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Video – Pacific Southwest Railway Cab Ride

Enjoy a Round-Trip Cab ride while with me as well as seeing many of the other railroad pieces at the Campo facility as we head toward the Mexico border at Tunnel #4. In the first half I will show you a map of our location along the route as we travel backwards and then enjoy full screen view out the window as we head back toward the museum. I also included history of the Southern Pacific Diesel Engine about half way into the video. So, sit back and enjoy this ~30 minute video

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 6

On this morning, we head out early to hike the Interpretive Trail of the Rabbit Valley Research Natural Area (39.1936° N 109.0201 W) which is about 2 miles east of the Utah-Colorado State-line along I70.  Here is the Colorado State description of the area.

Rabbit Valley is located north of the Colorado River along the northwest flank of the Uncompahgre Uplift. The quarry has produced large specimens of several dinosaurs including Camarasaurus, Allosaurus, and Camptosaurus.  The Bureau of Land Management and the Museum of Western Colorado have developed the site for interpretive use, and the Museum of Western Colorado directs ongoing fossil digs.   The recent discovery of an Iguanodon skull marks the earliest known record of this species.  High quality pinion pine – Utah juniper woodlands occur on the site north of the fossil locality.

Please be aware that this site contains features of state-wide significance. Collection is prohibited at all times with out proper permits.

Rabbit Valley Research Natural Area

With the morning hike complete we head to Fruita, Colorado to visit the Dinosaur Journey museum which is the Museum of Western Colorado.  It’s a nice museum of the dinosaur history of the region and they also had a movie that we also enjoyed.  Found this interesting vehicle outside I had to stop and photograph as well.

Fruita, ColoradoDinosaur Journey

Across the parking lot at the museum I also spot a railroad passenger car which turned out to be D&RGW #52 and it is sporting the Fruit Belt Route logo on it.

Fruita, ColoradoFruita, ColoradoFruita, Colorado

Our main goal today was to tour the Colorado National Monument again and hope to catch some nice shots under different light conditions.  You can tell in some of the shots that wildfire smoke still is in the valley.


Well, you can’t visit here without at least stopping at Balanced Rock as the best angles are not from roadside but a short walk away from the road

Colorado National Monument
We will stop next at the Fruita Canyon Overlook where you can also see Balanced Rock down below

Colorado National Monument
We will only take a short hike on the Canyon Rim Trail this time just to capture a few shots near the visitor center itself.

Colorado National MonumentColorado National Monument

Independence Monument is the next stop on the drive.  This free standing soft red sandstone monument stands 450 feet tall.  For those adventurous enough, I believe you can climb this but for us we will enjoy it from the overlook.

Colorado National MonumentColorado National Monument

Also right in this area is Monument Canyon where other soft red sandstone formations stand tall above the valley floor.

Colorado National Monument
At the Artists Point overlook there is two places to enjoy the views so if you have time and don’t mind a few steps make sure you head to your left to get to the lower section of the overlook to see other views you can’t see from the upper section.

Colorado National Monument
The Fallen Rock overlook is all about this rock slab that has broken away from the cliff wall.  Make sure you have a reasonable telephoto lens for this one as it’s a bit of a distance away for many Point-n-Shoot cameras to get a nice shot.

Colorado National Monument
We will briefly get a few shots of Red Canyon as we drive by.  Note the notch at the far end of the canyon; the canyon is starting its next phase of change and that will slowly work its way deeper and father back over time.

Colorado National Monument
Cold Shivers Point is one of those places that you can enjoy from the overlook or take a short hike to where this location gets it name.  The first photo is the one I took and the second is the one Lisa took of me standing where I took from photo from.  Right behind and in front of me is a vertical drop so watch your footing if you head out near the point to take photos.

Colorado National MonumentColorado National Monument

We will now head back to Grand Junction to visit the Museum of Western Colorado.  It was lots of great historical items to enjoy and yes you can go up into the tower as well to get views of the city.  You can get to the top via an elevator or use the stairs; below exit into the museum.

Grand Junction, Colorado

For our planned Railfanning, we head over to the Union Pacific Maintenance Department to hopefully get shots of some of the D&RGW equipment that is stored here.  We will get a clean shot of  D&RGW Crane #028 along with its Wheel / Boom Car.  You can see another D&RGW car behind the crane but no way to get a clear shot.  I will also take a few shots of some older UP cars that are also stored here.

Grand Junction, Colorado

As we headed back to the hotel we got buzzed my fighters and I wish I had the video camera ready as they passed very low right over our car.  The  Blue Angels Navy F/A-18 Hornets are in town and on this day they were practicing so once we got to the hotel we had a nice FREE show.  Sadly I missed the support plane as by the time we saw it we had put away the camera equipment.  Will be interesting to see how well my new HD Video camera caught the action but here is a few of the still photos that Lisa and I took.

Grand Junction ColoradoGrand Junction ColoradoGrand Junction, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado

Well, that is it from this day but there is still several more days to go for this trip report…

 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 4

The final day of our extended weekend but we have a few more stops in the area planned before we head for home.  Our first destination for the day is up Chalk Creek Canyon (Mt Princeton) which is near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO to find a waterfall Lisa has read about.

We reach the Trail Head and start our hike up into the canyon.  We find an unexpected sign about the Denver, South Park, and Pacific railway and sure enough across the valley there is the old ROW (Right of Way) for the railroad.  As Lisa jokes, somehow I seem to always find a railroad twist in nearly anyplace we go.  So much railroad history to explore, so little time…

Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO

There is another sign along the trail about Mount Antero that is also across the way…

Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO

But our main goal at this location was to reach Agnes Vaille Falls.  This being August, not much water is flowing compared to spring runoff but the hike up was very nice and we could get all the way up to the falls.

Mountain Wowan Mountain Wowan

As we hiked back down looking at the DSP&P RR across the way and thinking of how the road today goes up the valley we decided to drive up more to see if/were the old railway and road might cross.  Sure enough not only did we find it, it’s a Rail Trail; something to add to our list to hike some day…

Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO

From here we turn back to Buena Vista, CO to track down a sequence of three Colorado and Midland Railroad Tunnels.  Lisa and I will both take photos plus I will setup the dashboard Video Camera to record travel though them.  Here is one of Lisa’s shots that shows the sequence as they are close together…

Buena Vista, CO

Back to Buena Vista we go to track down a bridge of Denver and Rio Grande Western that are part of the Tennessee Pass route.  It’s listed on the map as the Railroad Bridge Campground and we figure there is a reason for that name.  Well, as we head towards the campground we would also find another RR bridge built in 1936 made of concrete we would also stop and get a shot of.  So, we bag two historical bridges!!!

Tennessee Pass - Buena Vista, CO Tennessee Pass - Buena Vista, CO

It’s time to head for home and we will make one more stop on top of Tennessee Pass where the 10th Mountain Division Memorial is at.  If you love to Ski in Colorado you should come up here and say Thank You to these VETS as they are part of Ski history as well

10th Mountain Division Memorial

 

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2012 – July 4th Outing

For the July 4th holiday Lisa and I decide to skip the traditional activities and head up high into the mountains and when I say high I’m talking over 12,000 feet for a portion of the trip and above 11,000 for other portions.

But, before we get deep into the mountains, we stop back at Bailey, CO to the park and get photos of what I thought was an old RR Wait Station on June 2nd.  After taking a few photos and doing some research since we got back, sure enough it is.  The below structure is actually what is left of the Glenisle, CO and Grousemont, CO RR Wait Stations that were identical in construction.  Both were in such bad shape that to save them they took what was restore-able from both to make a single structure as it looked at both Glenisle and Grousemont.

From there we stop at the top of Kenosha Pass (9,997ft) for a quick break to stretch the legs.  I took a quick shot of the reconstructed Wye that sits at the top of the pass since it was easy to see from the highway given the light.

Our primary travel goal of the day is to take three (3) Auto Tours around Alma, CO (Highest Incorporated Municipality in the US at 10,578ft) but nearly all the Tour Auto Signage was getting replaced so it made it tough to know when we reach each place along the tour guide.  We started off on the Placer Valley Auto Tour – (Fairplay to Alma) but didn’t find much to take photos of.

We then cut over to the Buckskin Gulch Historic Auto Tour and our first major stop on that route was the old town cemetery that is still used today by Alma.  There are many different headstones from days of old and the guide pointed out one related to Thomas Faley that we were able to track down.  There were also many military graves here that someone took the time to place a US Flag next to for the holiday (Thank You!) one that was even listed as a Civil War veteran.  Here is a photo of Thomas Faley headstone as well as Daniel M Clack of the 2nd Colorado Calvary.

From here we head up higher and find the Hungry Five Mine clinging to the side of the mountain.  Don’t be fouled by the telephoto angle, it’s a long way down to the valley floor!!!

We next spot the Paris Mine which too is hanging off the steep side of the same ridge.  Here you can better tell that just below the mine is a vertical rock face that drops and drops and drops some more

On our side of the mountain valley is the Paris Mill that Ore was carried down to via cables.  You can tell this historic building is being somewhat taken care of for younger generations to see some day…

We will now reach a turn-off to head up towards Windy Ridge but before we get up there we will find what little is left of the Mineral Park Mine.  You can start to tell from this photo that we are nearly at tree line…

We will reach the Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area that was been nearly untouched by logging or mining so these trees here are very old and you can tell what this is called Windy Ridge from their shape.  At this point we are also at 11,719ft when we start hiking.  From here you can also see Alma far below us…

We turn back down from here to the turn off to head back up towards Kite Lake.  At this point we are just below three mountain peak that are above 14,000ft that many hikes come here to hike up.  If you are going to take those hikes start really early as you do NOT want to be this high when the afternoon lightning storms hit and have no cover so you become the Lightning Rode.  Many a hikers die from lightning at these altitudes.

On the way back down we stop to take a photo of one of the local that call this place home.  Nice of him to pose for a few shots.  Don’t be fouled by his cute looks, this is one tough / mean critter that rules at this altitude.

From here we will head all the way back down to Fairplay, CO (9,953ft) to have lunch at the Brown Burro which is one of our favorite places to eat in this area.

After a wonderful meal we head out for the third Auto Tour; the Horseshoe / Fourmile Historic Auto Tour.  As we turn onto County Road 18 from US285 we are now on the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway grade that serviced the mines / mills of what was Leavick, CO.  This railroad hauled the our down to the Denver, South Park, and Pacific that would later become part of the Colorado and Southern Railroad.  I believe the DSP&H was a bit over 11 miles in length as it headed up the gulch to the old mining town of Leavick.

On the way up, we will pass the old Mudsill Mill that is in need of some TLC or will be lost to time soon.  Yes, that is a For Sale sign and there is a fair amount of acreage that comes with the sale…

We will go as far as motorized travel is allowed which is still well below the mine that you can hike up too.  We are at 12,061 ft when we park and get out.  It’s starting to Rain and clouds are moving in so it’s time to get down of these high mountain trails.  Looking back down the road you can see part of the DSP&H roadway we just travel over to get up here.  Yes, there are no trees up at this level so we are the lightning rods right now so down we go.

Part way down now below timber line we pull in to the Limber Grove Trail.  Part of the trail crosses over the gulch and I notice the heavy timbers are being supported from below are railroad ties, have I found some small part of the DSP&H still here?

Time to head back towards Alma to track down and photograph the old Alma Junction depot.  The first time we looked for it we missed it (in plain sight) and after re-reviewing some old photos we realized the back of the depot was to the road and thus mistook it earlier for one of the cabins. (GPS  39°16’11.52″N / 106° 3’10.18″W).  This depot too needs some serious restoration $$$ to save it.

We have one more stop to make of this chapter, we head for Breckenridge, CO.  You might recall that Colorado and Southern Steam Engine #9 was restored to operations, placed into service on the Georgetown Loop and quickly was broken from over usage.  Well, it’s new home is in Breckenridge where it is once again a static display.

It’s getting late and I do have to still work for a living so it’s time to head home.  We will stop in Idaho Springs for diner at one of our favorite places there (Buffalo Bar) and then head the rest of the way home.  Not a bad One-Day vacation and a way to celebrate July 4th by visiting various historical places and saying Thank You to a few war vets from conflicts of long ago at the Buckskin Gulch Cemetery…

Dinner Idaho Springs

 
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Posted by on 07/04/2012 in RRAdventures, Trip Reports

 

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2012 – Wichita Kansas – Part 5

Well, it’s the final day of our mini vacation to Wichita but we have time to make one more jaunt.  We will head for Wellington, Kansas this time to track down some more SF / AT&SF / BNSF railroad structures.

Wellington, KSWellington, KS

Wellington, KSWellington, KS

Time to turn back to Wichita and head to the airport.  We will grab lunch at the airport and wait for our plane to arrive.

Wichita, KSWichita, KS

We are one again home after getting dumped off on the tarmac at DIA.  Our niece who had just graduated is there to pick us up and take us home via the scenic route,  Now if she can get a job at the Denver Zoo all would be great.

Denver, CO

 

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2012 – Wichita Kansas – Part 4

It’s now Day #4 of our five-day mini vacation.  The rest of the family heads home today but we will remain to explore more of the area.  We will start off heading out to Beaumont, Kansas to track down a Frisco Water Tower that is the last of its kind.

Beaumont, KS

We now head to Augusta, KS to track down an old SLSF (Frisco) Depot as well as an old AT&SF Depot that is now used by BNSF.  We found a few BNSF critters while we were there along with some other equipment.

Augusta, KSAugusta, KSAugusta, KS

From there it is off to Winfield, KS to track down an AT&SF Depot and by chance I spot the “modern” BNSF building behind it and also catch a diesel engine that I can get a quick shot of.

Winfield, KSWinfield, KSWinfield, KS

Our next stop is Mulvane, KS where we are again tracking down another AT&SF Depot along with a Santa Fe Caboose.  It’s a museum that we knew would not be open but that does not mean I can’t take photos of the outside!

Mulvane, KSMulvane, KS

We get a bite to eat as we head back to Wichita, KS.  As the wife reminds me often; not everything on our trips gets to be RR related.  I agree and at 1PM the Museum of World Treasures opens up and it’s a very nice museum with items from many different eras so off to museum we go.  The second floor is filed with all sort of military stuff from old to semi-modern times; well worth the stop

Wichita, KS

Afterwards I drop Lisa off at the hotel as it has gotten extremely hot and she is wiped.  During our travels earlier in the day I spotted what looked to be a depot and a caboose near Douglass so I will head back out.  Sure enough I find a AT&SF Depot (which is actually a replica) and another SF Caboose; score!

Douglass, KSDouglass, KS

The caboose is actually For Sale so if anyone is interested I have the owner’s contact info.  I wonder what the S&H costs would be on it as I think it would look great in my backyard.

Well, time to head back to Wichita and take Lisa to dinner but I have still a little time to stop by Friends University to check out the campus my niece just graduated from.  I will take a few pictures to add into the video I going to make for her of her graduation.  Here is the Admin. Building that is the largest of the buildings on campus.

Wichita, KS

 

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2012 – Wichita Kansas – Part 1

We head to Wichita Kansas to attend my nieces college graduation and add some time before/after to make a mini vacation out of it.

Well our flight out turned out to be a Turbo-Prop but at least we sat far enough back to be away from most the noise.

We get in to our hotel close to midnight and then get up early to start our next RRAdventures of 2012 by heading for Hutchinson, Kansas to track down some depots; including the Arkansas Valley Interurban Depot.

From there we head for Fort Larned National Historic Site near Larned, KS

We then head down the road a bit to the Santa Fe Trail Center that has lots of historical stuff but not as much on the Santa Fe Trail as we had hoped but still very much worth the stop; especially since they have a depot there!  The depot is from Frizell, KS and is AT&SF

With the major outside activities done (to avoid the heat) we head back into Larned itself to track down another depot

From there we head for Pawnee Rock, KS to track down their historical depot

Our next stop in Pawnee Rock is Pawnee Rock itself which was a geologic structure that mark the midpoint of the Santa Fe Trail.  We also find a lone grave to Nehemiah Carson (PVT Mexican War) who died here from an unknown illness.

We don’t have much time left but we quickly pass through Great Bend, KS to track down AT&SF Steam Engine #3416

Time to head back to Wichita, Kansas to call it a night

 

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