US Roadtrip 2017 - 8: Waiting for Helpers at Route 66 (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
US Roadtrip 2017 - 7: Caesars don't go out of Fashion (50 p.)

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


Multimedia slideshow:

February 20 2017

We are in Las Vegas in front of Hotel Bellagio, which is supposed to be modelled after the landscape of Italian Lake Como...

Not happy with the wedding pictures?

"Arc de Triomphe" inside a "squareabout".

Next to "France" the Austrian contribution to the strip...

We walked - of course again through the hotel - to "Bally's & Paris" monorail station.

The train took us back to our MGM Grand Hotel.

We ate just a little, as the 200% surcharge for the location can be invested into a better meal elsewhere.

February 21 2017

At about 5 a.m. I did battle with a vending machine for a bottle of water, even a gambler passing by could not help me beat the automat.
The morning view from our room north along the Strip.

We took East Tropicana Avenue to the freeway, where we joined Route 93 again. In Boulder City the road passes through town, then this view of Lake Mead is reached. At a length of 105 miles it is the largest reservoir in the USA.

We left the highway towards Hoover Dam.

Like the second state of the trip, we also reached the third one on foot first. In Arizona, we also returned to Mountain Standard Time, with more human-friendly sunrise times.

Not too long ago there was much more traffic down below...

... as the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge we were on only had been completed in 2010:'Callaghan–Pat_Tillman_Memorial_Bridge

At the power plant, you can see railroad tracks and a gondola for a 150-ton cable crane used to replace heavy generator parts.

More info about the massive structure opened in 1935:

We drove to the dam past a security check... but if that got through - at least the owner does not have to worry about parking space. ;-)

View at dammed-up Colorado River inside Black Canyon, widening behind the corner to Lake Mead.

Due to a satnav-error we first tried to continue on the Arizona side, but this road is blocked, so we had to turn around and drive all the way back to join Route 93 again.

At a rest area, we enjoyed this view of the Colorado River in northwest Arizona.

However, trouble was brewing: until now fuel consumption was no issue, but then came the unscheduled detour, and we had to drive all the time against strong headwinds... it would not have been a problem in densely populated Europe, but here in the U.S. it's sometimes 80 miles or more to the next gas station. We passed one, but it seemed out of business, then the fuel warning came on more than 30 miles from Kingman. Finally, at the road junction to Dolan Springs it seemed like we had come across one - oh no, it was just being built!

Then - measured 3.5 miles from the first gas station in town - it was over, and I could only roll onto the luckily slightly paved shoulder, some parts of the road did not feature any at all. Thankfully - due to bad experience with rental cars, especially tires, on previous trips - I had taken a 24h emergency service and called the hotline. A nice lady answered, and after a sometimes surreal conversation including a question like: "Have you already passed Santa Claus?" (a place near Kingman), the towing truck was on its way.

Actually, I had planned to spend the afternoon in Kingman Canyon - but it would be the only time my usually reliable weather app was wrong on this trip. Looking outside I was not too mad about having to stay in the car.
After a little more than an hour I saw a truck turning behind us, from it emerged an older mechanic like from a storybook - glasses, longer hair, almost no teeth, full of typical American optimism: no problem, just a canister of gas will get you over the hill - you almost made it. Exactly the man you want to see in such a situation. After the uncomplicated solution, we said thanks and drove off to the next gas station.

In Kingman we left Route 93 which we had followed practically from Wendover and joined legendary Route 66 (nowadays just a state road). Also, the transcontinental BNSF mainline was reached. As you can see we did not miss much weather-wise.

We checked into the Best Western Plus King's Inn & Suites, a motel-like but nice hotel. A first look out of our room showed this:

I waited for helper engines on this eastbound train, but in vain - obviously, they are rare on this section. At least one self-propelled rail vehicle can be spotted in this picture.

We drove downtown for some shopping and dinner - and maybe more.

This was the southernmost point of the roundtrip, but even here snow was found on mountaintops. The depot had been built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) in 1907 in Spanish Colonial style and since a renovation in 2011 features a waiting room for passengers of the Amtrak "Southwest Chief" trains stopping here nightly and a (then closed) railroad museum.

I found historic pictures of Kingman at our hotel - Hoover Dam had originally been called "Boulder Dam" 1933 - 1947.

In this comparison the sign of Hotel Beale has been preserved, the hotel itself not.

Back home I had found a shot I wanted to take: I arrived at 5:25 p.m., then it rumbled inside the canyon, and at 5:31 the container train from California had appeared... that's called efficient railroad photography!

The leading BNSF Dash-9 4691 (GE C44-9W, built 4/2000) still wore the old logo (in use until 2005, the same as rebranding "Burlington Northern and Santa Fe" just to the abbreviation "BNSF").

Once more no helpers showed up - that way you can follow the double-stacked containers winding their way through suburban Kingman on one of two separately led mainline tracks.

Amtrak "Southwest Chief" Chicago - Los Angeles #3 and Los Angeles - Chicago #4 stop here at 12:46 a.m. / 2:28 a.m. Of course I checked the practical Amtrak-App, but there were hardly any delays, so no chance to see it by day. The train emerged from legendary ATSF "Super Chief" which took the same line, mostly parallel to Route 66.

Having caught a train, you can enjoy some hospitality - although this wall sent mixed signals...
Kingman had been founded in 1882 as a railroad settlement.

After enjoying some pork from the 24hr-barbecue pit we drove back to the accommodation.

February 22 2017

Sleepy motel morning - at Best Western once more including breakfast buffet.

Route 66 motel sunrise.

Before the photo morning could start, we shortly visited a bank trying to change Euros as an experiment. Immediately the whole staff was called in because most never had changed money before. A second ID was asked, also a social security number... although I am not sure the Austrian general health insurance card was of much help (sorry if that pours salt into open wounds ;-)).

I stayed outside - a train east was rolling by... and finally with helpers!

The spontaneous old town scene.

We took narrow Old Trails Road into Kingman Canyon and immediately encountered another eastbound train. The patterns in the sky are real, no image errors.

We parked at the old ATSF-bridge. A cloud layer still persisted above the mountains, but would pose no problem. People had camped here overnight and stayed the only persons we met in the canyon.

This is the leisure activity out here, as many empty shells confirm.

In the shade, I walked uphill across some rocks.

However, the sun soon rose above the hill.

The "third hand" explored the rock formations at the bridge.

Ten minutes after reaching my spot the next container train from California appeared, Route 66 can be spotted behind the engines.

The train was hauled by BNSF 7579 (GE ES44DC), 4241 (ES44C4), 7604 and 7231 (both ES44DC)

Of course, once more no helper engines - so I waited for the first westbound freight, nothing had come into this direction since dawn at breakfast...


Locomotive Engineer!!!
Nice pictures and commentary. My wife andI were in the area a year ago. Spent time at the canyon and some minor pictures along 66. Wish I had more time but poker was scheduled with the WSOP series. Won lots of money on table games. Paid off car! 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.