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Day 24 – Champagne & Hartman

By ThisIsReno

Submitted by Karl Breckenridge

I offer this information today primarily because I foolishly told the world that two buddies of mine – Larry Champagne and Don Hartman – got into  a Facebook thrust-and-parry conversation about their dad’s and family members’ service as engineers for the Mighty SP Railroad.

Larry Champagne
Larry Champagne

It was so good and informative – about the old, but not ancient days, of railroading – I requested their permission to reprint their comments here in a This is Reno quarantine post. They granted the permission, and sent me their photos and I went to town to craft a column about the bygone days of Wendell, Mina, Luning, Flanagan, Modoc and the Overland Line. And others.

Larry’s dad highballed the golden days of the narrow-gauge once-Carson-Colorado line for the SP down to Laws and Keeler, south of Bridgeport, Larry speculated that time period to be c. 1960 (“c.” is a great tool for columnists and retired dentists; loosely translating to “I don’t know either but I think it was about 1960”).

(By the way, should a reader survive the pandemic and drive southward on 395 and arrive in Bishop with a moment or two to spare, Laws – just on the northern limits of Bishop – has a great railroad museum – mostly outdoors, grassy with little houses, a very pleasant way to end your journey before a pre-dinner cocktail and the best steak in Bishop, if not California, at the Bishop bowling alley! You’re welcome…)

Don Hartmann
Don Hartman

Anyway, I’m hitting the high points of these two friends’ posts back-and-forth, for which I sought and received their permission to bring to y’all. I told them that they were starring in this show of Day 24’s column. I got up early and made my coffee and sat down to cut-and-paste their comments into a column for your enjoyment.

But – the best-laid plan of this scribe once again ain’t gonna happen. Facebook saw me coming and prevents such re-use of their comments. Digitally – the normal cut-and- pasting doesn’t work. To which I can only say – sorry ‘bout that, Don, Larry and the readership. What you just read is the “steak” of the thought – their words brought the “sizzle.”

I will, in place of that text I couldn’t steal, heartily endorse a visit by you and yours to the Sparks Heritage Museum, where much of the above text, and so much more, comes alive in maps and photos, thanks to a ton of work by the museum’s staff and volunteers.

And having concluded about ten percent of what I wanted to accomplish, I bid you on behalf of This is Reno, a fond farewell until again we convene Thursday morning! And, of course, be safe, huh?

Submitted opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of This Is Reno. Have something to say? Submit an opinion article here.

Karl Breckenridge

Karl Breckenridge was slowly going nuts. So he decided to help out This is Reno by writing a daily out-of-his-mind column for the duration of the coronavirus shutdown. Now that it’s over he’s back to his usual antics, drinking coffee with the boys at the Bear and, well, we’re not sure what else. But he loved sharing his daily musings with you, so he’s back, albeit a little less often, to keep on sharing. Karl grew up in the valley and has stories from the area going back to 1945. He’s been writing for 32 years locally. 

Read more from Karl Breckenridge

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