Courtesy of Blair Kooistra.
"I remember that long hot day with Michael Sawyer only 42 years and three days ago.
"We were out on a long weekend trip from Seattle looking around Eastern Washington--Burlington Northern, mostly. Did the funnel, down to Pasco, then down the SP&S back to Vancouver and home. But the afternoon in question--brutally hot for what us wet side boys were used to, we were chasing the CW local west of Cheney for the third day in a row. Late afternoon this time, and the locals left the mainline and headed off towards the setting sun with a train of covered hoppers to peddle. Power wasn't that bad, either: a pair of F9's leading a trio of Geeps.
"We knew what we'd be doing the rest of the day. The last of the Covered Wagons on the west side of the mountains had been placed into storage at Auburn only a few weeks before--so F-units weren't exactly rare to us (we'd actually chased them on this branch a few times previous), but they were on borrowed time.
"The train pulled into Reardan to make a setout, and before departing, the crew walked across the highway to a general store, and made a beeline into a cooler in back where they could luxuriate in the freezing air and try to get that eastern Washington heat to stop clinging to their sweaty bodies before climbing back into that blazing cab of the F-unit. We joined them. It felt so good. I don't think my brown Toyota Corolla hatchback had a working air conditioner, either.
"We chased west to Davenport, where the crew dropped its train and all but a single GP9, which it took down the Eleanor Spur a dozen miles or so with eleven empty 40 foot boxcars picked up at Major siding. THAT was an experience in itself.
"But 42 years and three days later, it is standing in that cooler chilling out that I remember the most. I didn't bother to take a photo of that, but in retrospect, I really didn’t need to."