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La Plata and the Trip Home

by Chris Guenzler


I was up at 7:15 AM after a good night sleep in the Pullman Suite at the Depot Inn & Suites. After a quick Continental Breakfast I grabbed my lap top and headed out to the Rental Car which I drove out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. First I put the pictures from the last two trips, the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway and Arkansas and Missouri Railroad into my computer. I started working on the Eureka Story since the lookout point has wall plugs and wireless Internet. Of course soon a train came by to put a hold on my work.

First an eastbound BNSF stack train came by. That was quickly followed by a westbound BNSF stack train that I would see again after dinner just east of Grants. Back to work until a family came out to see the Lookout Point and was surprised to find the guy who it was named after sitting there working on a story for his web site.

A westbound Union Pacific train came next then an eastbound BNSF piggyback train.

Two more westbound BNSF trains came by and I took pictures of only the one as I was uploading the pictures to the web site.

Next it was time for Amtrak's Southwest Chief to arrive into La Plata on its way to Chicago. I was next joined by two railfans from Missouri who were amazed that the lookout point has wireless Internet.

More BNSF trains passed by and my total this morning was twelve trains. I finished the Eureka Springs Story, e-mailed Winston to proof the story and headed back to the Pullman Suite after I dropped off the keys to the rental car to the front desk. I then worked on the Arkansas and Missouri story and after finishing part 1, I called Winston and told him to proof that part. I then worked on part 2 and finished it and called again and he proofed it while I went to the Red Rooster for a Porterhouse Steak dinner. After dinner I got the corrections for that story and uploaded them. I washed my hair then used the Sauna Tub as I watched the Hanna Montana DVD on the wide screen TV in the Pullman Suite as I soaked. I packed up and then checked out and was driven to the Amtrak Station with a stop by Ray Burn's house on the way there. Ray then came down to the train station to see me off.

Southwest Chief 3 4/11/2009

The train came into La Plata early and I boarded the Sleeper Vermont taking Room 6. This train consisted of Engines 129 and 69, Baggage 1132, Transition 39016, Sleepers 32113 Vermont and 32059, Diner 38060, Lounge 33042, with Coaches 34078 and 34065 and a dead heading Surfliner 6413 Manhattan Beach with no seats. I have Simon as my Sleeping Attendant who I have had on multiple train trips before. I put on the Scorpions "Live at Wacken Open Air 2006" which I watched for about twenty five minutes before I made up my room and called it a night.


I was up by Garden City, Kansas and went to the Dining Car for French Toast and sausage patties. I returned to my room and took a nap until La Junta which we arrived into way early where I ventured out into the rainy morning.

The Southwest Chief at rest at La Junta.

Surfliner 6413 Manhattan Beach.

Two views inside the Surfliner 6413.

The rear of the Southwest Chief before I returned to the warmth of our train. We left La Junta on time with me watching my DVD of Deep Purple "Cal Jam".

Our crossing of snowy Raton Pass. I put back on the Scorpion DVD and watched the rest of it. At Raton I detrained for some fresh air and pictures.

The Southwest Chief at Raton. Back in the room for more watching before my 11:30 AM Lunch where I enjoyed the Angus Beef Burger and Vanilla Ice Cream. After The scorpions finally finished, I put on my DVD off Motley Crue "Lewd Crued and Tattooed". We meet the eastbound Southwest Chief at Canyoncito and that DVD lasted almost to Albuquerque.

Snowy peaks along the Rio Grande before we reached Albuquerque. I detrained out into the 43 degree air and after a few minutes I returned to my room for the DVD of Jethro Tull "Jack in the Green". I got called into Dinner 12 minutes earlier than the 5:15 PM I was scheduled for. I had the Flat Iron Steak and Snickers Chocolate Cake. After dinner I took a shower then watched ABBA "ABBA the Movie". As I enjoyed the movie, I also enjoyed the views of the New Mexico Red Mesas.

The beautiful Red Mesas of New Mexico as I enjoyed ABBA almost to Winslow. I played Solitude on my lap top until Flagstaff where I detrained for some fresh air on a very nice night. I then made up my bed and called it a night.


I got out of bed just before Riverside and Simon made up my room. I just relaxed as the Southwest Chief made its way to Fullerton where I detrained. I went to an outside table at the Santa Fe Cafe and cleaned out my e-mail.

With that getting going on the computer, the Southwest Chief departed Fullerton for an early arrival into Los Angeles at 7:23 am 52 minutes early. I crossed the Pedestrian Bridge to Track 3 to wait for my train back to Santa Ana.

Metrolink 682 4/13/2009

The train came into Fullerton a few minutes late and I boarded the rear Cab Car for the fast trip down to Santa Ana. My mother picked me up and took me home. I showered, shaved and had some breakfast before I drove to Jefferson Elementary to start another week of work. This ends yet another excellent ten days of rail adventure.