I just returned home from a great steam excursion from Portland, OR to Bend, OR and return, over two days. We, all 500 of us, stayed overnight in Bend on Saturday after the outbound segment, then returned Sunday. Paying passengers contributed to the 1472 day/15 year overhaul which 4449 will undergo in 2013. The last time I rode one of the Bend trips, I didn't really know the territory, and really goofed up my photo ops at Willow Creek trestle near Madras, OR. Not this time. The shots we got there made this whole trip worthwhile. It was called the Deschutes Special because after running east on the Fallbridge sub through the Columbia River Gorge to Wishram, WA, on the BNSF, it crossed the Columbia there and entered the old "Oregon Trunk" line which snakes along the Deschutes River to Bend and beyond. All in all it is a very scenic trip at any time of the year. This one was really enjoyable, mainly due to the great group of people who were together in the Plaza Santa Fe dome car, many of whom had never met each other, but the cameraderie was great. We shared a lot of rail stories and jokes. On the train were folks from New Zealand, Great Britain, Virginia, Maine, Canada and other places. The '49 just seems to draw the railfans, and did again, as there were an army of chasers and pacers. Here is one of my shots on the Willow Creek trestle.
- 4449, Willow Creek trestle, October 2012