Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad?

We read about this on the web and thought it sounded so great. Do you see the name? It says "Mt. Rainer Scenic Railroad." Now wouldn't you think that meant they took you around the mountain? First of all we were towed up a ways by this deasle, deasil, deasal (? how do you spell it?) engine. So, we thought okay, I guess it's a fake steam engine. But alas, soon came our little steam engine puffing up behind and hooked on the other end and brought us down the track.

This was our first.... and last view of the mountain. Everybody was wondering why we were riding away from the mountain. Soon we found out that they build this nice new depot in Elbe and had the route to go around the mountain, and section of the tracks washed out and it was closed! I was pretty bummed at first.

It was pretty fun though, just to have the experience of riding a steam train. The sound effects were quite something. The clinkity clink of the tracks and the breaks screaching, the puff puff chuga lug of the steam engine and of course the horn. Our fireman was quite artistic with his whistle.

We got only a mile or so down the tracks when they stopped and someone met them along side the road and they got out and were looking under the train and we were all wondering what was wrong. Finally we got rolling again and a porter came back to our car and I asked what it was. He said it was the toilet. I could have told them that before we ever left. There was no water and I just thought they were waiting until we got rolling for it.

We were in the open car. It was once just like the rest of 1920's era cars that were last used in San Francisco as a commuter train. They just cut the top of of this one (made it a convertible). I can't see doing it any other way. It was a beautiful day and so nice just to feel the fresh air after being in the city every stinkin day.
We got a little further up the road and we stopped again. Now we see the engine being unhooked and leaving us behind!

Okay, here it comes back again.... and passed us by. But eventually he did come back and hook up again and pushed us up the hill to the next scenic highlight. Yes, the first one was leaving Rainier behind.

Scenic tressle

Then it was back to the station. We did get to climb aboard the engine of this 1929 American Locomotive Company engine and I'll post more about that later. We ended our day by stopping to see some dear friends that live in Mineral, just a few minutes from the loading station. I was going to call them on the cell until I had my "duh" moment, realizing there are no cell towers in the mountains.

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