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Category Archives: World Tour

Places I have been outside the Continental United States (Lower 48 and DC)

2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 1

On September 15th Lisa and I will take off for a nine (9) day outing that will contain a mixture of allot of the areas we enjoy and enjoy sharing with others such as yourself…

Our first stop is at as anytime we take this route out-of-town in makes for a good stopping point to stretch a bit. This is also a place where many come to Hike/Bike the Colorado Trail and during this time of year it is also a very nice place to take in the Aspen that were turning into the spectacular colors. Here is just one of many photos we would take to give you just a small hint as what the trail was like…

Aspen Colors

Our next stop will be in Como, Colorado to mainly get photographs of the hotel.  A little history might be in order as to how this has a railroad twist and hopefully I have the dates right; if not, I will correct.  The Denver, South Park and Pacific reach here in June 1879 and the Roundhouse built in 1881.  The Depot was built in 1879 and was later altered into a “L” shape and the depot today is under renovation.  The Original hotel (Gilman Depot Hotel) was built here and opened for business January 1, 1881, extended in March 1882, and taken over by Union Pacific in 1885.  Sadly in November 1896 that hotel was lost in a fire.  Here is an old photo of that hotel that is online at the The Narrow Gauge Circle website (http://www.narrowgauge.org/)

The new “South Park Hotel by the Railroad” (or also known as the “Eating House”) was built in 1897 and still stand today.  The DSP&P operated their last train here in April 1937 and the tracks removed a year later.  Here is one of the photos we took of this hotel on this day along with the Roundhouse and Depot…

Como ColoradoComo ColoradoComo Colorado

From here we head down the highway a bit father to Red Hill Pass where some of the old DSP&P route can still be seen.  The Aspen colors from here are also wonderful.  From here you can also see the “” where the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway once operated that you can read more about in this blog from an earlier entry.

From here we will travel to the Fourmile Travel Management Area into an area known as Castle Gulch to view a rock formation know as The Castles.  This will be a Geology (Rock Shot) stop for mainly for Lisa but I do enjoy the geological stops as well; just don’t tell her that…

Fourmile Travel Management Area

From here we head into Buena Vista for several stops which will lead us to another place not on our original plans as we didn’t know it was there!  Our first planned stop is at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum where the Buena Vista Model Railroad Society was founded in February, 1984 until 2004.  Today the model is lightly maintained by the museum and the model is based on the “Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad,” “Denver, and Rio Grande Railroad” and “Colorado Midland Railroad” during the period of 1900 to 1920.

Buena Vista, ColoradoBuena Vista, COHO Scale

We head down the street a few blocks to the last remaining depot in Chaffee County.  We have taken photos of this depot before but every-time we were here it was closed.  This time we setup our schedule to be here when it was open and it was well worth it.  One artifact inside was the old D&RGW Depot’s desk that somehow survived and I also look a photo of a display that showed this depot being saved / moved to the location it is in today.

Buena Vista ColoradoDenver and Rio Grande Western Deport DeskDenver and Rio Grande Western Deport Desk

Now that we made it into the old DSP&P Depot we turn back to our search of the Colorado Midland Ticket office to get a photo for our records.

Buena Vista Colorado

A building that was not on list (since it wasn’t RR related) that I spotted I stopped to get a photo since it was also a nice old historic building from times long since gone by and it is a Depot; just a Stage Depot.

Buena Vista, CO

Our next structure we locate is the Denver and Rio Grande Western Hospital.  This is the second of the D&RGW Hospitals we have now tracked down that the railroad build to take care of their employees healthcare needs.

Buena Vista Colorado

Our final two planned stops took a bit of research to find as you would not know these were railroad related.  Both of these homes today were originally part of the Colorado Midland and were later moved and became private homes.  The first is the old Telegraph Office that is also known as the Key Hole house and the other is the Section House.  Both were moved to the same neighborhood in Buena Vista and today would just pass as homes and not historic railroad structures.

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Now back to the “unplanned” stop; while at the old DSP&P Depot I ask where the old Colorado Midland Depot would have been located since the CM route was on the outside of town well above the town itself and then they would have a stage-coach that passengers from there.  This was not as good of a setup as the DSP&P nor the D&RGW but to get the train into town would have been costly for the CM.  Well, I got not only the location but told how to drive the old ROW to get to the original site as well as to remnants of a trestle.  Time to set up the Video camera to record that section of the grade and take photos!!!!  Here is a sample of some of the photos we took…

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Well from here we are off to the Christmas 1806 site where Zebulon Pike stopped while surveying the  Louisiana Purchase. Not much to see put it’s still nice to stop to overlook where history occurred.  The sign itself was placed in 1964 and is still in good shape…

Zebulon Pike - Louisiana Purchase

As we head back towards our hotel in Gunnison, we stop for more Aspen GOLD shots as the trees are changing very nicely this year!

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Posted by on 09/15/2012 in World Tour

 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 2

It’s day two of our four day outing and we start our day in Sargents, CO where the D&RGW water tank still stands on private property.

Sargents, CO

This will also be our starting point over Marshall Pass where I will setup my new HD Video camera as a dashboard to capture the route of the D&RGW railroad.  We won’t be 100% of roadbed the entire route but most of it will be so the camera will catch what it was like to ride over this section of track.

We will stop at various spots along the way to search for a few remnants but the main objective is at the top of the pass where the old Turntable pit still can be seen.

 

Here is a shot of one of the D&RGW Bridge abutments that can still be found on the other side of the pass where the vehicle road is just beside the old roadbed.

Once on the other end of the pass we find we are just below another pass so we take a small detour to get to that summit.  Here is the sign at Poncha Pass where the Rio Grande River watershed is separated from the Arkansas River watershed…

From here we head to Saliad, CO to goto the museum there that we know also contains railroad history along with other great artifacts from this areas history.

Near by is the Visitor Center where we find a 0-4-0 Tank Steam Engine of unknown history

Salida, Colorado

Also here in town at the end of F Street is where the old depot once stood.  Looking right to the South East you can see the old Engine House when the D&RGW once was a major company here

Salida, Colorado

This building here is what remains today of the old D&RGW Hospital, yes, the railroad had it’s own medical facilities to take care of its employees and families in those days.

Salida, CO

Another building with railroad history here is the Manhattan Hotel.  In many cities the railroad also owned the local hotel where train passengers would stay at.  I do not know if that was the case here but Colorado Historical Society does state that D&RGW Passenger train passengers did use this hotel.

Salida, CO

While at the D&RGW hospital I spot a female deer and two fawns using the grounds like they owned the place.  They had little fear of me being within a few yards of them.  In fact, the female left one within 10 yards of me and then left to go get the other one she had stashed out of sight somewhere.  She was gone for about 10 minutes before she returned with the second one.

Salida, CO

Our next destination for the day was about 10 miles SE along US-50 where we would take a side road to get a close shot of one of the old railroad tunnel portals.  I would only get a shot of one side on this trip.

Wellsville, CO

Our final stop for this day would be in Smeltertown, CO where we find the old Ohio-Colorado Smelting and Refining Company smoke stack.  This remnant stands 365 feet tall so it is one heck of a historical landmark and in 1976, during the American Revolution Bicentennial, the smokestack was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “highly visible monument to the mining industry and its workers.”

Smeltertown, CO

 
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Posted by on 08/18/2012 in RRAdventures, World Tour

 

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World Travel – Alaska 2012 – Cruise Day #7

Port of Call:  Seattle, Washington

Our final day of our Alaska Adventure and as we wake, Seattle, Washington is in sight as well as the Space Needle.

Space Needle

Time for us to catch some breakfast and get ready to disembark the ship.  Before we do this, one last look at our navigation to see how far we have traveled now that we are in port.

Seattle Washington

With that, we step off the ship; BUT!, we are not yet done with this adventure as we will make a day of it in Seattle by taking a shore excursion here as well.  Time to get on our Tour Bus for a city tour…

We will head up to Queen Anne Hill at Kerry Park and catch a view of the Space Needle.  Note the ORANGE top of the Space Needle as it’s the 50th Anniversary of its construction and they have painted it back to its original color.

Queen Anne Hill - Kerry Park

Now it’s time to head over to the Space Needle and ride up the elevator to the top.  We will get our picture taken and will see a FREE Digital Postcard of ourselves from the top.  There is our ship down below…

From below we will take a few shots before catching our bus as we continue our City Tour

Seattle, WashingtonSeattle, Washington

We will briefly stop at Occidental Park for a few shots and also catch a shot of the Waterfront Street Car station that is here as well.

Seattle, Washington

Our final destination of the City Tour is the Farmers Market where we will grab some lunch…

Seattle Washington

While our bus made it’s way through the city we passed the old King Street Station that was the depot for the Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railway.  Currently there is a King Tut exhibit going on so the temporarily adjusted the station sign to read King TUT Street Station.  It was impossible to get a clean / complete shot of the station while on the bus but here is a couple of shots from different angles we did get.

Seattle WashingtonSeattle Washington

I will also get a few Railfan shots in from the bus as we headed down the highway to our hotel for the night

Seattle, WA

The next day we fly back home on board Frontier with Fritz being our animal.  We will pass Mount Rainier and I will be able to get several shots from out the plane window.  As we land in Denver I had to laugh as there was Mustang Sally at the next gate.  If you recall, that is the plane we boarded at the beginning of this adventure

Hope everyone enjoyed reading all the “World Travel – Alaska 2012 …” blog entries from this trip report as we have enjoyed sharing them with you.  Rest assured, more Travel Reports will be coming…

 
 

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World Travel – Alaska 2012 – Cruise Day #6b

Port of Call: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

A sure sign we are getting close to Victoria is a Pilot Boat is arriving to drop off a “Pilot” to help our Captain navigate into the port.  This is a common practice to have a local navigator help large ships such as ours to make it safely into port as no one know the channels and current issues around a port more than a local navigator

Another prominent navigation feature we spot is the Race Rocks Lighthouse that we can tell we are being navigated around and for good reasons as there are lots of rocks over there that could sink a ship even as big as ours.

Vancouver Island, Canada

As we navigate into the harbor we also spot the Ogden Point Breakwater Lighthouse.

Victoria Canada

Now get this, if you have been following this Trip Report you know just how HUGE our cruise ship is.  With all the other Ports of Call we pulled gently aside a dock; but, this time the Captain with “Back” into this narrow cubbyhole with little room to spare on either side and stop within just a few yards before running into the awaiting buses.  I will take this shot from the deck on the back of the boat as we slowing back into our parking spot!

Once in port we board a bus to take us to Butchart Gardens which is 55 areas of a stunning floral gardens.  This is a place we will also look forward to coming back to some day.  Here are just a taste of what you will see at this wonderful place.

We will also get treated to a unusual Fireworks display after sunset that tons of folks also come to the gardens to see.  I tried to pull a few stills from the video I took of it just to give you a feel for this display that was well worth the time to watch.

With the Fireworks over we head back to the bus and head back to the ship as we will be pulling out of Victoria shortly for our final stop back in Seattle, Washington when we started a week ago.

 
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Posted by on 07/28/2012 in Trip Reports, World Tour

 

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World Travel – Alaska 2012 – Cruise Day #6a

Port of Call: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

On this day we will make port in Victoria but not until evening (7PM) so it’s still basically another Day at Sea…

Time to start the day and peek outside to view the morning sunrise and catch some navigation info.

Lisa and I will spend some time walking around the Promenade Deck as well as time hanging out on our balcony.  The Promenade Deck is also where the various Life Boats are kept and sometimes the larger ones are used to taxi passengers into ports.

We will see both Humpback and Killer Whales today.

We can also tell we are more near the cargo shipping lanes as we see all sorts of cargo ships as well.

We will also see more Fishing Boats as we get closer to Victoria…

 
 

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World Travel – Alaska 2012 – Cruise Day #5

Day At Sea

On this day we would spend the entire day at sea and do a little packing.  When we went to bed the previous night, we were at 58 03.49N 134 53.28W and when we woke and check the system again around 7AM we were at 55 16.93N 134 14.20W.  At this point we had sailed a total of 1461.1 Nautical Miles since we left Seattle, Washington.  Since leaving Skagway, Alaska, we have sailed 257.7 Nautical Miles and we were still 635.0 Nautical Miles from Victoria, Canada which will be on the next blog entry.

How might I know this information so exactly?  On of the channels on our room television is a constant ship information station and as part of that broadcast we get real-time navigation along with maps and all sorts of other information.

After going up stairs to have breakfast, we return to our room around 9AM and the system now shows we are inside Canadian waters at 54 26.19N 133 51.29W and this is what the map shows.

After having lunch I checked the system again at 1PM and we are at 53 15.16N 133 13.49W and this is what we see from out balcony.

After watching a movie, I go outside around 3PM to get some fresh air and also note our position being 52 41.51N 132 41.85W.  Not much happening and the other balconies look empty so you can tell folks are leisurely taking in the ships amenities, eating, taking a nap

We would relax in our room taking in a few televisions shows and I would see we here we were at around 4PM (52 23.21N 132 18.12W) and again at 5PM (52 07.19N 131 51.60W)

After coming back from Dinner at 7PM, there is something noticeable and that is that lack of land on the Port Side.  Here is that last piece of land I will see at 52 40.05N 132 06.84W

One thing they tell you is that Every DAY, HOUR, MINUTE, we are in Whale Country plus other things so try to always have your cameras ready.  Around 7:30PM, I spot Dall’s Porpoise and try to catch a little video of them.

By 9PM the sun is starting to set so one last shot from outside as well as some navigation information

So, as you can see, a Day at Sea can be used as a time to just sit back and relax or take advantage of the various ships amenities / activities and “Escape Completely”

 
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Posted by on 07/27/2012 in Trip Reports, World Tour

 

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World Travel – Alaska 2012 – Cruise Day #4

Port of Call:  Skagway, Alaska

We next reach our final Alaska Port-of-Call and as we make dock our ride is sitting there ready to be boarded.  Yes, we are getting on-board the WP&Y (White Pass and Yukon) passenger train for a round trip ride to White Pass and Back.  As soon as they say I can step out onto the platform I would run the video camera non-stop up to the pass as well as on the way back until I have to take a seat again when we re-enter the city.

Our consist will be a long one with motive power being the #99 and #94, we will ride in the Lake Jennings #374 which was near the back but not too far back that I would not be able to see the engines while we were in the curves.  Of course I would still get a rear shot of the Tail-Car before we departed…

White Pass & Yukon RouteWhite Pass & Yukon Passenger CoachSkagway, AK

Once we returned to town we would do a little shopping including finding a Rock Shop Lisa was interested in to pick up a local mineral sample for her collection.

Now it’s time for our cruise to head South and we will catch shots of Skagway as we depart…

As we head down the canal we will see all sorts of waterfalls and beautiful terrain along the shoreline.

We will also see Herbert Glacier from our balcony

Being a Railfan, you know this day was a special day for me…

 
 

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