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Chris Year End Review 2013

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 except unemployed as a sub for Santa Ana Unified School District. I had many interviews but still have not found a full time job yet. When I finished up at Spurgeon in December which was at the lowest point in that school's history, I said I would never sub there again. I started off 2013 at Adams for a day of ED then Santa Ana Valley for RSP for a pair of days. I then worked at Godeniz for 12 days of ED. I worked Saddleback for a day of SE then day at Willard for SE before going back to Saddleback for a day of SE with my favorite classroom there. I worked back at Jefferson doing RSP and it was great to see all my old friends there. I subbed again doing ED at Adams then 13 days of RSP at Godeniz. Next seven days of RSP at Santa Ana Valley High school. I did ED at Adams for a day then a day of RSP at McFadden and it was good to see all my old friends there. Next 4 days of RSP at Valley then back to Adams for ED before Spring Break. After the Spring Break I did my weirdest subbing RSP job doing a Split Esqueda/Monroe before I returned to Adams for a day of ED in my favorite room there with "The Boys". Next back to Saddleback to my favorite class there before I worked three days of Autism at Sierra. I did two days of Computer Tech at Diamond before I returned to Spurgeon for the final 33 days of the school year. I did turn some of those kids back to the good side of the force. In August I started off at Carl Harvey for SE preschool class, then worked back at McFadden for six days of RSP then to Jefferson for 4 days of RSP before I left for the NRHS Alaska Convention in mid-September. After I was back, I returned to the same sub job at Jefferson then had another job interview. This time I did get a 3.5 hour job at Heninger Elementary School. This is a dream school with no troublemakers and kids who really want to learn. I am truly blest. It took me four years to get back into SAUSD and a real job.

Most importantly everyone in the Guenzler family is doing well except for my sister Laura who died of Lou Gehrig Disease on my way to Winterail this year. I pray that God keep the rest of us all going strong in 2014.

Rock Bands I saw this year was Ian Anderson and his band playing both Thick as a Brick 1 & 2 at the Greek Theater. I saw Alice Cooper at the Orange County Preforming Arts Center in late November. Thanks to Maureen at Jefferson once again, I saw plenty of Anaheim Duck Games last season plus the LA Kings playing Colorado. I still love my ice hockey. I saw Alice Cooper in November at Orange County Performing Arts Center "Raise the Dead Tour".

I still belong to the Orange County Railroad Historical Society and do many shows of my trips for them. I belong to the National Railroad Historical Society and always attend their convention which was in Alaska, this year. 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 in each one of these groups. I produced my fourth railroad calendar "The Chris Guenzler 2014 Railroad Calendar" via Vista Print. I also host Lets Talk Trains at least once a month normally on the first weekend.

Now for the trips of 2013. Bill Compton and I made a Trip to Hill 582 in Cajon Pass and Beaumont Pass the second Saturday of 2013. In February Bill and I plus his friend made a trip to the Tehachapi Mountains to Photograph Trains. I went all rails to see the LA Kings Game at Staples Center on 2/23/2012. In early March I made a Sunday morning trip to the Horseshoe Bend in Santa Ana Canyon. Chris Parker, Bob and Elizabeth Alkire went from LAUPT to Stockton for Winterail which turned into a sad trip for me with the death of my sister Laura. I dedicated my Friday night show to her memory. Winterail was great and the next morning we all did the Niles Canyon Railroad Winterail Special Photo Special. After we dropped Bob and Elizabeth off at the BART Station we went and rode the Hillcrest & Wahtoke Railroad which we had visited Friday morning on the way there. In April Bill Compton and I did another Beaumont Hill Trip. In April Bill Compton and I did the Santa Fe 3751 chase and the next day I rode back from San Bernardino Railroad Days. I did two days at Fullerton Railroad Days 2013.

In May I flew back to Chicago and picked up Elizabeth Alkire at Midway for the Southern Appalachia Railroad Museum Rare Mileage IN-MI-OH Trips 2013. We visited Blue Island, Homewood then Michigan City for the South Shore trains heading east down the streets there. The next morning we went to Porter, IN before we visited the Hesston Steam Museum before our North Judson Rare Mileage Trip. The next day in Michigan we did the Coopersville & Marne Railway Trip before visiting depots, and railroad museums in that state. The next day we did three trips in Michigan the first on the Charlotte Southern then the Southern Michigan Railroad Historical Society Trip followed by the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Old Dinner Train. I drove us up to Romulus, KI for the night and said my goodbye to Elizabeth who would fly home in the morning. I crossed Ohio to get to the Ashtabula, Carson and Jefferson Rare Mileage Trip before driving to Mansfield, Ohio for that night. The next morning I was in Worthington at Ohio Railway Museum who gave me a ride in a GE electric locomotive. After that I went to Marion Union Station for 5 trains then north to the NW Ohio Railway Preservation Society for a visit then toured AuGlaize Village before staying in Bryan, Ohio for that night. I finally made it to the National New York Central Museum in Elkhart then went to Earlsville for some Amtrak and BNSF trains before returning to Ottawa, IL for the night. The next day I went to the Mendota Union Station, Amboy Depot Museum and Rochelle Railroad Park before spending the last night of the trip in Rockford. I flew home the next afternoon. In June AC Adam, Chris Parker and other friends rode a one way trip to San Diego aboard the Tioga Pass. I made a pair of Photo Trips to San Diego County the first with AC Adam and a second with Bill and Maryanna Compton taking pictures at many new locations. I took the Bus/Train connection to Sacramento then rode the first ever NASCAR Express 2013 Train Trip and then did my first NASCSAR Race at Sears Point Raceway. I reversed that Train/Bus/Metrolink train to get home. Caroline and I did a trip to San Clemente State Beach so I could take pictures off the bluff there.

In July I took the Southwest Chief and Capitol Limited to Connelsville, PA where I meet Dave Smetko and we drove to Wilmington for a Doodlebug Trip on the Wilmington & Western Railroad. The next day found us in Danville, PA for a pair of Iron Heritage Festival Trips before we drove through the worst thunderstorms in years to get to Ringoes for the Black River & Western Railroad Caboose Hops Ringoes to Three Bridges. The next day we were in New Freedom. PA for the Steam into History aboard the Northern Central Railroad but with a diesel as the steam engine was out of service. After that we drove to ride the only operating Pennsylvania steam engine in the whole world at the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association after that we drove back to Marion. We made the drive back to Chicago with a stop at the Monon Connection Museum. It had been a great trip with Dave and a special thank you to him for inviting me. I took Metra back into Chicago then rode the Carl Sandburg all the way to West Quincy where the Depot Inn & Suites picked me up and I got my rental car for three days of railroad photography there. I took the Southwest Chief home. I did a morning at San Mateo Point and then before the August OCRHS Meeting I took Metrolink to Irvine to get pictures of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Red Unit Circus Train passing through there. Carl Morrison and I went to Del Mar to chase the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Red Unit Circus. I did the Union Pacific 4014 Night Photo Session at the Rails West Museum in Pomona. Bill Compton and I did a Railfanning Orange County trip.

Next I flew via Seattle and Anchorage then onto to Fairbanks for the NRHS 2013 Alaska Convention. Chris Parker, Elizabeth Alkire and I took a taxi to the Westmark Inn. The first morning there we started with the Columbia Discovery Riverboat Tour, then to Pioneer Park for the Tanana Valley Railroad Museum with the 1899 restored Porter 0-6-0 1 and a Alaska Salmon Bake. After that I went to the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum to see the cars and gowns before we did the Night Photo Session at Pioneer Park. The next morning I started my Car Hosting Duties at this convention on the Alaska RR charter train to North Pole and beyond. We did a Photo Stop at the Spirit of North Pole sign and a Photo Runby at Chapados before we ran out to MP 16.6. We then headed west to the Fairbanks International Airport Branch and went out just over 2 miles on it before we headed back to Fairbanks. With the NRHS trip done we did two public trips at 2 PM and 4 PM where we took the general public west of Fairbanks to Saulich. A highlight of this trip was all our passengers got to travel by the furthest northernmost place a train travels in all of North America just east of Dome, Alaska. After that second trip we returned to the Westmark Hotel for our second night. The next day we went from Fairbanks to Denali Park. At Nenana my shutter release on my Nikon gave up the ghost. Chris Parker let me select pictures he took so I can write my story on this date and the next. We stayed that night at McKinley Chalet Resort where I got a pair of $4.99 sun glasses for the glare since I had lost my prescription sun glasses two days before on the North Pole Trip. The next day was Denali Park to Anchorage and my trip highlight was rotating 58 passengers through my vestibule at the Hurricane Gulch Bridge in under 8 minutes. Great teamwork by all my passengers made that easy to do. We went around the Curry Loops before a stop there. Later at Talkeetna while I watched my door during that stop one of my passengers got me a Cinnamon Roll that are said to be the best in all of Alaska. I would agree with that idea. After I had my dinner in the bottom of a Gold Star Car the train reached Anchorage and for the rest of the trip we stayed at the Guesthouse Inn and Suites.

The next day Chris Parker let me use his camera as I took the Alaska RR depot and Operations Center behind the scene tours in the morning, bought a Canon Camera for my use during the rest of this convention then took the Alaska RR shops tour which was excellent. Elizabeth did the Full-day bus tour to Girdwood and Portage which see had a blast doing. The next day I worked the Alaska RR charter train to Seward with a Photo Runby I did at Moose Pass. The next day we went through the freight yard then out on the Palmer Branch to the Fairgrounds where we did a photo stop and a pose shot with the State Fair sign and train. From Palmer we returned to Anchorage and took the branch to the Anchorage International Airport where we did a photo pose and photo runby of the train coming into the Airport Station. From here we went south to Potter to see the section house, the Rotary Snowplow and got lucky with a Freight train from Whittier. We returned to Anchorage and that night we had the NRHS Banquet at the Hilton Hotel. The next day was our final train trip of the convention. We went out on the Whittier Branch with a photo runby at the east end of the Portage Tunnel. From there we ran to the end of track in Whittier then posed the train with the Princess Diamond. We returned west to Portage then ran to Spencerwhere we did a photo runby with our train before it went back to the Spencer siding to be in the clear for the next train. While they did that we hiked over a mile south to a new forest service foot bridge overlooking the railroad bridge over the Placer River. We caught the Blues Train on that bridge before we hiked back to our pick up point and we all caught our train there before we returned to Anchorage. A special thank you to Elizabeth who typed most of my stories on this trip for me. The last convention trip was by bus and I Bus Hosted the first bus. We went to south Wasilla to the locomotive 557 restoration project and then north of Wasilla to the Museum of Alaskan Transportation and Industry. Here I got a speeder ride on the former interchange track at the museum. Snowflakes were trying to fall on us here but most of the trip back to Anchorage was in the rain. I walked from the convention hotel to E and 9th Street to get pictures of Alaska Railroad steam engine 556 on display there. I took my stuff back to the Guesthouse Inn and Suites and wrote the final story in the guest lobby of this fine hotel. After dinner with Robin we were vanned back to Anchorage International Airport and took the redeye flights to Seattle and Orange County and a tired Chris was home after Winston Walker had picked me up. What a great NRHS Convention this one was!

Next in late October Bob Alkire, Chris Parker and I all met at O'Hare Airport in Chicago and then drove to Fort Wayne for the NKP 765 Trip we took on the Wabash Cannonball from Fort Wayne to Lafayette and return. It was a great trip. The next day we chased the NKP 765 getting great pictures then visited the Park Forest Railfan Platform before heading to Blue Island before a flight home. Bill Compton and I did Cajon Pass and the new Colton Flyover in November. I then led a Train Travel Group Trip to Santa Barbara over the Veteran's Day Monday holiday. I went to see the Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 being moved at Pomona. AC Adam and I did some photography again in San Diego County. The Amtrak Veteran Unit finally made it onto the Surfline here in Southern California. Finally we had the Train Travel Group Christmas Party at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton. I did plenty this year but my rail mileage went way down as I finally got burnt out of it in early December so I took a major break for the rest of the year. The final thing I did on my 56th Birthday was a trip to County Line to take some train pictures after a morning train ride and Pittsburgh Penguins game which I watched. It had been a great 2013.

All these stories can be found on my web site at

My rail mileage was 1,359,204.8 on January 1, 2013 and on December 31, 2012 it was 1,381,766.2

The year started with 6558 Days of Sobriety on January 1, 2013 and ended with 6922 on my 56th Birthday on December 31, 2013.

May each of you have the best holiday season 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 6922