Train Log through the Southwest

6/20 Fathers Day 1993

Made pancakes for Erik and myself. Got out of town around 10:40 AM. Made a quick turn around when I realized I had forgot my wind Breaker. It can get cold at the top of Cumbres pass. Stopped in Barstow for soft drinks and fruit from Fred's cooler. Stopped for gas in Needles. Spent 1 minute of shear terror, though I had dropped my wallet in Barstow. Erik had put it away for me. I took it out of my pocket and laid it on the center console because it was uncomfortable to drive with. Getting good gas milage. Better than 20 miles per gallon. Not bad for a 4X4 with 165,000 miles on it. Africa hot in needles as Erik says.Got to Williams around 5:40 PM. Good time. Neat B&B within walking distance of the train station. Met Pidge. She is the female owner of the B&B. She told us the only place to eat in Williams was Rod's steak house. Place was founded by a guy from Maine. Now owned by the Ex dish washer. Probably got it for a song before the train came in. Town was about dead before the train started. Had a 16 oz. Porterhouse. Very good meal. Met Bill Pidge's husband. He had been driving people out to the Grand Canyon in the Jonstonian's limo a '60 Cadillac limo. A real hoot.It was obvious his culinary expertise did not extend beyond Williams. Have a neat guest house all to ourselves. House has a kitchen. Could not get the Suns game just as well since the turkeys lost.Started reading the book Erik gave me for fathers day. "The gripping hand" the sequel to "Mote in gods eye". Mote was one of the best ScFi ever. Am interested to see how good the sequel is.

6/21

Breakfast was at 8:00 AM. Slight protest from Erik. He has gotten better since he has been working. Blueberry pancake breakfast. Big and good. Not as good as mine but very good. Apple sauce is homemade. Good but not as good as Mom's. Erik agrees.Walked down to the train station. Got tickets,very efficient, and went through museum while we waited for train. The train people had mock gun battle for all the tacky tourists. Neat train.Engine was a 2-6- 0.Had to run a old Alco diesel as helper for the hills. Train has got so popular that steamer can't pull all the hills with 10 passenger cars. Kate was our car attendant. A AU student on summer break. Real perky. Grew up in Flagstaff or Flag as she calls it. Neat ride through some pretty country. Train left at 9:30 AM and gets to Canyon around 11:45 AM. Loco is oil fired so a clean ride. One 3% grade on the line. Not as flat as it looks in a car. Train station is right next to the El Tovar hotel. Bus tours were available but Erik and I walked most of the three hours . Did the visitors center and the overlook and a lot of rim walking. Kind of scary . One slip and it's a long way down. Unbelievable view. Ended up at the El Tovar. Neat inside but it looks like they take them selves very seriously. Erik and I were checking out this blonde that was checking in. Spectacular, but the guy she was with must have had a lot of money or power or both. Fun time. Train leaves at 3:15 PM and returns at 5:30 PM. The cowboys from the gun battle returned for a train hold up. I wondered what they did for the 6 hours in between. Erik guessed they drank beer. He's probably right. I asked Kate about good mexican places to eat. She suggested Salsa Brava on 89A north in Flagstaff. Flag is about 30 minutes from Williams. The restaurant was all she said and more. We had to wait about 20 minutes on a monday night at 6:30 PM which was a good sign. Marguerites were as good as Crocodile Cantina. GREAT.I had Pollo Asada. Chicken cooked in orange and Lime juice. GREAT. North on 89A about 3 blocks from I40 on the right. Lots of college kid action because NAU is next door.8 million bugs committed suicide on our windshield and lights as we returned to Williams.

6/22

Slept good after all the walking. Another 8 AM breakfast. Mexican Quiche is the best way I can describe it very good. Homemade Apple butter with homemade bread toasted. Fantastic! Gassed up in Williams and tried to get the bugs off the light and window. We decided to risk the deer mouse virus and go up through the center of the Navajo reservation. Went north on 89A past the east entrance of Monument Valley. Spectacular views. Passed shiprock not quite like I pictured it from the Hillerman novels. Very neat to see all the stuff I have been reading about. More gas in Farmington. Ended up in the high country and dropped down to Los Alamos. Took 1 hour and 40 minutes from Chama to LA. Got to Gary's (best friend from high school) around 8 PM.Long out of the way drive but worth every mile. Found the place after a little bit of a random search. Been about 7 years since I've been here. Graine (Gary's wife)started dinner when we showed up. Gary's back is still out and he does not expect to make the train ride.He has had more than his share of health problems and with the Lab shrinking he is thinking of getting serious about getting his back fixed as well.The staff at LAMP has been cut by 20%. The entire facility may be cut next FY. He won't know until December.The good old Christmas layoff in the wings. We took over the living room with Erik on the couch and Di Gaijin on the foam pads on the floor. They have two cats. Glad I brought the Benadryl. Watched "Singles". Cute movie.

6/23

Woke up at 5:30 AM Living room is VERY bright. Even Erik woke up early. Graine made bacon and eggs for breakfast. Shawna took us on a hike in Bandolier. 2.5 miles with and 2500 foot elevation drop down to the Rio Grande. I stopped at the 2 mile point and told Erik to take a picture of the river. It was getting hot did not want the old fat guy to pass out on the way back up. Great hike though going back up was a lot harder than going down. Got back to Gary's around lunch time. Graine had Sandwich stuff and Erik made sandwich's for both of us. The Kid has a way with food. Called CATS (Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad) to confirm ride.We went to the Bomb museum in the afternoon. Went to see Gary's mom and grandmother . They have a neat house that over looks a spectacular canyon. Two story Grandmother on the bottom and Teddy Gene on the top floor.Pat has been MIA for 1 1/2 days. Graine is pissed. Los Alamos is a lot safer than LA but still.He showed up around 5 sweet talked his mom and headed of to another party in the Jemez that night. Picked up a couple of videos. "Mighty Ducks" and "The Sure Thing" Watched "Mighty Ducks". Good stuff.

6/24

Woke up around 6:00 AM. Want to be on the road by 8 AM. Got seven people to get going. Trying hard not to be too anal. Cereal and milk morning. We were headed towards Chama by 8:15 AM. We got there by 10 AM. They (CATS) are very well organized. We went in Gary's van the thing handles like a land barge. Train leaves at 10:30 AM. The ride has some of the best scenery in the US. Nothing like a coal fired locomotive. Lunch was served in a very efficient fashion. Not gourmet but lots of it. Teddy Gene suggested going back to Chama but I signed us up for the whole ride on to Antonito. You miss the Toltec gorge if you turn around. A spectacular sight.It is amazing how dry the country around Antonito after the Cumbres area which it very green. The bus ride back was a little trying with very little air conditioning and windows that would not open. Train ride takes 5 hours bus ride back is 1 hour and 15 minutes.We got home around 8:30 PM. A very full but fun day.

6/25

Definitely time to leave the cats are starting to take us a normal and coming out to visit Erik and I at night. Shanna lent me a squirt gun which worked very well on "Munchie". Got out of Los Alamos a 9 AM. Took the back road out. Down highway 4 through the "Jemez" Pat pronounces it "Haymis" took me a long time to figure out what he was talking about. The "Jemez" is a heavily forested area west of Los Alamos. All the kids there use it as a personal playground. It added another hour to our trip but was worth it. As you get down towards I40 you pass through several Indian pueblos. We both found the adobe construction very interesting. Traveling the road less traveled has been the theme of this trip. I40 does not qualify but it is fast. Tried to stretch a tank to Flagstaff but got nervous at 375 miles(too hot to walk anywhere). Bought gas at two-guns. 30 miles outside Flag. Dropped down I17 towards Cornville. I'm starting to get nervous. We are losing allot of elevation from Flag and it's getting hot. We get off on Cornville road and the country is definitely desert and HOT. I'm hoping this place is Air Conditioned. Cornville looks alot like Shadow Hills. Neat house mixed in with dumps and lots of horses. As we follow the map I get more and more concerned. Last mile is rough dirt road. Glad we brought the 4X4 a car will make it but it is rough.We drop down into this little valley and we come upon a great house. Very modern. We meet Terry who turns out to be a airline pilot and train buff. We stack our gear in a great room and find out from Terry about place to eat and auto parts stores. We had a burned out brake light since we left Los Alamos this morning and it's been driving us nuts. It turns out if the brake light is burned out on the left when ever you signal to turn right the cruse control turns off. A real nuisance in high speed driving. Got the bulb and we replaced it. Fixed the problem weird. Must be grounding. Terry suggested a restaurant called the Page Springs Cafe. Unbelievable place. Great view of the river. Good prime rib at a great price. Great mixture of people. Had some time so we went up to check out Sedona. Very rich. Looks like Laguna in the desert. Came back to the Pumpkinshell ranch and some reading and sleep.

6/26

Great breakfast. Kay had taken Terry to the airport and a class in Phoenix. She wants to become a lawyer. That's why the Pumkinshell is up for sale. Got $450K you don't know what to do with. We got the back up cook with one of Kay's recipes which I got. Egg chile puff. Will try it on the 4th of July trip. We got some ice and more fruit. Explored both mine museums in Jerome and looked a Jerome proper. Art colony now. Got to train depot at 1 PM. Real hot. 109. Berni was right about setting close to the one air conditioner per car. Riding outside in this heat is scenic but hard on you. We brought along three cokes and drank them in the first hour.We met Nathan the Jewish guy from Encino. Actually he met us came up to us and said you guys aren't from Sedona. Really a crazy guy. Gold chains runs liquidation auctions for the government. Lives in Jerome. We drank water all the time and did not need to pee until we got back to the ranch 7 hours later. The scenery was great . A little more disorganized than the other two trains we rode but neat.Rich white people like to complain alot. We saw six black people on the train. Must be the only ones in Arizona. All these white people must be boring. Watched a Hitchcock film "The Secret Agent" not one of his best.

6/27

Kay used the automatic bread maker and we had fresh bread. Apricot pecan very good. Kay and I have been swapping recipes. Gave her the papaya salsa.We also had eggs benedict. Breakfast was great.We left around 9:30 AM. We drove up 89A through Sedona and Oak Tree Canyon. Another spectacular drive red cliffs and high pine forests.We got to Flagstaff about 10:30 AM. Then we hit I40 and started west. Only excitement was 118 degrees at the Colorado River and we had to shut down the Air conditioning going up some of the hills. After Barstow it had cooled off. 104. No more heating problems. Came home the back way through Tujunga Canyon. Real quick. Found a dead cat (real 4 day kind of dead). Erik and I buried it.Smell almost made me gag.Berni was still in San Diego and did not feel like making dinner after the cat burial. Went to a italian place in old town Pasadena. Left Berni a note and she joined us. We talked about our trip and came home. 2500 miles uncounted coke's, fruits and fruit Juice, 4 rolls of slides, 6 books and a lot of fun.