Saturday, September 24, 2016

All Aboard!!

This group, the Golden Spike, has that name for a reason.  We all love trains ... but mostly STEAM trains which we ride as often as possible.  Yesterday was one of those days.  This is the locomotive that pulls loads of tourists through the steep hills of Felton to Roaring Camp.  You've GOT to ride this one!
Designed and built by Ephraim Shay for his lumber company, this baby can pull more lumber up steeper grades than any other.  Sometimes slow on the 8-1/2 percent grade, she huffed and puffed herself and us, up to the top of Bear Mountain.
While the Senior Engineer gave a talk to the group, I of course wandered up to the cab to talk to the Fireman.   There's more handles and knobs than you can count.  It's much darker inside, so I lightened this image quite a bit in order to see everything.  
This is what got us up the mountain, Number 7 named Sonora of Roaring Camp.  I think they said she runs on fuel oil, but I was pretty busy talking to the Fireman, so don't quote me on that one.
As we ascended the mountain, the Engineer blew off steam constantly, making clouds in the forest.
Our huge group took up two full cars as we chugged out of the station through the big redwoods of Santa Cruz.  I heard there are three kinds of redwood trees ... Sequoias inland in California ... Coastal redwoods here in Santa Cruz and Dawn redwoods in China.  Least I think that's what I heard ... again, I was busy talking to the nice (and good looking) Fireman!!
We crossed this trestle where I hoped to get some pictures, but those darn trees kept getting in the way!!  Aren't they just gorgeous???  They smelled wonderful too ... except for the occasional whiff of hot locomotive oil.
Close to the top, we stopped, reversed backwards up an even steeper section, then went forward again, making a Z on the mountainside.  The train used to go around and over this huge trestle, but some idiot arsonist set fire to it.  All that remains are burned timbers.
Here's what remains of the old tracks going to Spring Canyon.  Every corner has a name the lumbermen gave that section of trees when they logged.  In the old days, they only took trees here and there.  Nowadays, they clear cut and replant.
In case you want your babies to go with you to the top of the mountain, they ARE allowed on the train.  There were several riding with us, including this beauty.  At the top of the mountain, you can get off the train and walk around some of the remaining redwoods before boarding for the return trip.
When we got back to the station, we gathered around the engine while the Engineer talked about the Sonora shay locomotive and where she came from.  Wow ... that's a LOT of people!!!  I think there were 40 in our group!!
From Roaring Camp, we crossed over to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park for a nice long walk through a couple thousand years of trees, but that's tomorrow's story!!  Right now, I'm going to help Miss Patty Chance set up breakfast for today.  

There were no major kitchen disasters yesterday, the casseroles came out absolutely perfect and tasty ... I didn't cut off any fingers ... and everyone was stuffed when they left.  Now THAT'S the kind of breakfast you need for a long day of train riding!!

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