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The Trip Home from the Million Amtrak Miles Part 3

by Chris Guenzler

4/12/2008 I woke up at Weso, Nevada as the California Zephyr was about to pull into Winnemucca forty eight minutes early. I got dressed and headed back to the coaches to get a few pictures.

The Blue "W" on the mountain to the north signals that the California Zephyr is in Winnemucca.

Two views of the CZ in Winnemucca.

Crew members of our excellent California Zephyr Train Crew.

Smokers took advantage of the enclosed passenger waiting area in Winnemucca. I was in the Dining Car having French Toast and Sausage Patties as the California Zephyr left Winnemucca on time and headed west towards Sparks.

The scenic beauty of Central Nevada.

Later we ran by Rye Patch Reservoir to our north as the train headed for Lovelock. I put on my Asia "Fantasia, Live in Tokyo" DVD to get me to Sparks.

The train ran by the Humboldt River Sink. At Upsal we took the siding for the UP 8383 East. Further west at Fernley we ran around the BNSF 983 West holding the mainline.

West of Fernley we started following the Truckee River west into the Sierra Nevada's. I finished the Asia DVD right before Sparks. The CZ departed Sparks on time and soon we were heading down into the Reno Trench to the Amtrak Station where I called Lets Talk Trains, that Internet Radio Show, to give them an update. The CZ left Reno on time heading for California and Truckee, the first stop in my home state. I put on my DVD of "Peter Cetera, Live in Salt Lake City" to take me into the Sierras.

Truckee River leaving Reno.

Mountain peaks ahead of the train.

Two views of the Truckee River before the CZ crossed the border into California.

Truckee River in California.

Interesting geology to the west of our train.

Truckee River and the flume along with Interstate 80 as the CZ runs into Truckee, which we departed on time.

The CZ climbs Cold Stream Canyon.

The view looking back to where we had come from.

Two views of Donner Lake.

A look to where the original line crossed Donner Pass but they tore up the tracks from that route.

Two more views of the west end of Donner Lake.

Two last views at the original Central Pacific Route across Donner Pass.

The CZ about to enter the Big Hole, nickname of the Donner Pass Summit Tunnel.

Old opening to the snowshed at Norden

View looking across the valley at Soda Springs.

Looking west near Shed Ten.

Looking back towards the summit ridge from near Shed 10.

A look across the valley.

Yuba Gap. The Peter Cetera DVD ended near Emirgrant Gap where we passed a UP eastbound freight and then the eastbound CZ. The CZ left Colfax right on time and I called my brother Bruce to make plans to meet with him when we got to Sacramento. At CP Bowman they crossed us over to the newer line for our trip to Roseville as we passed plenty of California Golden Poppies in bloom. At CP Newcastle they switched back over to the original Chinese built route.

A few California Golden Poppies.

Steam engine as we arrived in Roseville.

Former Southern Pacific Rotary Snowplow. The CZ departed Roseville and I prepared our luggage for our arrival into Sacramento which we arrived into at 3:34 PM, 37 minutes early. Jeff and I detrained at Sacramento two very happy Amtrak travelers.

The CZ rests a few minutes at Sacramento after we detrained.

Sacramento 4/12/2008

Jeff and I walked over to the Vagabond Inn and checked in before I walked over to Old Sacramento to visit the California Railroad Museum Bookstore. My brother Bruce then picked me up and we meet his son Eric at the Texas Roadhouse where I had an 11 ounce Sirloin Steak. We then went back to Bruce's home where I talked with Karla before Adam brought his new wife Shannon over to meet me. Bruce then returned me to the Vagabond Inn and I relaxed the night away.

4/13/2008 An early wake up call at 5:30 AM and soon Jeff and I where at Denny's where I had Sausage and White Toast. I cleared the e-mail before we checked out and walked back over to the Sacramento Amtrak Station to the waiting train for Bakersfield.

San Joaquin 702 4/13/2008

Jeff and I boarded the State Owned Superliner Coach 34953 Pacific Grove for the trip down the San Joaquin Valley this morning. The train had California Cab Car 6952 Point Bonita {Surfliner Seats}, Cafe 8811 Antelope Valley, Coach 8020 Feather River, State Owned Superliner Coach 34953 Pacific Grove with Engine 2006 pushing. I would be watching DVD's all the way down the valley today. The train left Sacramento on time with Jeff asleep for all of his new mileage down to Keddie Jct in Stockton. I watched the Charles Smiley presents "Union Pacific Scrapbook" as the train ran down to Lodi, Stockton and Modesto. San Joaquin 711 was at the Turlock/Denair station so we had to take the siding by it then back down the mainline into the station to pick up our passengers there. Before Merced the UP DVD finished and I switched to the Charles Smiley presents "Santa Fe Scrapbook". That DVD took me half way to Hanford where I put on Charles Smiley presents "Milwaukee Road Scrapbook". That took me through Hanford, Corcoran and Wasco before it finished making it a good way to head down the valley. The train arrived into Bakersfield a few minutes early and we headed to the train bus to Los Angeles.

Thruway Bus 4/13/2008

Jeff and I boarded the bus then watched the comedy of people trying to get on the bus that connected with Amtrak Trains in Los Angeles who did not have tickets. We finally left Bakersfield with me first listening to Rush "Snake & Arrow" followed by Queensyche "Empire" that got me to Burbank and really made the bus ride more enjoyable. We arrived into LAUPT at 2:12 PM. After everyone had debussed, we all waited to get our bags with my one bag the last off the bus. We walked up to Track 12 to wait for the Surfliner train home.

Surfliner 1580 4/13/2008

Surfliner 1580 is really 580 but since the train is only going as far as Irvine, they added a 1 to the train number. The line is closed due to bridge replacement at the San Luis Rey River Bridge and passengers get bussed south of Irvine. Since we are only going to Santa Ana we have no problem. The train left LAUPT on time and I put my stories from my trip on to a floppy disc. The train ran down to Fullerton and Anaheim where I heard CJ's voice on a crew member's radio. I detrained at Santa Ana, Jeff watched the luggage and I ran to the engine and threw a Trip T-shirt up to CJ that flew into the locomotive cab. Jeff and I then went to his car on the third level of the parking structure and we loaded the car. The temperature is 40 degrees warmer than it was in La Plata when we left there. Jeff drove me home ending another great Amtrak Trip.