Friday, September 20, 2019

Steam Train on the Cumbres and Toltec Line

Today we went on another trip ride--the Cumbres and Toltec train.  We took the train from Chama to Osier, where we had lunch, then back to Chama.  Here we are in front of the train in Osier.

This is our train.

The interior of the old coach passenger car--before any passengers took their seats.

The train was pulled uphill by a double header--2 engines and tenders to pull all the passengers uphill.

Lots to green forest, rather than the burned trees we saw on the train over LaVeta Pass.

At Osier we were served lunch.  We both had meatloaf.  The other entree choice was turkey.

Anyone who really appreciates steam trains wants to stand out on the open platforms at the end of each car.  John is one of those people.  On our trip downhill to Chama from Osier, he watched the tender being filled with water.  The man doing the filling was really disgusted when the automatic shutoff that should stop the water flow when the tank is full didn't work.  The top of the tender was covered with water.

There are mountains and lots of open fields along the route.

This is a view of double header.

We hoped to see some fall color in the aspen forests along the route. Unfortunately, the change had not really begun, just a little yellow so far.

Another view from the train.

Two pop-cars follow the train to put out any fires started by the cinders from the steam train.

We came to Cumbres Pass before lunch at Osier.  This is the restored station at the top of the pass.

Not all the trees along the route were green.  Here you can see a lot of beetle-kill conifer trees, a problem in the Colorado and New Mexico mountains, caused by the pine bark beetle.

This is a view of the water tank and building where we had our lunch at Osier.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Riding the Train to LaVeta

Monday we rode the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad out of Alamosa to LaVeta and over LaVeta pass.  We have been on this train several times in the past and always enjoy it.

We had first class tickets in a dome car so we had a good view of the surrounding area.

It may be September but we didn't see fall colors of yellow, orange and red.  Everything was black and white.  Last summer the Spring Creek Fire, which started near Fort Garland, burned over 100,000 acres between June 27 and September 10.  The scenery along our train route was mainly black and white.

There were distant views of the nearby mountain ranges.

But mainly, we saw the contrast of black and white in the burned-out forest.  The patterns were so sad, but also beautiful in their own right.

Just look at all these dead trees! So Sad

It is amazing where trees can grow.


There were numerous overturned grain cars along the route.  There have been several derailments on this stretch and often the cars are just pushed off the track and down the slope from the track.  Crews come in and salvage what parts they can.

More contrasts of black and white.

There were two stops for photo shoots.  Everyone who wanted to take pictures got off the train, which then backed up before driving by so we could take pictures.

One of the cars on the train was the owners' car.  It was at the rear of the train going up to LaVeta.  It gave us a view of what private rail cars were like during the last century.

We saw glass insulators on old electric poles.

This is the train station in LaVeta.  You can see we were190 miles, by rail, from  Denver.

We had one meal on the train, eggs benedict.  While we explored LaVeta, we bought sandwiches at the deli counter in Charlies, the LaVeta grocery store.  We ate them near the end of the trip serving as our dinner.

We have one more train ride scheduled this week, on the Cumbres and Toltec out of Chama, New Mexico.  Can you tell we are train buffs?  On Monday's trip we took nearly 200 photos during the day.  Wonder how many we will take on Thursday?

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Visits with Family and Friends

Our summer trips to Colorado always include visiting old friends--they are old, like us, but also people we have known for more than 50 years.

We drove to Longmont to see Betty and Larry.  John worked with Larry on the Boulder Police Department.  For several years we all lived in the same trailer park in Boulder.

We also met Dave and Kathy for lunch. I first met Kathy at Freshman Camp at the University of Colorado and for a couple of years we all lived in the same apartment house.

They attended our 50th wedding anniversary celebrations and we were at theirs.

We were delighted to attend the Boy Scout Court of Honor when our grandson received his Eagle Scout badge.

We traveled to Canon City for a visit before heading out.  We saw nephew Todd and brother-in-law John at John's home.

Then we were off to a restaurant to have lunch with John and his friend Nancy and John's brother Tim. 

We made a stop our our niece Megan's home and were also able  to see one of her children, Victoria.

When we leave this area, we never know how long it will be before we see these people again so we always try to make the most of our time here.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Enjoying Flowers and Tiny Trees

We love trees and flowers so a visit to the Denver Botanical Gardens Bonsai Bonanza was a no-brainer.  They offered lectures on how to train bonsai trees.  We weren't interested in that but we did enjoy looking at the trees on display.

This small bonsai fig tree is 30 years old.  Look at the trunk!

After enjoying the bonsai exhibit, we walked through the outside gardens.  The variety of flowers and leaves in God's creation is amazing.

We saw several booths set up by local camera shops.

No surprise when we looked at all the people with impressive (and expensive) cameras, taking pictures in the gardens.

There are beautiful ponds

And more flowers.

This are just two of numerous coleus plants.  The variegated leaves are so pretty.

The two of us took almost 200 photos. Obviously, this is only a small selection.