The Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 was in my general area this past weekend and my wife was gone with kiddo so my buddy and I decided to make a fun bike trip/camping weekend out of it.
Big Boy was set to arrive in Omaha at 7:45 PM Friday night. Omaha is about 3 hours away from us so I took off work early in the hopes that we could catch it on the move. We stopped about 30-40 minutes north of Omaha to fill with gas and checked the live tracker on the train. Unfortunately for us it was way ahead of schedule and had already arrived in town.
With the pressure to get there off we split off of the interstate and found some fun back roads that ran along the Missouri River valley through western Iowa, stopped for some food at a sketchy Chinese restaurant (that was very good), picked up some libations and made for camp where we got lucky and nabbed the second to last spot, with the people right behind us taking the final camping spot.
Saturday morning we headed into Omaha where we got to see 4014. This is the second big boy I’ve seen (4005 in Denver) and it never fails to astound me how massive these things are. I think I might make it a goal to try and see every remaining Big Boy (not realizing there is another already in Omaha I could have checked one more off the list), but I’ll probably wait until my son is just a little older so he can experience and remember these incredible machines.
My pictures aren’t great, and the sun was on the wrong side of the train, but enjoy anyway.
Afterwords we hit up a delicious shushi place in DT Omaha and meandered our way back home running up more back roads along the river valley which was surprisingly pretty. In was an awesome weekend overall, putting about 450 miles on the bike and I can’t wait to do something similar again.
Quick fun fact: There is a box car set up as a mini museum that you can walk through. There were a couple people on the train crew helping people up the stairs and so we asked them for a quick fun fact about the train. Fuel consumption at WOT is 200 gallons of water and 40 gallons of oil per mile, before the steam conversion it took 30 tons of coal to move the train 60 miles.