|Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700 and Southern Pacific 4449; Cape Horn, Washington|
The date was July 6, 2005. I had put together the night photo session for the Portland Convention and the Convention committee had offered me a parlor car ticket for the ride to Wishram for helping them out. I decided that a relaxing day riding a parlor car would be a nice alternative to chasing the train for once, and decided to do that. That is, until it was announced that the 4449 would be sharing the head-end duties with Spokane, Portland & Seattle No. 700 and the 700 would be leading the eastbound trip. The route along the Columbia is ex-SP&S and it has long been my goal to get the 700 on its old home rails popping out of the classic tunnel at Cape Horn. So, I gave away my parlor car seat and drove to Cape Horn to get a shot I had long yearned for.
The day was misty, not uncommon for the west end of the Columbia River Gorge. Nonetheless, 700 made a fine sight as it emerged from the rocky tunnel (above). Knowing that I had a long walk out of Cape Horn and the highway would be clogged with chasers, I decided to meander towards Wishram; if I caught the train that would be fine -- but if I didn't, that would be okay, too.
(Okay, that's not entirely true. I got behind some slow old driver and decided that, chasing or not, I had to get past her. Just as I passed, a Washington state trooper appeared from the other direction, whipped around, put on his lights and stopped me. The trooper listed everything that I had done wrong -- a little speeding, wet road, etc., etc. Anticipating a fairly hefty ticket by the time he finished his speech, he concluded with, "I'm going to have to give you a warning." Well, if you have to give me a warning, I guess that's okay....)
I crossed from Washington into Oregon to take advantage of the interstate highway on the south side of the river, and as I neared The Dalles, Oregon, I caught and overtook the train. Suddenly I was in "chase mode" and cranked up the speed on the car -- I needed to get across the river to get a shot of the train from the highway bridge. As I crossed the Columbia I could see the train down river rapidly closing in. Fortunately, there is a large gravel parking area at the north end of the bridge, and I was able to park in a cloud of dust, grab the camera and run back onto the bridge and get the shot. Whew!
At Wishram I went over to the 4449 and was immediately invited into the cab by engineer Doyle McCormack. As it turned out, about that same time the train was given permission to back out of Wishram to be turned for the return trip, so I got a short cab ride in the process.
|Spokane, Portland & Seattle No. 700; Wishram, Washington|
|Southern Pacific 4449; Stevenson, Washington|