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Reaching My Millionth Amtrak Rail Mile 4/7/2008

by Chris Guenzler

The Southwest Chief 4 4/7/2008

I was up at 5 AM and took a shower after shaving, I went to the Lounge Car and enjoyed the predawn running on Day 4828 of my sobriety. At 5:50 AM I got Jeff up and he joined me in the Lounge Car as did Chris Parker after we passed the BNSF Topeka Shop. Later we had breakfast and I enjoyed French Toast and Sausage Links. At the BNSF Argentine Yards our engines were refueled before we ran to Kansas City Union Station.

The Southwest Chief which we left Kansas City twenty five minutes late.

KCT engines as we left Kansas City.

Carl Morrison and Carol Walker joined our party at Kansas City this morning.

I tried on the Millionth Mile Amtrak Jersey as we left the Missouri River Bridge where on April 27, 2007 I broke my One Millionth Overall Rail Mile. Since several of our photographers would be in the Sleepers when we arrived into La Plata I thought it would be a good idea for them to get their pictures now when there was time.

Some bridge that was important last April 27th to me. I then took off that jersey and would wait until we arrived at our La Plata stop to put it back on. The train slowed through Carrolton before hustling through Marceline. About thirty minutes later they announced that we were arriving into La Plata and everyone headed back to the sleepers to detrain except Tom and I who remained in the lounge car to record the onboard arrival at La Plata.

The Millionth Amtrak Mile 4/7/2008

The Southwest Chief stopped at the La Plata and since this stop completed my Millionth Amtrak Mile, it was time to put on the official Million Amtrak Mile Hockey Jersey.

T.A. Once it was on we both walked back to the first coach to get off at the second stop of this double spot. Henry Ford used the PA to announce that "Chris Guenzler has reached his Million Amtrak Rail Mile as he arrived into La Plata this morning and if you look out the left side of the train you can see the balloons to celebrate this feat!"

I stepped off the Southwest Chief at La Plata with one Million Amtrak Rail Miles completed.

I was then given a plague that read: "Presented to Chris Guenzler on April 7, 2008 by the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation for completing your Millionth Amtrak Rail Mile at Mile Marker 312.7 on the eastbound Southwest Chief in La Plata, Missouri. This award signifies the Chris Guenzler is the only regular Amtrak Passenger documented to have traveled more than 1,000,000 miles via Amtrak since it was created in 1971 having covered every mile of every route of the system."

Three views after I received my plaque.

After I showed the plaque, we all boarded the Depot Inn Bus for the Silver Rails Event Center.

Inside of the Silver Rail Event Center.

T.A. Ray Ivy spoke first on behalf of the City of La Plata.

Tom Marshall welcomed the crowd and then showed the other three plaques to be placed around La Plata.

Two views of me addressing the crowd.

T.A. Ray Burns of spoke next thanking me for all I had done for them.

T.A. Ray Burns and me. After that short presentation the bus took us to the Depot Inn & Suites where I checked in and got my usual Pullman Suite. After a wonderful sauna bath, I took Carl and Tom out to the Exhibition of Amtrak History for Tom's first viewing. I relaxed back in the Pullman Suite until it was time to take a bus tour. Late in the afternoon we are loaded onto the Depot Inn Bus and Tom drove us to Gifford to see a train station that once belonged to the CB&Q Railroad. We all exited the van to have ourselves a look at this historic structure.

I went inside and here is a look out the bay window.

A look at the back of the building.

So. Gifford still on the north side of this building.

I think this is where the tracks once went.

After seeing the So Gifford Station we returned to La Plata via the Amish Countryside. Back in town the bus drove all of us to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point where all were invited to sign the inside of the structure.

Jeff did a little artwork with his. He is very talented drawer.

I added my latest goal which I had completed this morning.

On the wall across from that one is the one from last year.

An eastbound BNSF freight came by and you noticed that the trees had been cut to afford a clearer view.

That train had DPU's on the rear end.

A few minutes later, a westbound BNSF train hustled by our location. After a few more minutes, Jeff and I walked back to the Depot Inn & Suites. There we got ready for tonight's main event in La Plata. At 5:45 PM we all loaded onto the Depot Inn Bus and we drove down to the Silver Rails Event Center.

The Chris Guenzler Million Amtrak Mile Dinner at the Silver Rail Event Center

It would be a very nice evening at the Silver Rails Event Center.

We arrived and all went inside but I went outside to get a few more pictures.

There was this unique sign out on the street corner.

Switch stands along the parking lot.

The outside of the Silver Rail Event Center.

Steve and Barbara.

Tom and Kelly Marshall, owners of the Depot Inn & Suites.

Shivam, Ray and Bob.

My tablemates seated at our table. I enjoyed an excellent Prime Rib Dinner for my big day.

The Million Amtrak Mile Cake with that famous Pointless Arrow, Amtrak former public symbol.

The Trainweb group at their table.

I got to cut the Million Amtrak Mile Cake and had some fun with the photographers as I did. At 7:40 PM Steve, Carol and I took Tom and Jonathan to the Amtrak Station to catch the westbound Southwest Chief.

This sign summed up my whole day. If Amtrak Management has a reserved parking spot in La Plata then why were not they here when I got here this morning?

An eastbound BNSF freight passed through La Plata before the Southwest Chief arrived late.

Tom and Jonathan boarded the Southwest Chief for Fullerton and their homes, the first of our group to leave.

On the rear of their train was the St Lucia Highlands Pacific Parlor Car. In the rain we returned to the Silver Rail Event Center.

There was a band playing when we returned. Later without sound my Millionth Mile DVD was shown. The evening then broke up and Tom plugged the sign back in and I went for a walk.

Two views of that really cool sign. We were driven back to the Depot Inn & Suites for the night.

Special thanks to T.A. = Tom Anderson and L.B. = Larry Boerio for use of their pictures to tell a complete story of this event in my life.