The Last Joe in Avery

Big RR's

We got there too late! Constantly during the first few months of 1974, I read about how the Milwaukee Road was planning to yank the wire off of the Bitterroot Mountains, but there was just no way that we could make it in time for the last hurrah. When we finally arrived in August, I was delighted to find Avery's last Little Joe sitting out the final days in his natural environment . That was a pretty good consolation prize.

Note that my wife and I expended considerable effort so that I could take-in Avery and make these photographs. We rode into town via bicycle. From California. Avery was the only pre-planned rail-related destination in the 6500 mile, zig-zag cross country bicycle trip that we took that wonderful summer and fall. As if the bikes weren't enough, we came into Avery on 25 miles of Forest Service dirt road from Wallace. Chief Joseph would have been proud.

In the middle of the preceeding night, we were nearly blown to smithereens at the top of Moon Pass by a couple of Good Ol' Boys who, after rattling up the road in their old pickups, decided to do some drunken target practice on the summit sign. We were bedded-down unseen in the brush behind the sign. After the bullets started whizzing around us, we proceeded to scream / wave our flashlights. The shooting stopped, to be followed by a long silence, then: "LET'S GET OUT OF HERE!", and rattle rattle rattle down the road.

- E.O.

Here he is, the last of the bunch. For more photos of the E75 in situ, go to the bottom of the Avery page.

After taking a few shots of the E75, I climbed up onto the loco, and found this train order down in a cab cranny, covered with sand. By coincidence, the order was cut on my 24th birthday.

I also found a grimy inspection card (presumably the second-to-the-last one.

Lastly, I found the running orders for the E 29B from a year earlier. Why couldn't we have decided to do the bicycle thing in 1973? Drat!