment, due to a triple bypass and a defibulator stuck in my chest. Had enjoy modeling back as a young teenager ( isolator), have a 17'X19' building on our property, so commenced to model the Western Pacific in HO scale. Has been a learning curve that has tried my patience, imagination, perseverance and willingness to learn something new. Really enjoyed the photos of the WP going through the Feather River Valley.
Not very good a communicating words in verbal or written sentences, so I ran out of things to say.
Will continue to read up on your adventures, and thank GOD that I am not alone.
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