Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque!
Thu, 08/19/10 3:01 PM
Thursday June 11, 2009 When Johnny and I vacationed in the Four Corners area in 2005, one of the highlights was the ride we took on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which takes you through some of the prettiest parts of the Rocky Mountains. Hoping for a similar experience, we bought tickets for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. As usual, we arrived at the train station in Chama, which is in the very northern part of the state, way too early. Of course, that meant we could start in on our snacks for the day, which we picked up at Golden Crown Panaderia the day before. The biscochitos had a pleasant, mild anise flavor, the lemon empanadas were full of sweet lemon filling and we thought the apricot flautas tasted buttery, but could have used more apricot. Best of the lot was the excellent green chile bread. You could see the green chiles mixed right into the dough and it had a nice strong heat to it. You have all kinds of different options for the train ride and we took the option of riding a bus to the other station in Antonito, Colorado and riding the train back to Chama. We also made the decision to ride in the first class car. On the previous train ride, not every seat was next to the window and it was a constant fight to try and see everything, which really made it hard to take photos. Also, before we boarded, we asked the porter which side to sit on and she told us the left side would have much more scenery, which made a big difference. Here is our cabin, which you can see is nothing elegant. But, at least we had some room and they did bring us a constant parade of snacks, like these soft little muffins. As the train got rolling, I put on my I-Pod, drank cranberry juice and followed the train's progress on the map, as the scenery went by my window. This was going to be a good day! The scenery certainly started off pretty enough. But the further we got from civilization and headed deeper into the mountains, the better views we got. And of course, I had to get the obligatory shots of the engine from around a bend, plus the tracks behind us, since we were the last car. Part of the fun of something like this is the anticipation of what is waiting for you around the next bend. And the scenery just got progressively more beautiful. A few hours into the trip, we stopped for lunch. The train heading the opposite way was already there. There is a big dining hall up in the mountains, where they had a short cafeteria line set up for us. Lunch was turkey, dressing and all the fixings. Nothing gourmet, but for here, the food was fine. Somehow, Johnny and I got seperated and I ended up sitting with a family from Florida. By the time I found Johnny, he was eating cobbler and jello for dessert! The extra time we had here allowed me to get some photos, like this one of one of the engines. And I'm not sure what is happening here, but I do like the photo. Soon, it was time to reboard and you had to be careful to get on the correct train car or you would be headed right back where you started. Here is the other train, on it's way to Antonito, just before it slipped out of sight. Immediately after the lunch, the scenery got even better, with deeper valleys, lusher greenery and now plenty of rivers. This was the prettiest part of the trip and the photos don't do it justice. At one point, we came to a complete stop and this is something that they do at the same time on each trip. A guy on an ATV and his dog were there to greet us, just like they apparently do everyday. I love that the guy is pointing his dog to which way is the camera. What remained of the ride was still very scenic, but you could still see the signs of man and civilization creeping in. Our on board snacks ended with this slice of iced pound cake. This was a very enjoyable day away of the fast paced vacation we had been on so far and the scenery made the whole thing worth while. We would gladly do this again. I imagine if you go during different seasons, you would get completely different views. http://www.cumbrestoltec.com/ We got back in the car and drove to Santa Fe. Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 08/24/10 7:40 PM>