I don't think I've ever written here about Leo and Ernie's upcoming trip. They leave Thursday for a 22 day trip to Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. Yes, I know. That is a LONG time together. I expect Ernie to come back thoroughly schooled in drum & bass, and Leo to have expanded his musical horizons as well. Well, that or they will kill each other. It's killing ME that I can't go with them, but I have things to do here AND a house concert.
This trip has been planned for years, and Leo's been carefully saving his money for it. 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike in Utah, the completion of a transatlantic railroad, and will be the first time in 60 years there has been an operating Big Boy (it's Leo's, uh, spirit engine). If you're wondering how long Leo has loved the Big Boy, check out this old post from the early days of this blog. My sweet peas. There are only something like 8 Big Boys or so left, we have seen three of them I believe; one in St. Louis, one in Green Bay, and one in Omaha. None of those runs, in fact, none of them have run since 1959 or thereabouts, so when Union Pacific got this one (the 4014) a few years ago, with plans to restore it, it was a BIG deal.
Ernie and Leo will drive out to Cheyenne, where they will see the Big Boy take off for the first time! From Cheyenne, it will go to Ogden Utah, for a celebration of the Golden Spike, then back to Cheyenne. They will follow along, chasing it for pictures, as it goes. It will have some days off, for maintenance, and some for celebration (they're spending four days in Ogden, Utah). Once it is back home in Cheyenne, they will take off for Montana. Leo's other favorite line, the Milwaukee Road, has some old substations there that he wants to photo document. He is, without a doubt, my boy.
I'm so excited for them. I got all the hotels for them, and have a big spreadsheet of the schedule, the hotels, and various recommendations I am making (where to eat in Cheyenne for dinner and breakfast, the popcorn neon sign in Salt Lake City that I want a picture of, etc.). We've got the lists made and most of the prep done. Leo shared a video from Facebook the other day (When I texted him, "OMG, you're on FACEBOOK!" he politely responded with, "Yes, and you're going to ignore that, thank you.") and it gave me chills.
I noticed that this video, posted about a day and a half ago, has already been shared some 5,000 times. This is a BIG deal in the train world. Leo's been waiting for this since, well…
He's missing his finals but is able to do them online, all except one which he is doing ahead of time. Thanks for understanding professors and bosses. This will be the trip of a lifetime for him. I will be a nervous wreck worrying about everything. And then there's Owen and me on our own for three weeks. I don't know whether we'll have a great time or kill one another. Possibly both.