Clouds and Showers

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series 2012 New Mexico Adventure

Our last day on the transcon dawned with a few clouds in the air.  We decided to head west again towards Seligman since the satellite image looked more promising there.  We photographed our fill of morning eastbounds climbing up to Crookton from Seligman.  After a move up to Crookton the weather began to deteriorate.  In fact not long after we shot this westbound Q CHISTO clouds obscured the sun and we encountered occasional rain showers for most of the remainder of the day.   You can even see the line of showers entering the photo below.

I have to laugh a bit that the first rain I’ve felt since mid-July fell not in Vancouver but in the middle of the desert!  Even funnier is when it started to rain I immediately headed for the car to keep from getting wet.  It was like I didn’t know what rain felt like. Nearly 80 days without rain has put me out of practice.

We drove out to Eagle Nest for a a couple of trains but honestly the beautiful curves there just didn’t shine so well in the overcast.  As always it is impressive to see westbounds dropping off the mountains to the east but considering the long drive on very rough road it just wasn’t worth it.  I was however excited when we headed east to Flagstaff and the Lumberyard.  Since the weather was nice we sat outside and watched several trains roll through downtown Flagstaff while enjoying a darn good meal.  I chose the Tri-Tip sandwich but ate it more like straight up Tri-Tip.  Excellent.

Our goal was West Winslow around sunset.  We arrived just after sunset and just in advance of 3 eastbounds.  The sky ended up as a perfect backdrop for the trains.  Sure we didn’t get the traditional long telephoto image looking back towards Flagstaff but I’m still happy to have visited such an iconic location.

New Mexico Adventure

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series 2012 New Mexico Adventure

For the last week I’ve been on a railfan vacation in New Mexico and Arizona. I landed in Albuquerque and drove west with my friends to visit places along the Transcon, visit the Apache Railway, visit the Copper Basin Railway, visit the Escalante & Western, and somewhat unintentionally visit the Arizona and Eastern. Here’s some of the vital statistics from the trip:

  • 453 DSLR photos
  • 32 iPhone photos
  • 1801 miles driven
  • A few scratches on the skin
  • 24.2 MPG in a 2013 Escape
  • 2 liability releases
  • 2200 flight miles
  • a few new friends

These stats don’t necessarily convey the complete experience we had on this trip so over time I will share some of my images along with my thoughts about what I saw.

On the first day we made a quick trip into Belen then proceeded west to Dalies and on to Rio Puerco where we captured an eastbound stack train just as the sun began to set.  Despite the appearance, this train is descending a long grade from the continental divide nearly 100 miles to the west near Gonzales, NM.  The location is 2178 feet less than the 7227 foot crest.  The elevations in this part of New Mexico and Arizona are amazing!