Chasing the UP Big Boy in Iowa

Had a pretty nice day yesterday. Drove the Miata down I-35 to Ames, IA, then West on Hwy 30 to get a look at the Union Pacific Big Boy locomotive that was touring though.

I was about 30 miles out of Carroll, IA where the Big Boy was going to stop at 12:30 when I saw a handful of people parked at a roadside park near the tracks.

I figured that looked like a good place for some photos so I stopped and waited.

A UP freight train went by as we were waiting so I snapped some photos of that.

About 30 minutes later we could hear the whistle moaning then the chugging of the engine.

Here she comes!

And there she went.

I hopped in the car and drove on to Carroll, IA to see what was up. The depot was a complete zoo with no parking anywhere. After I finally managed to get out of the lot I found some street parking a few blocks away.

A zoo.

Heading back to the depot I could hear the engine coming in but it stopped a bit short of where I was. I wandered down and took a few closeups, but due to the crowd I couldn’t really get as close as I would have liked. I could smell it though. Hot grease, burning oil, smelled great. Here are a couple of closeups.

Big Boy, small man.

After a few minutes I got tired of the crowd and walked over to Culvers to get a burger and shake. I walked back to my car and looked at the map. There was a crossing a few miles down the road, so I headed down.

I got to Eagle Ave and turned in. There was a nice low bridge so I parked the car and ate my burger while I waited.

When I heard the engine coming I shot a short video.

After that I headed back East and picked up US 169 to head home. All was fine until Algona when we got behind three large wind turbine blades. We followed them for a few miles having to stop for every turn so they could maneuver.

Eventually they pulled off at a staging area where there where a lot of other turbine parts and it was smooth sailing afterwards.

I made a quick stop at the Happy Chef in Northern Mankato for dinner and then headed for home.

Driving the Miata at 65 MPH on two-lane highways is a lot more enjoyable than at 75 MPH on the Interstate. The Miata had no issues on the Interstate, but it’s a bunch louder and more unpleasant with the top down. It did get 32 MPG at 75 MPH though and I had zero issues.

A successful trip.

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