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Christmas '89 Train Trip

 

Took early bus to the City and learned one very important rule of train riding - never, EVER eat a 5 lb. Super Burrito just before leaving on a 2 hour bus ride! Whew, it was touch and go all the way. Anyway, hung out in the SP Desert yard for awhile, then hoofed it over to UP. I'm now sitting under the bridge with a couple of hours to go before my train leaves.

It's now 11:15 p.m. and I'm in my usual spot next to the UP yard, again waiting for a train. Another lesson that has been brought to mind in the last hour or so is to err on the side of too many warm clothes, rather than too few.

The power just backed down. It looks like 3 big "boats" tonight. Well, midnight came and went. So did 1:00 am and 2:00 am. Finally at 2:30 am I caught out and had a slow and extremely cold ride to Stockton. Watched Santa Fe detour come through the SP yard. Very long northbound. Hung out in fog and finally caught out around 7:45 am. The train stopped at Charter Way and mercifully gave me time to figure out if I really wanted to go all the way to Salt Lake on a piggyback that was soaking wet already. Hanging around in this 38 degree fog is getting to be a real drag, so I sleazed off the pig train and walked back to the yard, where I'm now waiting in an empty auto rack on an OANP that should be leaving in about a half hour. Leaving town at 9:30 am on Wed. After staying up all night and burning up about a zillion calories trying to keep warm, I had a great sleep and woke up at 3:00 p.m. near Keddie. Should be in Salt lake around 5:00 am. Woke up outside of Salt lake at 7:30 am. Partly cloudy with 28 degrees. Should be a nice day once the Sun comes out. To say that I'm "rested" is an understatement. I got in my bag around 10:00 am in Stockton and except for a couple of hours between Keddie and Portola I've stayed in it until this morning - that's over 19 hours! Anyhoo, as usual, after sitting at a siding 3 miles from town for an hour, as soon as I climbed down to walk into town we started to go. Had breakfast, cleaned up, waited for the liquor store to open and when it did I found out that they didn't carry White Port "in the city limits". That's Mormons for you. I'm now in the yard at 11:30 am waiting on a stack/pig train. Caught out in about an hour and got into LA about the same time the next day. It was 86 degrees at 11:30 am in LA!

After Christmas with the family, I took an RTD bus to Riverside where Bruce met me and we went "railfanning" at Riverside and Colton. Saw a UP train at a siding in Colton, found out it was the LAHK and it would leave in an hour. Drank wine and finally train left at 5:30 p.m. on Tue. Dec. 26th. Got to Barstow at 8:30 p.m. where we are now, doing some work enroute to Yermo. My train broke up in Yermo, so I walked to the far north end of the yard and caught a stack train immediately at 1:00 am. Had good, fast ride to Salt Lake, getting in around 4:00 pm. Ate at the yard cafe and got on the coil steel train, which left after a few hours. The temperature was in the mid 20's and foggy, so besides being depressing it was "snowing" on everything. Had very slow ride to Elko - got in at 5:00 am. Got up an hour later and I'm sitting on the main line, waiting for a train. Temperature is 21 degrees and overcast. It's now 8:45 am, temperature 23 degrees and still nothing leaving town! The NPST came in on the main, causing a "flurry" of excitement in yours truly, but it's been sitting here for over an hour. There's a couple of Okie radio stations, and worst of all, my Mom washed my wine jug out at home and it didn't get rinsed out good enough and now my wine tastes like dishwashing soap. Anyhoo, we just got our air and we're leaving at 9:00 am.

Had a great ride across Nevada in hopper with hardly any "humps" in back. Went to sleep near Flannigan. Got to Portola at 8:00 p.m. and had even smoother ride down canyon. Woke up at 5:00 am in 30 degree pea-soup fog in Stockton. Had breakfast, got a bottle and now I'm waiting for the SLOAZ, due at 9:00 am. Left town at noon on a 14 car train after the bull "politely" told me to leave the yard, which, actually I did, only not on foot. Got into Oakland at 2:20 pm.