Friday, July 10, 2009

July 6 - Salt Lake City to Chattanooga

We got going in the morning, loaded the car for the short trip to the airport, and promptly took the wrong turn onto highway 15 north. Once we got headed in the right direction, we got the car checked in and found a looooooooooonnnnnnnggg line at the Delta check-in counter. Fortunately the line outside at the Red Cap station was very short, so we used that option and minutes later were waiting in another looooooonnnnnnngggg line for the security line. We discussed numerous issues of world-wide significance while we waited, and once they'd scanned our possessions we made our way to the gate. We loaded onto a Boeing 757 in good order, endured a three-hour flight to Atlanta, made our way to the gate where we were scheduled to catch our ride to Chattanooga, and settled in to wait for that plane to leave.

Since we were near the end of the concourse, I went down and took a few shots of airplanes on the taxiways and runways. Here's a Delta Airlines departure.

This World Airlines Lockheed was being towed along.

A United Airlines departure.

Continental Airlines pulling his gear up on departure.

This Airtran unit almost has his gear fully retracted as he heads "Up, Up, and Away!"

Shortly after I took these pix, a localized storm rolled across the airport and effectively closed it for nearly an hour. Our plane was supposed to leave at 5:30, didn't, and was finally cancelled around 7:00 PM. We were given "seat requests" and directed to another gate where there was a scheduled departure for Chattanooga at 8:20. And although the person at the desk acted like we all were unlikely to get onto the plane, in fact we were all accomodated. So we made it home, later than we wanted but with luggage intact. Thanks to neighbors Marc and Mary for so graciously picking us up and delivering us home. It's good to sleep in our own bed again.

July 5 - Little America

We checked in at the Little America Inn which Anita had booked through, and they put us in the most elegant room that either of us had ever enjoyed. Cost less than $70.00 with taxes - what a deal!

Our room had a small balcony with a breathtaking view of the mountains to the south-west of the city.

When we got back from dinner, we found the moon rising over the Wasatch mountains.

A short time later, the light rail train rumbled by the hotel.

Early to bed tonight; we leave for Tennessee tomorrow (via Atlanta-Hartford airport, of course).

July 5 - Ely, Nevada to Salt Lake City, Utah

Once our excursion was done, we gassed the car and headed north. Whenever you drive in this part of the country, it's a good idea to make sure you don't run out of fuel 'cuz theres not a gas station on every corner. Most of the scenery is like that in the photo below.

If you look far in the distance, way down at the end of this very straight road at the base of those hills, you will see a town. It's West Wendover, Nevada, and it's twenty miles ahead of us.

We turned right onto Interstate 80 at West Wendover and drove on into Salt Lake City, passing the Bonneville Salt Flats and skirting the south side of the Great Salt Lake.

July 5 - Afternoon Excursion

Our excursion to McGill (actually, toward McGill) consisted of SD-9 #204 with two coaches, an open car, and the bright yellow caboose. McGill is north of East Ely, and in this view we see the tracks through the broad Steptoe Valley and low mountain range to the east.

One of several advertising posters in our car.

We reached a siding in the middle of nowhere, and the 204 ran around the train to take us back to East Ely.

The hogger exchanges greetings with passengers on the open car.

Met some interesting folks on the train. One guy grew up in Edina. MN and has lived in Las Vegas since 1961! He related an interesting story about the house he grew up in, very near the Northern Pacific railroad.

July 5 - Trip to Ruth

Large copper mines once existed near the town of Ruth, or "New Ruth" as the town is now called. The big yellow hill behind this marker is waste rock left after the mineral-bearing ore is stripped from the open-pit mines.

The marker reads as follows:
Copper Country
The famed open-pit copper mines of eastern Nevada, including the Liberty Pit, largest in the state, are located two miles south of this point. Through the first half of the 20th century, this area produced nearly a billion dollars in copper, gold and silver.The huge mounds seen from here are waste rock which was removed to uncover the ore.
Two miles east of here, near Lane City, was the Elijah, the first mine discovered in the Robinson Mining District. Lane City, originally called Mineral City, was settled in 1869 and had a population of 400. At Mineral City was the Ragsdale Station, one hotel and a stage station.

This old grader was parked in a small park. Needs restoration, eh?

A view of part of the open-pit mine.

We had to leave here and rush back to East Ely in order to make our 1:00 PM excursion.

July 5 - Trip to McGill

There used to be a copper smelting operation in McGill, which employed most of the people in the area. We drove up here to see what remained of the operation and found this small yard.

I turned to my left and shot a picture of this old depot building. Don't know what it is now being used for, but it's in quite good condition.

Another turn to my left revealed this railroad-looking building. Might have been a freight house or some such?

July 5 - Nevada Northern

I walked down to the depot in the morning and found this ex-Southern Pacific SD-9 running in the Nevada Northern yard.

The engineer walks down to the crew meeting in front of the steam engine.

NCCCo #93 left with her morning trip to Ruth and I caught her coming back to town.

July 4 - Afternoon Excursion

After the parade we relaxed back at the Steptoe Valley Inn for a while. Before long, I heard the train returning from the afternoon excursion to the mines at Ruth, so I headed back to the yard for a couple more pix. Here's the train drifting downgrade to the switch.

As the train pushes back into the station, the cannoneer recharges his weapon. The flatcar with the "cake" and the cannon signify and celebrate the 100th birthday (January 17, 2009) of Alco steam locomotive #93. Read more about the restoration and rededication of the locomotive at the Museum Web Site.

The conductor keeps an eagle eye on the track from the steps of the wide-vision caboose.

Four 36-foot wood-sheathed boxcars are parked next to the restored freight depot.

By the time our excursion was ready to board the train, it had started to rain.

I made a bunch of pictures on our excursion to Ruth, but because of the roughness of the ride and the fading daylight, they didn't come out well. After the trip to Ruth, our train was pushed down the mainline to the golf course, where we enjoyed a fireworks display before returning to the depot. We learned later that it had rained hard, with some hail, at Ely while we rode to Ruth.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 4 - Ely Parade

We found ourselves a place on the shady side of the street, across from the JailhouseMotel Casino. Not quite as grand as some on Las Vegas, but with all the basic features ;-)

Lots of people brought pets to the parade. This guy is known as "Little Bear."

A float in honor of the unknown Soldier, guarded by a proud Marine. Semper Fi!

Many fire and rescue vehicles in the parade. This antique hauls a load of future firefighters.

Pretty little horsewoman proudly proclaims, "My Mom's in the Navy!"

July 4 - Ely Parade Preparation

The Fourth of July is a big day for celebratory patriotic parades across this great country, and Ely, Nevada is no exception. Since our train ride wouldn't start until much later, we took the opportunity to check out parade preparations and make some pix of some very nice old cars. Here's a 1946 Chevrolet pickup truck.

A luxurious ride in 1951 was this Oldsmobile 88 2-door hardtop coupe.

How about this 1955 Pontiac convertible?

These two sweeties are the grandchildren of some folks who are staying at the same B&B as Anita and I. They'll be participating in the parade today.

Remember the movie, "American Grafitti"? How do you like this 1958 Chevrolet Bel Aire Coupe?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 3/4 - Steptoe Valley Inn and BBQ

Our landlord at the Steptoe Valley Inn has a BBQ next door. He had his smoker custom built by Buzzard BBQ up in Seattle and it holds a ton of very tasty vittles.

Buzzard BBQ has a very catchy logo.

July fourth is one of their busiest days. "Old Smokey" is loaded and fired up.

The locomotive design is well adapted to his BBQ business. The pork butts go in the upper cab area, and the beef is in the smokebox. Wood and a gas burner go in the lower cab area, just like the fuel in a steam lokie. And the tie-in to the nearby Railway Museum no doubt helps, too.

Out in the yard, #93 is backing down to the coal chute.

July 3 - Ely, Nevada

We got to Ely mid-afternoon, and checked into our B&B which was only a block from the East Ely depot of the Nevada Northern Railway.

I hustled down to the depot to find that the local high school was holding a reunion for all the folks who graduated in a year ending in nine. I met folks from the classes of 1949, 1959, and more. Hearing the rumble of an old Alco, I walked back of the depot to find this RS-3 shunting cars in and out of the shop across the tracks.

Pretty soon Alco steamer #93 pulled up to the station with her train (two coaches, an open car, a wide-vision caboose, and a short flatcar holding a replica of a birthday cake and a two-inch cannon! #93 is a hundred years old this year (as of January 17, I've been informed).

The train crew held a meeting before loading the train for this evenings excursion.

The passengers are loaded onto the train, the conductor has given the high sign, and the engineer clears the cylinders before shoving the train back out onto the mainline.

The Nevada Northern Railway is run by a dedicated group of volunteers. We're looking forward to our excursion tomorrow.