ARM Trip Report

Bringing home the VISTA CANYON Feb. 19, 2006

Well the Vista Canyon was finished with its 10 year inspection and it was time to come home. I saw the E-mail about the inexpensive trip showed it to my wife and since she always wanted to see San Antonio, we made the arrangements. I also got my parents to join the fun. And FUN it was. Especially for this overgrown kid.
Bart, Jane, Syd, Dave and Janet were already on the Vista Canyon when we arrived at the airport Thursday. Should have gone Amtrak. Cheaper. Live and learn. Bart gave me the address to the shop where the Vista Canyon was and the taxi driver got lost. We finally arrived after I read a map and helped the taxi driver find Hal's shop. Lucky for us Dave and Janet needed a taxi because the driver was asking us how to get back! A lovely day in the low 80's. Spent the afternoon getting to know the car and I went nuts checking out the shop. I heard they could see the glow of happiness and excitement in my face. Took over 330 pictures during the trip. Thank goodness for digital cameras! And no they are not all here.

My parents John & Betty with my wife Fran getting comfy.

An old Pullman being restored at Hal's shop.

Another one of Hal's project a bay side caboose for the Trinity & Brazos Valley Railroad.

Our sister car the Vista Valley only a shell ready for restoration.

After we were transferred to track 3 at the San Antonio Amtrak Depot, we took in some of the sites in the area. We happened to get set next to the Warren R. Henry and Evelyn Henry. A couple of very nice private cars. After dinner we chatted and waited for Russ and Jerry to arrive on the Sunset Limited which, suprise suprise, was late. They made it about 11PM. After some introductions and conversation it was time to try out the beds. It was a pleasant suprise to find out how comfortable the beds were. Got a very good night sleep. Did not ever hear any freight trains that rumbled past though out the night.

The next morning brought the excitement of checking out the San Antonio River Walk. This was tempered by the change of weather. From a sunny 80 degrees came a cloudy, windy, cold 50 degrees with rain later. My family, Jerry and I all went to tour the River Walk. While the weather could have been better we all enjoyed touring the city. Later John, Jerry and I checked out the Alamo. San Antonio does have a very good bus/trolley system. A $3 all day pass is a good investment.

The Vista Canyon with the Alamo Dome in the background.

The Vista Dome, Warren K. Henry and Sleeper, Evelyn Warren.

Ever wonder how they cleaned the dome?

Unique ladder attachment.

My dad John and I pose for a picture.

The original San Antonio train station.

The inside of the old station was kept as it was. Stunning.

The original stain glass window is also still there.

Another nice site was the old San Antonio train station. Now called the Sunset Station, it hosts a Mexican restaurant and hall that can be rented for a number of events. It was a real plus that the new owners saw the value of keeping the station as original as possible. Really gives is a charm all its own.

Saturday morning rolled around and it was time to head home. Left San Antonio on train #2. Being a rookie I did not realize the amount of swaying we would do. Took a bit to get my train legs. For me a lot of the fun was standing in the vestibule waving at motorist. We arrived in El Paso on time. We got several people asking about the car. Bart showed a few people the car and the Amtrak crew let me and Fran look at their sleeper. As we left El Paso Jane, Janet and Syd had our evening diner all ready for us. They made up a very tasty meal to say the least.

Me taking a picture of Dave taking a picture.

Nothing better than a beer while riding the rails.

Ever working. Bart looking for a squeak that developed during the trip.

The Vista Canyon back home in Arizona.

That was our trip. We all had a lot of fun. I know that Fran and I will be doing another trip soon. If you have not had a chance to go on one of these trips yet, don't wait. Your missing out on a great vacation get away.

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