Only One More To Go . . .

After sleeping late, we had our coffee, OJ, muffins and a quiet morning, talking about what we wanted to see while we were here, and also our schedule for the rest of this trip.

We did some shifting around, dropping a couple of stops, and adding to a couple of others. The main one we dropped is a stop in Waco for a couple of days so Jan could visit The Silos and Magnolia Market of Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’. But we decided to do that as a day trip up from the Colorado River TT when we’re there.

I also got our reservations for the Riverside RV Resort in Bartlesville, OK so we can visit Ree Drummond’s Mercantile in nearby Pawhuska, OK.

About 1pm we headed out to visit the Golden Spike Tower and the Bailey Yard, something that I’ve wanted to do for a good while. And Jan was looking forward to it too.

But on our way, we first scouted out the station that I found on Google Maps Street View yesterday, and it looks like we’re good to go when we leave here on Wednesday.

North Platte NE Diesel Station

It has separate diesel pumps on the right side and plenty of room to get in and out, as well as hitching up the toad. Even better, as I said, they also have the cheapest diesel around at $2.25 a gallon.

The 100ft, Golden Spike Tower is visible from a long distance on the flat countryside so it was easy to find.

Golden Spike Tower

There are two observation decks here, an open balcony on the 7th floor, at 83 feet, and the 8th floor, an enclosed deck at 95 feet. Admission was only $6 each for us seniors, so a nice deal.

The stats for this place are amazing. With over 315 total miles of track, the Bailey Yard stretches over 8 miles from end to end and covers over 2,800 acres.

Bailey Yard

The yard handles about 155 trains a day, with over 70 of them coal trains, totaling over 10,000 railroad cars.

Bailey Yard 2


The Diesel Repair Shop handles over 750 locomotives a month, with each doorway leading to an area for a different type of repair.

Bailey Yard Repair Shop


And here are the finished locomotives lined up and waiting to be assigned to an outgoing train.

Bailey Yard Engine Lineup


This is the Sand Tower, where sand is loadied into the locomotive’s hopper. The sand is sprayed on the rails right in front of the wheels in cases where, due to rain, ice, or snow, the rails might be slippery.

Bailey Yard Sand Tower


This is the fueling area, going through over 14 million gallons of diesel a month. Now I don’t feel so bad about my 150 gallon tank.

Bailey Yard Fueling Station


One of the most amazing things here are the two Hump Yards, one for east bound trains and one for west bound ones.

A string of cars are pushed to the top of the hump, a 34ft high hill.

Bailey Yard East Hump 4


Then one or two at a time, the cars are released at the top and start to roll down hill.

Bailey Yard East Hump 3


As the car(s) come down they are automatically routed through multiple switches and slowed down as necessary by ‘retarders’, i.e brakes along the rails.

Bailey Yard East Hump

Bailey Yard East Hump 2

At the bottom of the hump, one of over 3000 cars a day, they end up being routed into the correct train, ready to be assigned an locomotive.

Bailey East Hump Yard 2


And all that magic is done from this building, the Bailey Yard Conrol Center.

Bailey Yard Control Bldg


In this building every one of the 985 switches in the yard can be controlled remotely. Even more amazing is that many of the locomotives moving cars around the yard are also under remote control.

Bailey Yard Control Room

When is why you see signs like these around the yard.

Remote Control Locomotive

Leaving the Golden Spike Tower we drove around to the backside of the Bailey Yard to get a side shot of the East Hump and the cars rolling down the hill.

Later, after driving around town for a while, we stopped off at Fort Cody, a combination Buffalo Bill Cody Museum and Gift Shop.

After it was right up the road to have dinner at King Buffet, a Yelp 4 Star Chinese Buffet.

King Buffet

And the reviews were certainly accurate.

King Buffet 1

A good selection, with small portions, constantly changed out, so everything was fresh and hot. Our favorite Hot & Sour Soup was really good, as well as the iced tea.

Even better, with our 10% Senior discount, it was only $7.50 each, plus our drink. If we were going to be here longer, we’d certainly go back.

But tomorrow night’s Italian.

Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites

With our stay here in Nebraska, we can now mark that state off on our ‘RV’d In’ list, leaving only Kansas, which
we’ll be able to mark off on Thursday.

Of course, that still leaves Hawaii, which we’ll do as soon as I can find a dry route.

Thought for the Day:

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” – P.J. O’Rourke



6 Responses to Only One More To Go . . .

  1. Cathie Laurent says:

    Hey! You will be in my town, Bartlesville, OK. And just down the street from us. Just wanted to mention that Frank Lloyd Wright’s only skyscraper, the Price Tower is open for tours. Bartlesville is also the home of Phillips Petroleum Company and Frank Phillips home and country home Woolaroc are worth a visit.
    The Merc in Pawhuska is such a great place, but a mid afternoon meal may be best. I have seen the line a block long at 9 a.m. For breakfast and lunch is worse. No lines to get into the Merc unless it is a time like right after Christmas. We would be available for any questions or help if needed. Unfortunately, it is going to be hot and muggy.
    There is also a new little rv park in Bartlesville that just opened. Nothing fancy and no trees, but if you find you don’t like the Riverside, it would work. Cathie. 580-716-2595

  2. Phyllis Schell says:

    We visited the Golden Spike Tower and Bailey Yard about 3 years ago and enjoyed it as much as you did. Amazing how that all works isn’t it? Continu d safe travels.

  3. Barbara Westerfield says:

    Don’t know where in Kansas you are going, but recommend going to Kansas City, MO just across the river from KC, Kansas. If you are there on Friday, ask for a tour of the Union Station. Lots to see at The Union. Also, don’t miss the only WWI museum across the street. One of the best museums in the US in our humble opinion. KC is the city of fountains. Truman Library in nearby Independence. Lots of history there. We stay at Blue Lake county park in Lees Summit, MO.

  4. Boots Gibson says:

    Glad you enjoyed the UP yard.  I was raised as a Union Pacific (aka Uncle Pete) kid–grandfather, father, and aunt all worked for the UP for life except my father who “only” got about 16 years in before going to the Atomic Energy Commission when we moved to Vegas for my brother’s health.  As a kid we were put on the train in our little town of Valley in Nebraska and sent solo to the grandparents 150 miles away in Grand Island a couple of times a year for free.  We kids loved it, especially riding in the caboose, but the brakeman or porters charged with watching us probably not so much!

  5. Charlie Dyck says:

    To mark off a state on your list do you have to drive thru, spend the night, or whoopee ? Nick says the last! Your thoughts.

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