random thoughts on railroad photography, railfanning, technology, and such

Entries in Ramblings and Such (82)

Sunday
Jul242011

Our Best Trip Ever - Part 9 - A Few Favorite Locations

(Continued from: Our Best Trip Ever - Part 8 - Flagstaff Area)

Day 5 - Part 1

Up Early and Heading to Maine

After the wonderful visit to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, and the opportunity to do some night viewing through one of their historic telescopes, the day’s events and excitement had left us with little energy to do much else. So after leaving the observatory we headed west on I-40 in search of a place to park for the night. We opted to just spend the night at the Pilot Travel Center at Bellemont, Arizona. This seemed as good of a place as any as it afforded us a chance to top off the tanks and do some shopping to augment our stores. No time for a traditional dinner tonight so we just grabbed some McDonalds and called it a night.

The track of the first part of our fifth day on the Seligman Sub. The black camera icons indicate the locations that I shot.

When I set about planning the trip along BNSF’s Seligman Subdivision I made sure to include some time at a few of my favorite locations that I had shot during prior visits to the subdivision. One location in particular, CP Maine, was, by design, a stone’s throw away from where we stopped for the night.

I had shot a couple of trains at Maine back in 2006 under some overcast skys. The location is home to a crossover with trains arriving from the west “out of the blue,” so to speak, as they appear to crest a grade out of nowhere. From the east the trains enter the scene by rounding a nice curve giving some interesting perspectives most times. All of this is backdropped by mountains and pine forests.

Here are two shots from back in 2006:

Shots from Maine, Arizona - July 3, 2006
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

My plan was to rise early enough to catch the sunrise at that location. Well, at least that was the plan.

I slept a little longer than I had hoped and grabbed my keys and headed for the cab of the truck. I left Deb sleeping in the bed so she could get some much needed rest and, as I skipped the opportunity to fill my propane tanks, we bolted west on I-40 once again.

As we motored westward I could see the sun was already above the horizon as I looked in my side mirrors. As seen in the image below, the sun had in fact already risen above the ridge behind the tracks when I got there. In my head I envisioned catching a train backlit against a golden sky with the sun still below that ridge. We arrived later than I had hoped for at Maine, but we were there nonetheless. 

As I set-up my gear, I checked in on Deb. Thankfully she continued to sleep soundly despite my less-than-smooth driving while trying to race the sun. Some locals where crossing the tracks at the grade crossing where I parked apparently heading to work for the day. I thought how thankful I was to be on vacation and that I had this view to start my day.

It was chilly outside but resfreshing as I waited for trains to arrive. It didn’t take too long and the first one was a westbound intermodal. I went into action and fired off shot after shot.

BNSF 7545 West - BNSF 7545 (GE ES44DC) and BNSF 4087 (GE DASH 9-44CW) are in charge of a westbound intermodal as they round the curve into CP Maine, west of Flagstaff, Arizona.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Moving Through Maine - BNSF 7545 (GE ES44DC) and BNSF 4087 (GE DASH 9-44CW) are charged with holding back the tonnage of a westbound intermodal as they move downgrade through CP Maine, west of Flagstaff, Arizona.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Up next was an eastbound fighting the grade and the sun:

BNSF 5049 East 1 - BNSF 5049 (GE DASH 9-44CW) is teamed up with three more unidentified GEVO units on the point of an eastbound intermodal temporarily cresting the grade at CP Maine, as they fight to climb towards Flagstaff, Arizona.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Conquering the Mountains - At CP Maine, in northern Arizona, an eastbound BNSF double-stacked intermodal train accenuates the grade, and thereby the challenge, of conquering the mountains as BNSF moves freight along their transcon route.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Another westbound came up next. This one was a high-priority “Z train” that made short work of the descent from the summit as she ate up the trackage and blew by me.

Hotshot Hitting the OS - BNSF 7796 (GE ES44DC) and three more ES44DCs are up front leading a hot westbound intermodal “Z train” into the interlocking plant at CP Maine in Arizona.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

A couple more eastbounds came by and I began to feel as though I had enough decent shots at Maine and thought it time to move further west to another location that I favor, so after the 7219 East blew by I packed up and headed west on I-40 once more.

BNSF 7219 East - BNSF 7219 (GE ES44DC), along with three other units, charge upgrade with an eastbound intermodal consist at Maine, Arizona.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

In Search of Robin Hood, of Sorts

My next destination was Sherwood Forest. The railroad calls this location Chalendar. (I keep calling it mistakeningly Calendar in my head.) After reaching the location and parking my rig on a turnout across the tracks, I noticed the rather surreal view of the last-quarter moon low in the sky over the road. I set-up across the tracks and took this shot: 

Moonrise at Chalendar
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Chalendar is comprised of a grade crossing, which makes reaching this location a breeze, a control point with crossovers, all situated in the middle of a large s-curve. The tracks run along the south side of a large pasture to the north and along a forested area (perhaps Sherwood Forest itself?) to the south.

BNSF 5168 West - BNSF 5168 (GE DASH 9-44CW), BNSF 7473 (GE ES44DC), and BNSF 7544 (GE ES44DC) are the lead units on this westbound intermodal approaching CP Chalendar in the early morning light.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

During a lull in traffic levels I went back to the camper and woke up Deb. I thought she would enjoy the area and the abundance of wildlife that was everywhere. After fixing us a couple of breakfast burritos she joined me outside and took photos of the frockling birds in the area while I continued to shoot the train traffic.

BNSF 7676 West - BNSF 7676 (GE ES44DC), BNSF 4065 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and BNSF 7680 (GE ES44DC) provide the power for a westbound doublestack consist seen here approaching CP Chalendar on BNSF’s Seligman Subdivision in the early morning light in April 2011.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 7556 East - BNSF 7676 (GE ES44DC), BNSF 4065 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and BNSF 7680 (GE ES44DC) provide the power for a westbound doublestack consist seen here approaching CP Chalendar on BNSF’s Seligman Subdivision in the early morning light.
[4/21/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

I must have lost track of time, because once I did realize what time it was, I became a bit concerned. My hope was to reach the unknown, at least to me, region of the Seligman Subdivision, known as the Crookton Cut-Off by this point in the day. We were behind schedule already because of me messing up the event schedule of the Lowell Observatory and needing to take an extra day in the Flagstaff area to make sure Deb got to see the observatory.

As I packed up all of my gear I made the decision, in the interest of time, to forgoe another of my favorite locations in this area of the subdivision called Bootleggers Crossing. It is another very picturesque location, that is not too far away from Chalendar, featuring cool curves and plenty of long glass opportunites. I’ll make sure to visit it again next time though. 

Here is a shot of a train at Bootlegger Crossing from back in July of 2006: 

BNSF 4104 East - BNSF 4104 (GE DASH 9-44CW) leads three more units and an intermodal consist eastbound into a curve while meeting a westbound counterpart at Bootlegger Crossing, just east of Willaims Juntion on BNSF’s Seligman Subdivision.
[7/3/2006 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

In the next post I will cover our effort to reach the unknown and disclose the wonders we found there.

Saturday
Jul162011

Our Best Trip Ever - Part 8 - Flagstaff Area

(Continued from: Our Best Trip Ever - Part 7 - Chasing From Winslow to Flagstaff)

Day 4

Spacing Out and Getting Squirrelly

When I set out planning this trip I looked for activities that Deb would enjoy. Next to hanging out with me track side, shooting photographs of passing trains ad nauseam, one of her true passions is astronomy. Fortunately, Flagstaff is home to an historic and working observatory. That observatory, the Lowell Observatory, became one of the surprise side trips that I planned especially for Deb.

My plan called for surprising her by driving right up to the observatory proper and then cluing her in on we were about to do. Everything worked out okay until we got there. She was excited and looked forward to seeing all that the observatory had to offer. The problem was that I mixed my days up and the observatory was not offering night viewing through their telescopes the evening we arrived. Bummer.

Abert’s Squirrel (sciurus aberti)
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

All was not lost though because we already had a camp site at the Flagstaff KOA and we could just come back tomorrow evening to take the tours and look through some of the telescopes.

As detailed in the previous post, Our Best Trip Ever - Part 7 - Chasing From Winslow to Flagstaff, we instead headed down to the Flagstaff Depot in old town for a bit and then went to our camp site.

The next day, as we made preparations to leave our camp site, we were entertained by a hungry squirrel unlike any we have seen before. Typical in all other respects, what made this squirrel unique were the rather long and hairy ears on the squirrel. He was apparently a nervous eater and would take a nibble, then do a dance or roll, then jump back on the tree stump and eat some more only to repeat it all again. After consulting our trusty nature guide of the southwest, we learned the species of this type of squirrel — Abert’s Squirrel (sciurus aberti).

Out in Space

After a leisurely departure from the Flagstaff KOA, and our squirrel show, we headed to the observatory to take in some tours and exhibits. The road to the top of the hill where the observatory is situated affords visitors a spectacular view of Flagstaff from an overlook at a wide spot in the road. This spot was the guise under which I sold Deb that we needed to climb this hill.

I parked the rig and we got out to take it all in and fire off a panorama of what we saw: 

Mars Hill Overlook, Flagstaff, Arizona
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Flagstaff Depot From Mars Hill - A view of the old downtown area of Flagstaff, Arizona with the depot and a BNSF westbound intermodal train in the scene.
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Immediately opposite the overlook, on the road leading uphill, are two pillars on the side of the road which denote the entrance to the Lowell Observatory.

Once we had our fill of the view from the killer vantage point, we entered the Lowell Observatory grounds, once again.

This visit was the real deal and much more productive than yesterday’s failed attempt. 

We paid our fees and began to see some of the exhibits, at least until a school bus full of 5th or 6th graders arrived — or perhaps it was ten buses, weren’t not sure. The noise and clatter of semi-disinterested kids made further viewing of the exhibits impractical.

Fortunately, a docent was setting up a telescope outside the exhibit hall equipped with a filter to safely view the sun in all of its glowing glory. With extreme haste and determination, we made our way through the morass of misbehaving minors and got in line to see the sun like we have never seen it before. It was quite a cool sight, especially being able to make out a visible sun spot on the surface of the sun as well.

Next, we joined a guided tour describing the history, the present scientific work being performed, and the future of the observatory. I won’t go into the details of all what we learned, nor what the observatory has to offer each visitor, however, I will tell you that this is where Pluto was first discovered! Suffice it to say that I highly recommend a visit for anyone interested in historical places or history and/or space and science.

Weather permitting, the entrance fees also cover the opportunity to actually look through one of the observatory’s historic telescopes after dark. We took in all the exhibits and tours we could during our afternoon visit but we really wanted to look through the big scopes so we left to chase for bit around Flagstaff with plans to return at sunset. Upon our return, we were treated to a fantastic view of Saturn and some of her moons through the historic 24-inch Clark Telescope which was built in 1896! Way cool.

Lowell Observatory Polaroids
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Time-Out for Some Chasing

Since we had a few hours before sunset and no idea of where we were going to park the camper for the night I was able to convince Deb to leave the observatory for a bit and try to find a spot to spend the night once we finished our night viewing. We headed west on I-40 in the hopes of finding something suitable. I really wasn’t up for another night at Walmart!

I wanted to find something that was close to the tracks in hopes of catching a sunrise near the Arizona continental divide just west of Flagstaff, near Riordan. Driving through the target area I did not find something that seemed like it would work for us. We continued west.

Passing through the area at Bellemont, Arizona, we were taken by the scenic opportunities that the area provided. I bounced off at the Bellemont Army Depot exit and worked my way towards the tracks. The area was cool with stands of Ponderosa Pines and we spent about 30 minutes track side and didn’t see a single train. However, the area showed some signs of misuse (beer bottles and trash) which led me to rule it out as a possible camping location.

The track of our fourth day on the Seligman Sub. The black camera icons indicate the locations that I shot.

I recalled a trip we made to Canyon Diablo back in August of 2010. During that trip we stopped at a nearby location called Maine and I wanted to try shooting some shots there again. I made my mind up that we would leverage a local truck stop at Bellemont for some overnight rest and head to Maine for the morning sun.

With my concerned of a camping location taken care of, and as we made our way back towards Flagstaff, I followed the tracks best I could and we were able catch a few trains tackling the grade. We also returned to a location that I had shot in the past to see what might have changed. Here are a few photos from those efforts:

BNSF 7201 West - BNSF 7201 (GE ES44DC), BNSF 4234 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and BNSF 6672 (GE ES44C4) lead a westbound manifest upgrade out of Flagstaff, Arizona on BNSF’s transcon in April 2011.
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 8214 West 1 - A rare EMD SD75M, in the form of BNSF 8214, leads an interesting lashup of motive power to include BNSF 7696 (GE ES44DC), BNSF 5354 (GE DASH 9-44CW), BNSF 1087 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and BNSF 2333 (EMD GP38-2) on the point of a westbound manifest moving through Flagstaff, Arizona on April 20, 2011.
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 8214 West 2
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 8214 West 3
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 8214 West 4
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 8214 West 5
[4/20/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

As described previously in this post, we returned to the Lowell Observatory and were able to view Saturn through an amazing telescope from the 1890s. After the long day, and after the sun had long ago set, we headed west for the predetermined rest spot of the truck stop at Bellemont. Time for a quick bite and then off to bed because I think the altitude was getting to us both and I was scheduled to be up to shoot the sunrise, which will be the subject of our next post.

Saturday
Jul092011

Our Best Trip Ever - Part 7 - Chasing From Winslow to Flagstaff

(Continued from: Our Best Trip Ever - Part 6 - More Chasing at the La Posada Hotel)

Day 3

On The Road Again

It had been a glorious two days hanging out at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona but it was time to leave. In part because our reservations expired and, equally important, because we came to see BNSF’s Seligman Subdivision. The last two days were the perfect starter course for this vacation and we now felt calm and relaxed — ready to enjoy what laid ahead.

After sleeping in for a bit, Deb and I reluctantly packed our belongings and checked out of the hotel. She still wanted to take one last walk around and throughout the hotel so I left her there, to say her “goodbyes,” while I went and prepared the truck for departure. I loaded our gear and headed off to get gas and propane along with some munchies.


SONIC® Drive-In’s Footlong Quarter Pound Coney - MMMMmmm great!As I headed towards the Winslow “Flying J Travel Center” I saw a SONIC® Drive-In and I thought that sounded good so I stopped in. I ordered Deb her usual and I grabbed two of their Footlong Quarter Pound Coney chili dogs, one for now and one for later in the “woods.” Definitely not the healthiest of foods — but hey, we’re on vacation!

After an uneventful refueling of the truck and refilling of the propane tanks, which is always a good thing, I headed back to the La Posada Hotel to grab Deb and head out.

Upon my arrival she was taking some photos of the hotel so I woofed down the dog and then proceeded to set-up my radios and computer to track our quarry. Shortly thereafter, we were on the road again!

I knew this leg of our journey was going to end at Flagstaff by day’s end because I had secretly planned to make a side-trip for Deb’s sake in Flagstaff. Consequently, we set out on a leisurely pace heading west on Interstate 40. I kept an watchful eye on the computer display for any indication of nearby traffic. 

The track of our third day on the Seligman Sub. The black camera icons indicate the locations that I shot.

In Search of Sunshine

There was no train traffic to speak of as we headed west until we approached the area near Red Gap Ranch Road. Judging from what we could see from the freeway and on the computer, there were a few trains transiting the area. Ideally we would have raced to Canyon Diablo, the area’s preeminent photo location on the BNSF, and took shots there, but not this time. If you recall from a previous trip I took there, recounted in this post, the road to Canyon Diablo is much like the canyon itself — a devil. No way we were going to chance it on this trip and we certainly weren’t going to get there in time to catch these trains. So I looked for a potentially easier way in which to reach the rails. I found what looked like an ideal location off of the Meteor Crater Road exit.

Taking the exit, making a right turn, and not seeing any signs that indicated the area was private property, we found that the paved road gave way to a decent dirt road. So far, so good. The GPS indicated that the road we were on should take us up to the railroad’s right-of-way sans issue. What the GPS did not show, however, was the vast number of cattle that sauntered, lounged, and swarmed all over the range land. Deb and I, far from being classified as cattle-savvy people, quickly began to evaluate each near-miss or approaching cow/steer for trouble. I feared, perhaps unnecessarily, that a perturbed bovine might charge us or our truck. Over time I realized that the cattle appeared to be harmless and it became humorous and it certainly didn’t deter us from getting track side.

It turns out that our destination, unbeknown to us at the time, was a railroad location called, aptly, Sunshine, Arizona. Taking artistic license, I created the following piece, which portrays an imagined, old western flash card of a “moo cow” nailed to the side of a barn, from a photo Deb took of a steer watching a passing train, to commerate our experience getting in and out of Sunshine, Arizona:

Moo Cow
(moous cowus yumus)

[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Debra Parra, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

It turned out that our timing was impeccable because we set-up in time to catch about six trains back-to-back in a span of about 30 minutes or so. In two cases, two trains met right near us as seen in the following works:

BNSF 5256 East - BNSF 5256 (GE DASH 9-44CW) and BNSF 1069 (GE DASH 9-44CW) are on the point of this eastbound manifest as she passes the siding at Sunshine, Arizona.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.
Manifest Meet at Sunshine - BNSF 5256 (GE DASH 9-44CW) and BNSF 1069 (GE DASH 9-44CW) hold the point of this eastbound manifest as she meets a westbound counterpart with Warbonnet-schemed BNSF 752 (GE DASH 9-44CW) leading BNSF 5731 (GE ES44AC), BNSF 4884 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and NS 9588 (GE DASH 9-40CW) at Sunshine, Arizona.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 752 West at Sunshine 2 - A westbound manifest train, with Warbonnet-schemed BNSF 752 (GE DASH 9-44CW) leading BNSF 5731 (GE ES44AC), BNSF 4884 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and NS 9588 (GE DASH 9-40CW), strains against the grade at Sunshine, Arizona.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

We were fortunate, at least in my eyes, to catch the preceeding mainifest train, struggling hard against the grade, with an ex-ATSF (Santa Fe) painted unit on the point. Another nice rarity feature about this train was the fact that on the rear of the freight consist was six former American Orient Express passenger cars heading to the Grand Canyon Railway (GCRX) in Williams, Arizona. I don’t know if the cars were sold to the GCRX or if they were going there to have some work done in the GCRX shops. Maybe one of you know and can let us all know:

[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

More good fortune for us came as we were leaving Sunshine and approaching the freeway. I turned to look back and saw a third train meet in the making. I jumped out and shot this scene. As it unfolded before me I found myself thinking about what this scene would have looked like back in the late 1800s as the trains streaked across the desert. As such, I crafted this piece:

Fast Freight for Shippers.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

We Didn’t Forget Winona

After bidding our farewells to the cattle and trains, we headed west once again on I-40 towards Flagstaff. In this area the tracks of BNSF’s Seligman Subdivision parallel the freeway, as the photo below shows. I could see that we would be passing a train shortly, and despite the high midday sun, I decided to take the Townsend Winona Road exit ahead of the train, once again, and shoot this train as well since the exit afforded an easy-off and easy-on access to the freeway.

Our luck continued as a previously unseen eastbound was also approaching West Darling at the same time our westbound train passed us. Another meet. Here’s part of the sequence I shot:

Meet at West Darling - Sequence
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 7355 East at Winona - After meeting a westbound stack train at the switch at West Darling, BNSF 7355 (GE ES44DC) leads an all GEVO set with BNSF 7418 (GE ES44DC), BNSF 7913 (GE ES44DC), BNSF 7882 (GE ES44DC), and BNSF 7367 (GE ES44DC), on the point of an eastbound stack train approaching the underpass at Townsend Winona Road.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Shapely Curves

When initially scouting possible locations for this trip using the planning maps I made and Google Maps, one of the locations I was intrigued by is an area known as Cosnino, Arizona. After studying the maps I got the sense that this spot might afford me an opportunity to shoot a nice shot on a curve with a mountain as the backdrop. This location was one my list of places to stop and it was next up.

While driving there, and as I thought about the shot, I remembered the Warbonnet train we shot at Sunshine. If I hurried we might be able to catch that train at Cosnino Road. I mashed the accelerator pedal and got my rig doing a pretty good clip.

Using the GPS as the guide, we reached Cosnino Road in short order and I turned right onto a dirt road that headed east along the south side of the tracks. Immediately thereafter we came upon a BNSF worker in a company pick-up truck. I pulled to the side of the road to give him clearance to get by. My hope was that he wasn’t going to give us grief — and fortunately we just exchanged waves and nods and continued on our separate ways.

I reached the curve and fortunately the area was wide enough for me to park the truck on the side of the road, which I did. I assembled my tripod and camera gear and waited. We had waited some twenty minutes or so before I heard the distinctive rhythmic sound of an approaching train. As the train came into view I was thrilled to see the Warbonnet on the point:

BNSF 752 West at North Cosnino Road 1 - A westbound manifest train, with Warbonnet-schemed BNSF 752 (GE DASH 9-44CW) leading BNSF 5731 (GE ES44AC), BNSF 4884 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and NS 9588 (GE DASH 9-40CW), strains against the grade and curvature near Cosnino, Arizona.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.
BNSF 752 West at North Cosnino Road 2 - A westbound manifest train, with Warbonnet-schemed BNSF 752 (GE DASH 9-44CW) leading BNSF 5731 (GE ES44AC), BNSF 4884 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and NS 9588 (GE DASH 9-40CW), strains against the grade and curvature near Cosnino, Arizona.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

BNSF 752 West at North Cosnino Road 3 - A westbound manifest train, with Warbonnet-schemed BNSF 752 (GE DASH 9-44CW) leading BNSF 5731 (GE ES44AC), BNSF 4884 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and NS 9588 (GE DASH 9-40CW), strains against the grade and curvature near Cosnino, Arizona.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.
BNSF 752 West at North Cosnino Road 4 - A westbound manifest train, with Warbonnet-schemed BNSF 752 (GE DASH 9-44CW) leading BNSF 5731 (GE ES44AC), BNSF 4884 (GE DASH 9-44CW), and NS 9588 (GE DASH 9-40CW), strains against the grade and curvature near Cosnino, Arizona.
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.co

Missed It By That Much

After the we caught the manifest train at Cosnino, Arizona, I began to worry about the time. I had planned something special for Deb and needed to get to Flagstaff soon. We packed up our gear and got back on our trusty road, I-40.

As we approached, and throughout the drive through, Flagstaff, Arizona, it was hard not to stop to take photos as I saw plenty of trains and cool spots but I was on a mission for Deb. The first order of business was to secure a campground so we didn’t have to worry about it later and we did just that at the Flagstaff KOA.

Once that task was complete we headed to our secret destination stopping to replenish goods from a local supermarket along the way. Every now and again we would pass a roadside sign pointing the way to our destination and I would glance over at Deb to see if she noticed the sign and figured out what was up. Fortunately she was taking in the whole view and didn’t notice the signs specifically. Whew, my cover was not blown.

I will reveal the details and the location of of my secret side trip that I had planned for Deb in my next post. Suffice it to say that it was well received and appreciated — though I was off by one day. Since we weren’t going to do what I had planned today, we headed down to the depot to soak up the local happenings and become one with the Flagstaff — so to speak.

Here are the results of our time at the depot: 

Flagstaff Depot - Desktop
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Flagstaff Depot in HDR
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Flagstaff Depot Framed
[4/19/2011 - Seligman Subdivision] © Copyright 2011, Joe Perry, ChasingSteel.com.

Despite the fact that not a single train came by while we were at the depot, it was fun to chat with the Amtrak personnel that staffed the depot and take shots of the cool building itself. We would be doing our special event tomorrow evening so we headed back to the KOA campground to set-up the truck for the night, have some dinner, and check out the photos we took today on the Mac.

It had been a good chase.