I won't share too many pictures, as they are really Leo's to share. I have to share some though, just to let you know how thrilled I am that this is really truly happening.
He has been thinking about this trip for the last five years since they announced the restoration, but really even longer, since kindergarten. Well, before that actually. It made me so happy when his preschool teacher, forever known as Miss Anna to us, reminded me on Facebook yesterday about the fact that Leo was absolutely opposed to kindergarten until he visited his kindergarten room and there was a train. Whew. I remember, when people would ask him if he was excited about kindergarten, he would just matter of factly shrug and tell them he wasn't going, he was going to be a train guy. He was so good at it that people would look up at me puzzled, and I would say, through gritted teeth, "no, he's GOING to kindergarten."
I think it was the year after that that he visited a Big Boy for the first time, in St. Louis.
Another year later, and he got his HO Big Boy, after saving all his gifts from soft-hearted grandparents and aunts.
And now my grown up, beautiful boy is driving through the West following the Big Boy. He's saved money with a skill nobody else in this family has, gifts from his uncle Dennis, and everything since he started working…all for this. And it's happening. My heart is so full.
The Big Boy was supposed to be called the Wasatch (or Wahsatch, I've seen both versions) but while it was being built someone wrote 'Big Boy' on the front of it in chalk and the name stuck. As you can see, they have done that again.
The Big Boy is the HUGE LONG engine in front. The steam engine behind its tender is the 844. The 844 was supposed to go to Ogden ahead of time and be there for recreating the head to head meeting for the golden spike. However, as I understand it, the work on the Big Boy was so intense they didn't have time for it so it is double heading with the Big Boy to Ogden. It was always planned to double head back to Cheyenne. I can't believe UP Steam managed to get the Big Boy done in time. They barely had time for a test run. The head engineer, Ed Dickens said that he'd hoped to get 500 test miles in before the run, instead, they got 70.
Onward Big Boy.