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

Entries in Chalendar (1)

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.