The first journey was from Canon City to Los Angeles via the Santa Fe. This would have been, I think, in 1941. We, the family I mean, boarded the train at Pueblo and traveled through Raton Pass into New Mexico, and this provided one of the most vivid memories of the trip. The train was drawn by a steam engine. The Super Chief War Bonnet powered by diesel electric also ran this route but we were not Hollywood celebrities or movers and shakers.
At Trinidad helper engines were added to the train to assist it in making the grade and a very steep grade it is at 3.5%, which my seven-year old self did not know. I looked it up. The locomotives were chuffing up the grade, smoke pouring copiously into the atmosphere. We discovered that on certain curves one could look out the window of our car and see the engine in the rear pushing us along. I can see it yet. Mallet, Dad said. Mallay, I heard, which is the pronunciation of the word.
Santa Fe Station, Raton, New Mexico
Other bits of memory from this trip include the red peppers hanging on the sides of the houses around Bernalillo and across New Mexico; the more-or-less interminable transit of the desert lands between Albuquerque and Los Angeles; the arrival at Union Station in L.A. where we were met by the Uncle and the reunion with Mother's family began!