Rosamond White and Stanley de Greeve came to Northern Nevada from the Bay Area for one night to do business.
After meeting the folks at Carson City's Nevada State Railroad Museum, they decided to extend their stay.
On Saturday, they were among hundreds watching the 127-year-old Virginia & Truckee wood burner "Inyo" make her way around the track. Steam and smoke billowed into blue sky as the old engine chugged past bright yellow sunflowers.
"Boy, the people here are so friendly," said White. "We ended up going to Red's Old (395 Grill) with them and they gave us these T-shirts."
Her husband showed off his "Church of the Holy Smoke - Inyo Division" shirt. They were waiting their turn to climb into the cab of the Inyo to give engineer Lee Hobold a cigar.
Inyo fireman Jeremy Harding said the old train is running great - burning about two cords of wood a day. He and Hobold will be driving it again today and Monday. It takes time to get the steam engine running for its annual Fourth of July laps. The restoration shop crew starts a fire with a cup of kerosene in what is basically a wood-burning stove.
"This morning it was ice cold. It took about three and half hours to get it ready," Harding said. "We sit around and smoke cigars, watch the fires and talk about the good old days."
Today it will take less time to get the engine running because of residual heat from Saturday. The Inyo will join a locomotive parade from about 10 a.m. until 11. Passenger rides will be available after that. Roughly the same schedule will be followed Monday.
Volunteer firefighters from Warren Engine Company are selling barbecued hamburgers and hotdogs all three days.
Kevin Ray from the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway was in the museum selling solid silver medallions showing the Inyo. The coins - minted at the state museum - are the first in the V&T Locomotive series. On Oct. 29 the next coin in the series will be minted with engine No. 18, the Dayton.
Selling raffle tickets to win a two-foot long wooden model of the Dayton were Clyde Lippincot and Ted Short of the Northern Nevada Railway Association. Along with Ray, the two are working to help rebuild the historic train line from Carson City to Gold Hill.
"Our job is to raise funds to help rebuild the line," said Lippincot.
Meanwhile down by the depot, Joe and Marie Meyer smiled as the old locomotives rolled past, whistles blowing.
"This is really great - we're really enjoying it," he said.
The two came to their Lake Tahoe timeshare from Webster, Texas, three miles west of the Johnson Space Center.
The trains triggered memories for Marie, whose mother used to clean Pullman sleeper cars in the 1930s. She wore bloomers under her dress while climbing step ladders so her legs wouldn't show.
"I can still remember having those bloomers in the trunk and trying them on," she said.
Her husband grinned as the wood-burning Inyo came steaming by again.
"I think the guys in the cab are having the most fun," he said.
Fireman Harding sounded the whistle and waved.
Contact Karl Horeis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
If you go
What: Locomotive parade including the annual running of the 127-year-old, wood-burning steam engine "Inyo" and barbecue.
When: Today and Monday from about 10 a.m. until 11. Passenger rides after that until about 4 p.m.
Where: Nevada State Railroad Museum, 2180 S. Carson St. at Fairview Drive