US Roadtrip 2017 - 7: Caesars don't go out of Fashion (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Wild West 2017 - 6: High Noon at Hiline Junction (50 p.)

The video for this series (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):


Multimedia slideshow:

February 19 2017

ALCo-diesels RS-3 #109 (built 1950) and RS-2 #105 (1945) hauled the steam wrecking crane from 1907.

This old Chevy is no vehicle anymore - it has been creatively converted into a gate post.

At the railroad grade crossing next to the ore loading ramps.

I made the acquaintance of Andrew Ward on this trip - he sent me two of his images from later that afternoon, with friendly permission:

The steam train behind already known Tunnel 1:

Both trains at the end of the Keystone Line near Ruth:

My good-bye-picture of the 107-year-old #40, then we finally had to move on.

We drove U.S. Route 50 south, also known as "The Loneliest Road in America", on this section it is joined by Routes 6 and 93. Only a few miles behind Ely we left Steptoe Valley...

... and ascended one of the highest points of the journey, Connors Pass. We were lucky with the weather that Sunday, only shortly before snow chains had been required on this pass.

You cross part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, scattered into several areas around Nevada and California.

At Majors Place we left the other highways and took Route 93 south towards Pioche.

Birds in this empty landscape - we even saw an eagle right in front of the car, but it was too quick to take a picture of.

We passed rain clouds and the town of Pioche, soon afterwards we took a short side road to Miller Point - part of the Cathedral Gorge State Park near Panaca.

A little about its formation can be learnt here:

The sun still did not show, but I had a gut feeling this might change shortly before sunset. So, we drove quickly back to the 93, down to Panaca and onto the official park road which leads to the valley floor. And really - it showed!

In last evening light, we reached Panaca, founded by Mormons in 1864. Until borders were redrawn in 1866, this had been part of Utah.

Before we moved into the opposite, we spent one more night in a quaint B&B, "Pine Tree Inn and Bakery". I had to call a number shown next to the door, the landlady came by soon. We had booked a room inside the house for a night, but a private log cabin in the garden also would have been on offer. Only disappointment: the "bakery" just produced cakes on order, no daily fresh bread.

February 20 2017

On a grey, drizzly morning the landlady's mother prepared tasty breakfast for us in the kitchen. She told us that next to the local supermarket they also sometimes drove 80 miles to Cedar City, UT, for shopping.
Before continuing our trip, we visited the well-stocked local market. I replenished my supply of meds against the cold - in the U.S. you can buy at gas stops for which back home in Austria you would need a doctor's prescription and a pharmacy - and we even found nice, freshly baked baguettes.

After only 15 miles you reach the next town - Caliente - its name is derived from hot springs in the vicinity. Sightseeing highlight was the Union Pacific depot from 1923 which had not served passenger traffic for a long time.

As promised in the first trip report, we had returned to the former Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad.
More about it:

Nowadays it is part of the UP Caliente subdivision. Actually, I had planned to drive a bit into Rainbow Canyon, but several obstacles presented themselves: First, the weather was far from ideal - did not matter. Then, I had to drive through standing water below the railroad bridge for the first time in my life - this was also managed easily. However, finally, two insurmountable obstacles: State Road 317 had been closed after two miles - at the entrance Kershaw-Ryan State Park - due to road work, and the outlook to catch any trains was more than slim. As we did not see any sign of approaching traffic at all, we drove on - still much to do that day.

Route 93 turned mountainous again - for a time fog became so dense, I could hardly make out the rear lights of the truck in front of us.

At Crystal Springs, we shortly took a break at the junction of "Extraterrestrial Highway" 375 to (supposed) Area 51, then we continued through slightly more densely populated areas past Alamo as well as Upper and Lower Pahranagat Lake.

With ever changing views of "cake layered" mountains better weather came into sight. We approached Interstate 15 coming from Salt Lake City, but took parallel Highway 91 instead - even if it does not look like it, this already is Las Vegas Boulevard. At Arrolime we saw cars, but no engines, then passed Apex. I had scouted a spot featuring a tele lens-view of Las Vegas behind the rails, but somehow it seemed to be inaccessible due to construction work. The wind was too strong and cold to endure here for long anyway, so we drove on.

The first photo of the skyline from the Interstate.

We actually met a UP-freight in the city - to keep up the quota of one standard-gauge-train per day on this trip.
It is telling, if the strangest encounter that day are not the aliens but a golden UFO a certain gentleman in power has planted into a major city.
Additionally, there was the shock of travelling from one of the emptiest roads in the U.S. to a busy multi-lane city freeway within hours.

Along the arterial road ONLY law ads could be spotted (to the left a Hispanic Jon Snow? ;-)). Just in front of the golden tower something very fitting.

In case it's too much to endure... why not get an infusion, even at your hotel room?

For a change, I wanted to stay at a large hotel in Las Vegas once during this journey - well, here at the MGM Grand we have arrived to the third largest in the world...

This is no multipurpose hall - just the hotel lobby. The rooms are accessed to the left - as everywhere in Vegas past the casino. At least we already discovered a shortcut on the first excursion from our room, a "Westwing King".

The entrance, view towards "Luxor" at the other side of the strip.

I also had chosen this hotel due its vicinity to the longest Las Vegas monorail line, this is a terminal. There are other shorter lines connecting hotels.
More about it:

The train continued without passengers to the reversing point next to the MGM Grand garage, where we had parked our vehicle.

You must walk to each station through a hotel - that's probably how the line was financed. Tickets can be purchased at machines in front of barriers accessing the platform.
At the other side of East Tropicana Avenue you can find Hooters Hotel - known for its owls - , in the background McCarran International Airport.

Shortly afterwards the train returned to pick us up, from the backdrop you can recognize that Las Vegas is just an artificial oasis in a very arid landscape.

After a bumpy ride, we got off at "Flamingo & Caesars Palace" station, "Venice" in the background.

Next to it 550 ft tall "High Roller", the largest Ferris wheel in the world, opened in 2014.

Train meeting - to the right you can see that platform edges are blocked by single doors.

Past the at this time of year still empty pool area - during this warmest part of our trip it had up to 65 degrees - we entered the Flamingo Hotel tropical garden. Several bird species are kept there - of course including real flamingos.

We fought our way through the casino to get to the sidewalk of the boulevard. On the other side Caesars Palace, accessible via pedestrian bridge assisted by escalators.

Augustus looking down from the clouds onto the glitzy world of today's Caesars - or is it just a mirage?

A proper Hindu shrine of the four-faced Brahma in front of a fake, but relatively realistic replica of a Roman Temple - only at one place in this world! ;-)

Caesars Palace had been opened in 1966 as forefather of all themed hotels, then nothing followed for a while until the others we nowadays know were built.

Like for example...

A view of the almost 12,000 ft high Spring Mountains shows that this artificial world has been constructed close to the elements.

Shopping is possible for every taste and wallet.

Subsequently, we searched for the exit of the Bellagio casino - and found it right in time...

We will continue with a varied program - and return to the big railroad! :)
Your pictures are just superb. It is also interesting to see parts of the US from the vantage point of someone who is not from here. I am used to the long lonely roads having driven Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska. Beautiful in their own way, I think. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.