Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

The Road from SMOFCon, Day 6: Trains Sold Out

Not being able to use hotel carts meant that it took three loads to get our stuff down out of the Palazzo hotel room to the van; however, Lisa's parking-fu last night scored us a spot very close to the elevators, so we minimized delays there, and we were able to use video check-out to save another trip to the front desk. We were on the move about half an hour later than planned; however, traffic was light and we made good time going the "wrong way" back down to Boulder City to the Nevada Southern Railway Museum.

Eureka

On display and steaming at the museum was the "celebrity" steam locomotive Eureka, which once ran in Northern Nevada on the Eureka & Palisade Railroad.

UP 844 (But Not THAT 844)

Pulling the museum's excursion train was ex-Union Pacific 844 — of course, not that 844, but the diesel locomotive that obliged UP to renumber the steamer to 8444 until the diesel unit was retired. There's no danger of this diesel unit causing confusion on the main line, as the Nevada Southern's tracks are now physically severed from the national network, as they are paved over at the US-93/95 grade crossing at Railroad Pass.

Unfortunately for us, because of high demand for the NSRY's "Santa Trains," the 10 AM and 11 AM excursions were sold out, and we weren't prepared to wait two hours for the first open train.

Jackass & Western

We did spend about 45 minutes looking around the museum exhibits, including this locomotive used on the Nevada Test Site's Jackass & Western nuclear-rocket-development program, about which I wrote on Thursday. We did not know the NSRM had the J&W unit, but it made for a nice bookend on our visit.

Nevada Southern Live Steamers

On the museum's lower lot is an extensive 7 1/2-inch gauge live-steamer railroad.

Eureka on the Move

I recorded Eureka backing down the short length of demonstration track (no, this video is not running backwards), and then we got out of the bitterly cold wind and headed north again.

More photos are in my Nevada Southern album on Flickr.

We're a little disappointed at missing the train ride, but we'll try again someday. Upon some thought, we realized that if we'd come all the way to Las Vegas on Day 1 of this trip (instead of stopping at Tonopah), we probably could have caught the first train of the day on the Saturday, then continued on to Arizona. Maybe we'll make a trip to Las Vegas just to ride trains some day.

Although we weren't able to ride the trains today, we did stop at the Railroad Pass Casino and have brunch. We concluded that this turned out to be the best price-value buffet of the trip. They had a better omelet bar (including crab and shrimp) and better hash browns (almost as good as Waffle House), for a better price than the fancier places at which we dined earlier in our stay. Oh, and as we were leaving, we saw the NSRM train pulling in as the first half of the next hour's excursion. It's a shame that they can't figure out a way to make it possible to start your trip from either end of the line, possibly riding down to the Casino, spending an hour or two there, then riding back to Boulder City.

Although our original schedule was toast, that was not a problem, inasmuch as today's trip was the relatively short Las Vegas (revised to Boulder City) to Tonopah, only 235 miles according to Google Maps.

The Road to Mercury

North of Indian Springs, the freeway ends just past the exit for Mercury, the current road to the Nevada Test Site. However, just north of there is the older road to the site.

Nevada Test Site Sign

However, this is about as close as you can get to the site. The actual test sites are on the other side of those mountains in the distance.

Lisa drove all day today, as she has all the way from Albuquerque, and I'm grateful for it, as I haven't really felt very alert most of the day. But even Lisa was showing the wear of fifteen days on the road, and we were really happy to pull in to the Tonopah Station Hotel about 4 1/2 hours after we left Boulder City.

Although our room here at the Tonopah Station is an ordinary room, we did get a sort-of upgrade: they gave us one of the three standard (non-handicapped-configured) rooms in the hotel for which you do not need to negotiate stairs. This allowed us to use their luggage cart without having to haul bags up a flight or two of steps.

Tomorrow is the final day of the trip. We like to travel, but we're going to be glad to be home.
Tags: hotels, lisa, nevada, trains, travel
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