Our good friends Dave & Pat Moeller, Dick & Bobbie Turner, Russ & Ruth Duclos, and
Becky and myself ("Doc" Hemp") all took this World Wide Country Vintage
Our tour director Jeanette Eggers and coach operator Nathan Black were superb and this tour is amazingly affordable. They started out with 3 dates scheduled and had to expand it to 17 to fill the demand. It was train buffs like us that encouraged W.W. Country Tours to make a tour like this happen!
We rode Pikes Peak - cog railway, Royal Gorge - vintage diesel, Cumbres& Toltec - Steam, Durango/Silverton - Steam, and the Leadville - Switcher engine diesel.
I used my Nikon D200 with my Nikon 18-200mm Vibration Reduction Lens for all of
the 3000+ digital photos I took. I am especially proud of catching the split
second opening to get a great shot of a mamma Black Bear with her cub on the
Royal Gorge Railroad from the observation car while moving, as almost all these
shots were taken .. no tripod .. all free hand. You will see some amazing
close ups cropped from a great distance away at times.
I am not counting the evening everyone else arrived as a vacation day ...So .. my days are numbered differently than the map.
Becky, myself, Russ & Ruth Duclos flew into Denver Colorado a day early to have a day to relax 1st and case the area out .. We also stayed an extra day afterward & rode the light rail down town to the Old Union Station and bused and hiked (a sore point as I almost got us lost) to the Denver Aquarium (which by the way is much better than the Ca Monterey Aquarium). I had checked out the aquarium and rode the light rail the 1st day while the girls and Russ went shopping by cab. All but one bus driver were extremely friendly and helpful! .. And that guy should retire.
Our first day on Sunday we headed into Colorado Springs .. the home of our USA Air Force Academy by the way ... also .. congrats to Dave & Pat Moeller & their son General Mike Moeller who has just received his 2nd (now 3rd - update) Star and graduated from the Air Force academy there.
I was also a Captain in the Air Force. Becky and I were stationed at Mt. Home AFB in Idaho 1968 - 1970 where I was Prosthetics Officer - did all the gold crown and bridge, dentures, partials, etc. and kept 5 lab personel busy.
Day #1 - Sunday, 07/26/09 .. Our morning destination was the Garden of The Gods You can click on the highlighted names in the narrative on this entire page to go to the photos in that area.
In the Afternoon on Sunday most of us took the Pikes Peak Cog Railway option
The others shopped in the town of Manitou Springs near by.
For Day #2 Monday 07/27/09 We headed for the Royal Gorge DIESEL Railroad
Where we went 1000' below the world famous Royal Gorge suspension Bridge. We traveled along the Arkansas river loaded with white water rafters. We upgraded to the dome car also .. it is well worth it ... had a great breakfast there. This ranks as our 4th most favorite railroad we have ever ridden . see below for our other favorites.
Day #3 - TUESDAY, 07/28/09 .. CUMBRES/TOLTEC ALL STEAM RAILROAD!
This Railroad is my & Becky's 2nd most favorite railroad that we have ever ridden! In fact we have since become friends (supporters) of this railroad to help keep this STEAM alive for generations to come and we invite all of you to do the same. You can work on site and or help financially.
This 64 mile trip goes through all types of scenery! Much of it looks like the vast green valleys and mountains of Switzerland! You will see by the photos!
Day #4 - WEDNESDAY 07/29/09 ..THE DURANGO/SILVERTON ALL STEAM RAILROAD!
This Railroad is my & Becky's Favorite railroad of all time! "But, it is very close between Durango and Combres ...But the edge goes to Durango because of their great steam museum & steam rebuilding capabilities, the fantastic presidential, etc. parlor car upgrades available, (which we always do!), the great destination midway town of Silverton with their many restaurants and shops. And of course they have great scenery too. This is a profitable privately owned enterprise and the new owners, Allan & Carol Harper, also have many more wonderful plans in store for this railroad.
200,000 folks a year ride this railroad! And even more in economic crises as Americans are traveling here at home much more now!
This railroad also rose from the ashes of a roundhouse fire in Feb 1989 .. Most would have closed for good. Not this one thank God! They still have 21 employees that are still with the railroad since then too .. and since our average employee in our office has been with us for 30yrs this says a lot about them in my book!
MORE Durango/Silverton photos from an earlier ride in May 2004
... But be sure to book mark this main page 1st so you can get back to it.
Day #5 - Thursday 07/30/09 ... Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad
This Leadville diesel switcher engine ride is short (about 8 miles) but sweet in the sense that all the cars, etc. are just about the same as they were when the line originally closed ... They have a very friendly staff and a great character of a conductor. Russ & Ruth Duclos and Becky & I upgraded to the unimproved steel caboose but with a great view from the cupola.
This train will take you through a little bit of the Isabel National Forest right past Mt. Massive & Mt. Ebert the two tallest peaks in Colorado.
I rode on the caboose back observation deck, took the photos and got to blow the horn at all the dirt jeep crossings (2 longs, a short, & a long) as we were the lead car and the train was being pushed by the switcher engine from the back.
I am used to this as I am the engineer on our own private steam railroad B.A.D. (Becky And Dave's) Great Northern Railway ... But be sure to book mark this main page 1st so you can get back to it.
There is also a large photo of our tour group on this Leadville Link.
Day #6 ... Friday, 07/31/09 ..Georgetown A unique historic town since 1859, where we had a great breakfast and where I bought 2 very nice railroad sketches, framed and ready for the office. Then off to the airport for everyone else to leave for home... But, not Ruth, Russ, Dave & Becky
Day #6 .. Afternoon.. We opted for the extra day like I said earlier and we took the Light Rail and went to the AMAZING Down Town Denver Aquarium ... Warm, cold, fresh and salt water fish from all over the world .. many that I didn't even know existed! .. And we have 3 Salt water reef tanks of our own.
They also have a huge jungle exhibit with 3 large Bengal Tigers along with the Amazon river full of native Piranha fish, etc.
This is why the Denver aquarium is so much better than the Monterey Aquarium in CA because it features mainly the cold water creatures of the Pacific Ocean with the actual bay water running through it.
Now back to our ratings of the railroads we ever have ridden so far ... Our 3rd most favorite railroad would go to the Alaska White Pass Railroad. Click Here ... for photos of a past trip there! But be sure to book mark this main page 1st so you can return to it.
Our 4th most favorite would be the Royal Gorge ... Fantastic scenery, great over head bridge, along the Arkansas river, rafters, wildlife .. saw the momma Black Bear and her cub here! .. Also has the most wonderful dome car upgrades where you can order food and drinks from .. not to mention the view!!!
Our 5th most favorite rail ride would have to be the Grand Canyon Railroad out of Williams Arizona .. Be sure to get their 2 or 3 day special .. rooms, food, bus tour at the Grand Canyon, ride mules down inside, etc.
BUT STEAM IS KING! .. Many tourist railroads show STEAM ENGINES on their brochures but almost or always run diesel, (White Pass, Grand Canyon Railroad, etc.) and most steamers shown on the brochure are the only one they have and it is usually broken (George Town Loop, etc.) Our #1 and #2 picks have it all .. multiple steam engines and plenty of equipment and are so important to our steam heritage!
Another shorter but still great ride is the McCloud CA Steam (last ride) and the diesel dinner train I rode in the cab and took all the photos of ole #25's last steam commercial rail trip .. very sad day!!! .. But the Dinner Train Diesel is still around if we can all support it.
THE BROOKLAND ROUND HOUSE - For Steam Lovers!
Photos of Famous Steam Engines that Becky and I visited in Portland, Oregon.
Ride the Portland Oregon Area Trains with Becky and Dave!
There is one more STEAM railroad project under way now .. "The Northern Nevada Railway Foundation" which is rebuilding the Virginia & Truckee Railroad from Carson City Nevada to Virginia city Nevada. I am sure this will take over our 3rd best railroad when it is finished. Check it out the Virginia/Truckee Steam Train Ride The V & T STEAM TRAIN RIDE
With small steam railroads like the McCloud and Blue Goose railroads being forced to sell their steam engines due to the economy we must do our best to support all these railroads .. That is why Becky & I do all these free hobby photo pages to help get the word out.
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