Tag Archives: narrow gauge

rio chama rv park, cumbres and toltec narrow gauge railroad ~ chama, nm ~ october 3, 2011

www.theendlessroadtrip.com ~ day 3 of my year-long daily video journal. here, we find ourselves enjoying the many wonders that a (more…)

the cumbres and toltec tourist railway ~ chama to antonito, new mexico


for those of you who haven’t yet realized, tim loves trains. loves them. i’ve asked him lots of questions, trying to understand what it is about this particular mode of transportation that has so completely captured his imagination, but as far as i can tell, it’s something he was born with. there was no particular moment, no particular experience that ignited his love of trains, the fascination was simply always there.

i on the other hand, grew up feeling nothing for trains. an old depot or an abandoned spur line, in my opinion, held little to enthrall or delight. in fact, i think i would have been hard pressed to even identify an old depot or an abandoned spur line. a typical scene from the early days of our journey found tim wandering happily through some railyard or another while i sat in the truck playing scrabble on my ipod and waiting impatiently for the fever to break.

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i might not have shared his enthusiasm and his siblings might have made fun of him for it, but despite our nonstop ribbing and the very grudente (portuguese for sticky or clingy) label of train freak, tim’s love of all things railroad has remained unchanged. “it’s one of my happy places,” he says. “i’m not going to spend time apologizing for that.” to that i say good for him! for even if i didn’t fully understand or relate to this “happy place” of which he speaks, his love of trains has brought me to many remarkable places and provided me many unforgettable experiences. without his love of trains, i probably would never have been aboard the empire builder as it sped through the winter or watched julia and julia in the pacific parlor car while the full moon shone above. i would probably have never ridden the hiawatha rail trail or experienced this .

and that would have been a small tragedy, because the cumbres and toltec is an amazing and beautiful thing. pulled by a beautiful old steam engine, the train follows miles of narrow gauge track over mountains, along rivers, across bridges, and through tunnels. the winding, twisty passage crosses the colorado-new mexico border 11 times! and if that’s not enough joy, midway through the journey, the train stops in osier, co and passengers are provided with an all you can eat buffet made up of all your holiday favorites: turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, various vegetables, mashed potatoes, and of course, salad and dessert bars. a full day train ride through beautiful landscapes and punctuated by a sumptuous thanksgiving dinner? honestly, what could be better?

tim and i rode the cumbres and toltec in june of 2009. a few months short of a year later, in april 2010,we returned to chama on our way to see tim’s sister — and her now fiancee — in telluride, co. the trains weren’t running yet and the april light still held the chill of winter. the three of us wandered the quiet railyard retelling stories of our ride and examining various rail cars. as i stopped to take the umpteenth picture of the evening, i found myself wistfully suggesting another trip on the ol’ cumbres and toltec. tim looked at me, surprise written on his face. and with that, the truth was irrevocably revealed: the ranks of train freaks has grown by one. namely me.

so go ahead and make fun. tim’s a train freak, i’m a train freak and this pretty awesome dude is a train freak, and one day — maybe not today and maybe not this year — you’ll wake up and realize that you’re a train freak too. they’re just that cool.

Posted by Wordmobi