But for the past three months, every three weeks I have been making a round trip from Salinas to Oxnard on the AMRAK Coast Starlight train to be with my sister Micki.
AND. . .I have fallen in love with this new, for me anyway, mode of transportation! This leisurely relaxing way to travel makes me imagine that I have gone back in time to an earlier more simple era. (Yes, it does take longer-about 6 1/2 hours vs 4 1/2 driving time for the 269 mile trip.)
I grew up in Minot, North Dakota (see far right top of map) and was always fascinated by, but never had a chance to ride, the Empire Builder which stopped in our town.
Me and my friends Danny, Evie, Sandy and Bonnie at the Minot Depot. We were seeing Bonnie off to live in far away California.I took this picture from my window. As the train winds up and through California’s Santa Inez mountains the tracks make a huge curve. I can see the engine and first few cars of the train.Listening to the click of the steel wheels against the steel rails is soothing. Take a look at the seat size and legroom compared to the total lack of on a plane. Also, NO 3 oz. restrictions on liquids, sharp objects such as nail files, NO security lines, NO body scans, NO pat-down searches (I ALWAYS get chosen for these.) You can get up and stretch your legs, walk to the Lounge Car, make reservations for lunch and/or dinner in the full-service Dining Car, buy snacks in the Café or Snack Car.One of the train stations along the route is El Paso de Robles --- “The Pass of the Oaks”.We have traveled Highway 101 for years where only the not-so attractive back side of 1797 Mission San Miguel Arcangel is visible. We’ve also visited almost all of of the 21 missions that comprise California's Historic Mission Trail but not San Miguel. It is now on our list!A caboose! Don’t see them very often anymore.Pacific Ocean sunsets taken through my window.
Me, waiting for the Coast Starlight train.
P.S. After all of my talk about loving to ride the rails, I have to tell you that it was 45” late on this day! Still love it!