Across America - Buffalo to San Francisco by Amtrak

RBrodzinsky Jul 20, 2014

  1. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Cool - thanks for the info!
     
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just a quick note - not forgetting about posting the final stage of the trip, just so darn hot this weekend, don't want to sit at PC for too long
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Whenever you feel like it is just fine. We are enjoying the topic.
     
  4. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    As soon as I finish the CZ trip, I also have a bunch of great photos of the Westfield NY depot, now art gallery, and the Salamanca, NY train museum and depots. Then it will be back to modelling.
     
  5. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Continuing the journey

    It was now early early morning of Saturday, July 19. I woke up and opened the curtains to look outside, with no expectation of where we might be. Having watched the performance of the CZ the prior week, I was worried we might have lost more time while we were sleeping.

    First think I noticed - it was still dark. OK, what time is it? Looked at my phone, and it seemed very early (4:53am in fact). Hmmm, looked at my watch and it said 5:53am! We were in Nevada -- and somewhere near cell towers! Pacific Time Zone -- basically home (except for a lot of miles to go).

    Looked out some more, still dark, no lights anywhere, and scrub immediately adjacent to the track where the lights from the cars helped me see. Desert. OK. Go back to sleep, or at least doze.

    As dawn finally started to break, and as we both started to stir, we came to Wells NV. Still too dark for photos, but at least we could start getting ready for breakfast. While in the diner (nice meal with a couple how had flown to All Star Game, and were taking the train home to Sacramento), we also went through Carlin.

    Got back to the bedroom, dug the camera out, and got this shot as we pulled into Elko Nevada

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    What is now the Red Lion Hotel and Casino used to be a Best Western that I would stay at back in the 70s, when driving east to school.

    Unfortunately, I actually missed the Elko stop, I think we were at the station for less than a minute. The city (town) has grown significantly over the years, but it is still pretty much a small town out in the middle of nowhere.
     
  6. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Between Elko and Winnemucca, I did something to my camera settings. I took a few photos of the desert, but they turned out crap. When I realized the knob had been turned, we were just entering Winnemucca

    Here's a view down the street from the station towards the courthouse

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    and, as we came to a complete halt, the Martin Hotel was right across from our car

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    It was still very early morning, and there wasn't much life out on the streets as can be seen

    The big excitement, and I chose not to photograph it, was that a Sanitary Waste tanker pulled up next to the sleeper cars, and, one by one, emptied the tanks. I did learn that the hose connection was right below our window, so got to watch with interest

    Other scenic points of interest while stopped here:

    This pile of ties, on the opposite side of the train

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    and this exciting scene

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  7. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am actually not sure what I was expecting for the station in Winnemucca, but as we pulled out (after I watched the conductor sign the invoice for the sanitary truck), I certainly was not expecting this

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  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That actually looks nice. Much better than many another Amshack we have seen. I wonder if it was funded locally?
     
  9. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have to apologize now for what I realize happened once we got past Winnemucca. I was feeling basically "home", so focused solely on either photos I specifically wanted, or something new which I hadn't seen before. Makes the rest of this photo journal not quite as complete as the eastern portion of the journey. Oh well

    Working our way west, the tracks follow I-80 and the Humboldt River from Winnemucca to Lovelock. Lots of scrub and desert, and I didn't take any photos until we were approaching Fernley, about an hour west of Lovelock.

    Here was our first sight of the Sierra Nevadas, rising in the west

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    Just west of Fernley, the Truckee River finishes its West to East travel, and turns north, towards Pyramid Lake (it runs from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid). Here are two shots of it, right before it makes that turn

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    These photos show the amount of trees and brush that grow near water, and how barren the land gets when there isn't much
     
  10. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Pulling into Sparks, this old factory building near the yard caught my eye

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    A few minutes later, we were in Reno. We were still running just at 3 hours late. Pulling into the station, I was distressed to see that it is below grade, so you really don't see anything.

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    This is the only building I could really see from down here

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    They told us not to wander, they wanted to make the stop shorter than normal, to try to make up time. And almost as they made the announcement, all power went out in the sleeper cars, for about 5 minutes!
     
  11. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    By this point, it was lunch time, so once again we headed towards the diner. For our final meal, we sat with a couple from Sweden who were going to spend a few days in San Francisco.

    I ended up playing tour guide along the route up to Truckee, which, of course, limited my photos. But, as we pulled to a stop in Truckee, I did get some good photos

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    One of my favorite places to visit. There used to be a train store right across from from the depot, but I couldn't see it from the train. When my daughter was up there last fall, she said she couldn't find it, either.

    The old SP depot, still in use

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  12. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Great pics. I sure am enjoying this story.

    Didn't Elko, NV have something to do with United Airlines or Boeing Aircraft in the 1920s or 1930s? Hard for me to recall that right now.
     
  13. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not sure, but I've always associated aircraft work with Wendover, not Elko (though Elko Airport did get its big start as a stop for flying the mail)
     
  14. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    After Truckee, of course, comes Donner Lake. While it is a very short ride on the highway, the tracks begin their slow and steady climb up towards Donner Summit, in the back canyons to the south of the town and lake. While describing the area to the couple we were eating lunch with, the Sugar and Ponderosa Pines flew by our window, and then, the view of Donner Lake

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    The boaters were out in force in the warm mid-day sun
     
  15. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    As a reminder, Donner Lake figures prominently on my JACALAR layout, being the backdrop behind my mountains

    Here is the backdrop on the wall (early photo of work in progress)
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    And a later, more completed view (although not the best perspective for the lake)

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  16. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    As we approached to tunnel at the summit, these photos looking back towards Truckee and Nevada, across the mountains

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  17. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    Donner Party of 87, your tables are ready.;)


    Cool photos. On my bucket list is the Zephyr.
     
  18. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Emerging through the tunnel, one comes out in the Sugar Bowl ski resort, just above Soda Springs. Looking west, you can see I-80 below as it head down towards Emigrant Gap

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    It was at this point that I noticed a guy out by the side of the tracks taking pictures of the train. He was holding a small dog. He would chase us down the slopes all the way from here down to near Auburn, easily done, since he could easily hop on the freeway and drive 70 mph down to a turnoff he knew, while we crawled down the mountain at 25-30 mph. I kept trying to catch him in a photo, but as soon as I would see him, we were past, or trees got in the way, or something

    Looking north east, about halfway between Soda Springs and Emigrant Gap

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    and a bit more north west looking. These vistas are why I love this area

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  19. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is Old Man Mountain, and has a very special place in my memory

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    Camp Marin-Sierra (Boy Scout Camp) is in Emigrant Gap, and the tracks actually cut through a corner of the property. Old Man Mtn is in the "backyard" of the camp, and I spent many summers up here, hiking in the back country. Unfortunately, the only time I was on a trek that would take me to the mountain, I got very ill the second day out of camp, so had to turn back. There are old ghost towns and mines in this area, with no roads (except Forest Service and CalFire roads) anywhere to be found.

    Marin Sierra is in the foreground trees of this photo, with Lake Spaulding in the background.

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  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Great views!

    Did you take that lake photo used on your backdrop?
     

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