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Train Weasel Adventures
2006 Utah Rails!

From the Chronicles of Gary & Alex Myers

Tuesday, Aug 8th - Utah or Bust!

Retracing the path Joe & I took in March, Alex and I drove up I-25 North to I-80 West, and headed to Utah.

We stopped at Rawlins, Wy, for lunch, and ate our bologna sandwiches in the park next to the Depot, while we watched an intermodal, coal train, and TOFC (Trailer on Flat Car) trains roll through. Some of the trailers were the cheapy Athearn 25' trailers, in Fed-Ex livery. The tie downs were were really fake looking, not as good as the one's in Steve's article in Railroad Model Journal.

Next, we stopped in Green River, Wy, and spent some time in the yard watching tons of action. Much better day than Joe and I had in March when the activity was relatively light.
Standing on the footbridge over the yard in Green River, WY, we watched lots of action! An Intermodal approaches, and a passenger train on the left. The City of Los Angeles?

We made one more quick stop at Evanston, Wy, to see the roundhouse and UP RR buildings under renovation. Crews were busy at work, so we had to keep some distance, but we did some quick exploring, then back on the road it was!

We had to still find a campsite, and get our tent and gear set up. We drove through a couple state parks in the heart of Utah, we planned to camp midway between Heber Valley and Ogden for a few nights. We found what we wanted at Rockport State Park, and set up camp in plenty of time to get dinner started before the sunset.
Alex took this picture of me at our Utah campsite. Alex wanted to get a shot of the sun going down over the 'Stang.
That evening, we cooked hamburgers on my new griddle, read train magazines, made a fire and watched all the deer come in and bed down around the camp area.

Wednesday, Aug 9th - Heber Valley / Hill AFB

We decided to drive down to Heber Valley in the morning after a hot breakfast, before heading up to Hill, AFB in Ogden. (Lots of driving back and forth over the Sawatch Range today!) We wanted to make sure we knew where to go, and know what to expect down there. Heber Valley was only running steam on Friday and Saturday, so we planned to be ready. We explored the yard briefly, but spent a rather lengthy visit with some of the folks there (they weren't running trains that day). It was really fun, especailly when we ran into the same folks at the NG convention a couple of weeks later! We then drove up to Ogden to visit Hill, AFB for lunch and the afternoon. Alex forsook the bologna sandwich today, while Dad ate his, so Alex bought some lunch later.

We spent most of the afternoon at Hill Aerospace Museum. The indoor hangar and Fighter building housed many more aircraft, but we didn't take pictures of those. Below are a few of the outdoor displays. If it got down in the 90s in the shade anywhere, we were lucky.

We had some time left, we went over to Union Depot downtown, and were lucky the Hobby Shop (in the Depot) was open that day. We found some new kits, some RR pins and looked through everything. We didn't have time to do much else today, so it was time to head back to camp, look at our kits and train magazines. We cooked steaks and sat out at our nightly bonfire.

Thursday, Aug 10th - Ogden UNION DEPOT

After having our pancake breakfast and cleaning up, we left our campsite as the heat started back in, to spend the day at Ogden's Union Depot. We visited the yard where static displays of locomotives and rolling stock were on hand, up close and personal. Shortly after Joe and I had visited in March, we learned that Consolidation 223 and some rare NG freight cars had been in a fire. C-16 #223 was one of only 3 remaining C-16s, the only one built by Grant. #268 at Gunnison and #278 at Cimmaron were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works. I took some pictures of the wrecks. Most of the #223 was intact, with the exception of the cab being burnt off. Maybe some day it will be restored.

We also visited the Browning Arms Museum, the Browning/Kimball Antique Car Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Utah State Railroad Museum, and the Myra Powell Gallery, all housed in the Depot. We also enjoyed RR cuisine at the Union Grille, in the heart of the Depot. The Utah RR Museum also had a large model RR display layout which wrapped around in the Depot. Truly an awesome place to visit, and a place we look forward to visiting again. We had a great time and it was time to get back to camp, cook, sit by the fire and play cards late into the night.

Friday, Aug 11th - Heber Valley Railroad!

Friday morning, we crawled out of our sacks while it was still cold out, had a cold breakfast, and broke camp. Our tickets were for 10:00 AM departure on the Provo Canyon Limited, but we made it in plenty of time to take some photos and do some more exploring.

After our train ride, we drove back up to Ogden, to stay at the Best Western on 12th St, north of downtown, to get cleaned up from our camping out and get ready for the next trip. Tonight, we treated ourselves with dinner at Jeremiah's, where as Joe & I discovered before, the cuisine is awesome! Before dinner, we had time to cool off in the pool for an hour and relax out of the constant blasting heat.

Saturday, Aug 12th - Promontory Point

Saturday, after a night sleeping on nice big soft mattresses again, we got up for a huge breakfast at Jeremiah's, and drove north and west around the Great Salt Lake to the Golden Spike Historic Site, near Promontory Point. Today is Railroad Days at Golden Spike Historic Site. We got to participate in the Golden Spike reenactment ceremony, got to ride a handcar pumping with all my might (Alex thought it was going all along pretty easily by itself, without our help, not realizing it was mostly me!) We also got a speeder ride, and climbed through the Jupiter and 119's cabs! The Jupiter's cowcatcher had been removed for repairs, after an early season mishap pulling the trains together a little closer than barely touching. We noted the damage on 119's cowcatcher, which was noticeable if you looked for it.

We grabbed lunch at the festivities (normally they have no food, out there in the middle of nowhere), finally got out of the infernal sun, & drove back to town to unwind again at the hotel. We had a lot of time before dinner to visit a few local hobby shops, where we did find some more items of interest! While we waited on another great dinner at Jeremiah's, I glanced out the window and noticed it had cooled down to a comfortable 97 deg F. It was 7:00 PM. After a fantastic meal, I got to finish it off with the best damn peach cobbler on God's green earth!

Sunday, Aug 13th - Castle Gate, Helper, and Home!

After another great breakfast at Jeremiah's, (sadly), we checked out of the Best Western and headed south down I-15. We went east at Spanish Forks to follow the old D&RGW mainline along US 40. At Gillully, we did catch a glimpse of a train. Soldier Summit was as barren as ever. We did spot some trains occasionally. We stopped at Castle Gate just minutes before the California Zephyr came through, which we would catch up to later. We spent awhile waiting in vain for another train to come by, and we finally had to give up.

At Helper, we had more luck. Alex got to see the last of the D&RGW, the unpatched tunnel motor, still intact. It was assigned to the Dirt train. We spent a little time looking around, before it was time to hit the road again.
We got back on US 40 and it took it to I-70 east. Lots of covered hoppers and automobile racks parked on sidings everywhere. It took the rest of the day, but we got home in plenty of time for dinner! It concluded another great summer trip!

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This page last modified 2 December 2006.