Monday, September 17, 2007
We headed out from Calgary Thurday (September 13, 2007) morning to Cranbrook, BC stopping in Invermere, BC for lunch at the Station Restaurant. In Cranbrook we toured the Railway Museum, went for dinner, then walked around the Museum site and checked out the train yard. At the train yard there was a train getting ready to leave. It arrived when we were looking through the rail cars at the Museum.
Friday morning took us down through the border to Spokane, Washington where we had lunch at Carl's Jr and then went to Sunset Junction, Murray's favorite Hobby shop. They even remembered him there. After spending only $75.00 we then headed out to LaGrand, Oregon where we filled the car up with fuel for the first time on the trip at 1152.3 KM on the trip meter. I love our VW Gold TDI. We checked into our hotel and then drove to Elgin to see exactly where it was and to talk to a couple of the locals about the RDC (Rail Diesel Car) that we were going to be riding on the next day. On our way back to our hotel and to grab something to eat there was a wonderful sunset. We ate at Quizno's and stopped at Safeway for snacks for the trip the next day.
Saturday morning, up early to get ready. Breakfast didn't start until 7am, so we got packed up so that all we had to do was eat, brush our teeth and check out. We headed to Elgin, Oregon which was about a half hour drive from LaGrand to board our train. When we arrived an alarm on the train was going off. It sounded like the horn was stuck in the on position. It took almost an hour to turn it off. They couldn't get the engines on the one car to start, so instead of being self-propeled rail cars, they were pulled by a GP-7 Engine instead. It took some of the romanticism away from the trip.
We boarded the train and there were only about 43 people on board the two cars, which meant almost everyone got to sit on the side they wanted with a view of the river. We stopped several times for photo run-by's and static shots. The train was moving at approximately 10 miles per hour. The views were beautiful, but somewhat obstructed by the forest fire smoke that had blown in from Montana. They provided us a box lunch as well as a continential breakfast of sorts and various other goodies along the way. If you were hungry you ate, if you were thirsty you drank. With the issuses of the cars not running on their own power you couldn't use the washrooms on the car we were on, so you had to go into the other car to use the facilities.
We got into Joseph, Oregon arouund 4:15pm and took a quick bus tour of the town. They are know for their bronze statues. Then off on the highway back to Elgin. We arrived in Elgin around 6pm and then promptly headed out on a scenic route towards Spokane. We stayed on the scenic route until the sun set, which doesn't take long around there, and then got onto the freeway North to Spokane. We passed this one area that had a pulp and paper mill, or at least that's what it smelled like, then immediately after that there was a sour milk smell followed by a poopy smell. Needless to say we plugged our noses for that section of the trip. It sure woke us up in a hurry. We got into Spokane around 10:30pm and checked into our hotel and went to sleep.
Sunday morning we got up later than usual, around 8am and headed down to breakfast. They had a continental breakfast which included Waffles! We were on the road by 9am heading for Cranbrook through CourD'Lane. After stopping in Cranbrook for a bite to eat and some rail-fanning we headed out towards the Crowsnest Pass. As we were going through the town of Crowsnest Pass our friend Doug S. passed us, so we kept up with him until Blaremore where he pulled over to get gas. We followed him into the parking lot and his wife was suprised to see us. He was heading to Waterton for a couple of days. We headed out with out them and stopped a couple of more times for railfanning then at Lundbrek falls to enjoy the views and hope a train would come by. Just as the sun was setting we headed back out on the road again up 2A to Black Diamond, Okotoks and then into Calgary. We arrived home around 10:30pm. I unpacked the car and when to bed. That's a long day on the road.
Now it's back to work until Thursday. Friday we head out on our next adventure to Edmonton for the Greater Edmonton Train Show.