Day 15 was the day trip from Las Vegas Nevada to Ludlow California via Cima, Kelso and Amboy. The scenery was absolutely stunning, the heat was stifling. This is the heart of the Mojave Desert where yuccas, cactus, and other exotic plants and animals are abound.
We had lunch at Kelso and just as we were ready to give up on seeing anything on the rails, everything started going crazy. The gradient from Kelso to Cima is very steep and I managed to film the same train about 5 times.
We continued south to Amboy where we had a cold soda at Roys Cafe - a lot of history in this place and is very remote. The final drive took us past the Amboy Crater, which I was eyeing with envious eyes as we drove past. Everyone was hot and tired and just wanted to check in and crash.
Ludlow is a very remote town of 2 streets, about 6 houses, two service stations, a Dairy Queen, Cafe and Motel. The motel is administered from one of the gas stations, and the entire town is more or less owned by one person who has declared the area a dry zone - no alcohol. Anyone who knows me will realise that this wouldn't be a problem at all. On top of that, if you present your room key to the attendant at the gas station, you get endless free coffees or pops (coke, sprite etc.). The rooms in the motel are adequate, the water pressure could be referred to as "drip" but it's right on the the BNSF main line and the scenery is something else.
Trains were going through at about one every 20 minutes, averaged out, and there are plenty of locations to film from. A shame we struck another Monday work day and the wind was quite irritating. We ended up spending three nights here and still didn't cover all locations - the distances to drive are quite vast.
This blog then covers Day 15, Day 16 and Day 17, and includes a lot of filming around Ludlow, a trip to the Amboy Crater, a trip to Cadiz to see the interchange of the BNSF with the Arizona & California and their massive SD45 & SD45-2 locos, and a visit to the wye at Siberia.
The signal arm at Ludlow - seeing a green on the right is always a good sign.
A&C 4004 - a rebuilt SD40M-2, which was once an SP SD45
BNSF grinding up the hill at Ludlow
Sunset on the Cadiz Turn - a train from Barstow that meets at Cadiz with the Arizona & California where they swap trains. The A&C goes to Phoenix. The Cadiz turn is currently operated by five B40-8W locos in various paint schemes, including one in Warbonnet BNSF and one in Warbonnet Santa Fe, albeit very faded.
This is the real Mojave desert - dust covered rocks with sharp edges and scattered plant life.
The Amboy Crater and its associated lava field - last erupted about 500 years ago. It's a 3 hour climb to get to the top, I opted for the short 5 minute walk to the observation platform....
Four of us were lucky to witness a random meet at Bagdad.
Accelerating out of Amboy.
Passing through Ludlow