Chama, Durango, Grand Canyon, and Kansas City: Armchair Travel Series
Ride historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad on a coal-fired steam engine built 1882 from Durango, CO to Cascade Canyon, 7750 ft. in the Rocky Mts. Visit Grand Canyon in Arizona. Gaze in awe over the huge opening in the earth. A picturesque mountain train ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad from Chama, N.M. to Antonito, CO. Visit over 25 garden railroads in Kansas City, KS. More
Enjoy riding the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad on a coal-fired steam powered engine built in 1882, as Pauline narratives the ride, displaying her pictures. The Hagers flew to Durango, CO, located in the Rocky Mountains, nestled in the Animas River Valley at 6,512 ft. Anticipating a train ride from Durango to Silverton, CO, an old mining town at 9,305 ft. high, due to deep snow drifts blocking the narrow mountain pass at higher elevations, they settled for a round-trip from Durango to the "wye" at Cascade Canyon, 7,750 ft. Beautiful snow-bound scenery was just compensation as they rode the old steam engine, enjoying the ride and spectacular wintery splendor in the mountains. Next was Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, arriving at the historic Grand Canyon R.R. Station, constructed in 1909. Anxious to see all within three days, the family circled the South Rim from east to west, following the sun cross over rocky buttes and mesas with clusters of clouds casting deep shadows. Due to the canyon's immense depth it was not always easy to spot the Colorado River below, but Pauline managed to snap shots of the seemingly calm river, when in reality it is constantly moving, rapidly. Their last day heavy snowfall covered the canyon, creating a beautiful winter wonderland, a lasting image of this awesome canyon. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad tour from Chama, New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado was the next train excursion. This scenic railroad, completed in 1880, is American's longest and highest narrow gauge railroad. The steam engine pulls the train between Chama, NM and Antonito, CO over 7,000 ft. in the Rocky Mts. Due to a fire partially burning a portion of the Lobato Trestle, where the train crosses 100 ft. above Wolf Creek, the train company provided a bus to transport the passengers to Antonito, enjoying spectacular mountain scenery as the bus climbed steep grades, going through tunnels, and careening along narrow roads above breathtaking gorges. Arriving in Antonito they boarded a waiting C&TSRR for their return trip to Chama, riding in an open observation car, viewing more breathtaking scenery alongside spruce, ponderosa pines and shimmering aspen trees. The train took hair-raising turns, looping down, up and around sides of the mountains, winding around a horseshoe curve, and inching its way along the rim of 800 foot-deep Toltec Gorge, 600 ft. above the Rio de Los Pinos; all the while traversing between northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, enjoying the stunning mountain scenery. The National Garden Railway Society held its convention in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. For those not familiar with garden railroading, a standard garden railroad consists of varying scales from 1/32 to 1/20, but the track gauge is generally 2 3/4 inches. Main requirement is a yard large enough to handle the track feet desired, and the ambition to construct the various buildings either by kit or scratch- built with all the materials to create a truly authentic railroad scene. Four days of touring over 25 creatively built garden railroads in the members' back yards, each day driving between Kansas and Missouri, and a banquet to end the convention, was a fun vacation. Pauline includes several pictures of the gardens.
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