Day 1, Flight out to Las Vegas, Tehachapi Loop

We got into Las Vegas 40 minutes early and this was great as we had close to 400 miles to go and close to 8 hrs of driving.

We enjoyed the oranges we bought in Three Rivers after driving through many miles of produce--oranges, lemons, pistachios etc.

We ate lunch in Baker, California at Jack in the Box

Dinner was at Serranos Mexican Restaurant. This was authentic Mexican food and it was across the street from the Comfort Inn. Very tasty and filling. We watched the cats playing as we ate outside.

We stayed at the Comfort Inn-Sequoia (In Three Rivers) which I did not realize would be the last of the good, IN ROOM, Internet access for the next 10 days until we stayed in Mammoth Lake, California.

The flight out

Great Sand Dunes National Monument near Alamosa, Colorado

Snow.... Near Madrid, Colorado

Ship Rock, New Mexico (El. 7,178)

Abajo Mountians west of Monticello, Utah

La Sal Mountains east of Moab, Utah. Over 100 miles away from the plane.

Henry Mountians. Probably some of the most desolate areas in the lower 48 !

Navajo Mountian. Then across the lake is Fifty Mile Mesa

Echo and Vermilion Cliffs south of Page Arizona (Lee's Ferry is near where the cliffs and river meet).

Grand Canyon views

Coming into Las Vegas with a view of Lake Meade

The 400 mile drive

Dollar Beer and Dog at the stateline casinos

Welcome to California from I-15 south

Heading West along CA58 north of Edwards Air Force Base

Windmills in Tehachapi Pass

Tehachapi Loop

The Tehachapi Loop is a .73 miles (1.17 km) long 'spiral', or helix, on the railroad main line through Tehachapi Pass, in south central California. The loop derives its name from the circuitous route it takes, in which the track passes over itself, a design which lessens the angle of the grade. A train more than 4,000 feet (1.2 km) long (about 85 boxcars) will thus pass over itself going around the loop.

The railroad line connects Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley to Mojave in the Antelope Valley. Hailed as one of the greatest engineering feats of its day (ca. 1876) as well as being the world's busiest single-track main, the line was built by Southern Pacific Railroad. Arthur De Wint Foote worked on it along with chief engineer William Hood.

It is now owned by Union Pacific. BNSF also uses the loop under a trackage rights agreement. The area is considered to be one of the prime railfan areas in the country with its combination of frequent train traffic and spectacular scenery. A railroad museum with many historical rail artifacts is located in the small nearby city of Tehachapi.

The location of the loop is known as Walong, named in honor of Southern Pacific District Roadmaster W. A. Long. The loop contains a siding, known as Walong Siding. It also contains a tunnel, known as Tunnel 9 because it was originally the ninth tunnel on the way from Bakersfield.

A large, white cross has been placed in the center of the loop, at the peak of the hill. Known as "The Cross at the Loop", it is in memory of two Southern Pacific Railroad employees who were killed in a train derailment on May 12, 1989 in San Bernardino, California.

East Bound BNSF train

Engines looping over the same train

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