Tag Archives: Amtrak

Ridin’ The Rails…A Drei-Tale From The Rails…Portland to SoCal…Coast Starlight…12/5-6, 2020

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Happiest of New Year’s to all of you. Hopefully 2020 has been off to a great start for you. Prior to heading back home I decided to don my Niners colors in The Rose City. Behind me is the Moda Center, home of the Trail Blazers. 

Some of the locals actually warmed up to me when they saw me in my Niner garb. I guess not everyone in the Pacific Northwest is a fan of that team from the Emerald City. Or maybe the cities of Portland and Seattle have a rivalry with each other…

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For some reason the background on selfie pics isn’t as great as they are in normal shots…

A Christmas themed miniature train set inside Portland’s Union Station…

Our  train originating from Seattle would depart on time right at 2:25 PM. During my journey to and from Portland overall the Starlight was on schedule. Both times no less. 

Having left Portland on time the scenery from Portland on south toward Eugene isn’t as scenic as Southern Oregon, much of what we won’t see on our way back…

Upon our stopover at Eugene I briefly switch to my UCLA colors. No luck trying to convince the locals to take Chip Kelly back…

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Klamath Falls rest stop. If this was fully covered in snow i’d really have visions of the Polar Express…

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The original Amtrak logo. Hey, there’s something you won’t see in L.A’s Union Station. A snowplow…

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In just a few minutes we’ll be departing Klamath Falls. K-Falls is our last stop in Oregon. California coming up…

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South of Martinez, CA, early Friday morning, December 6, 2019. 

From Salinas to San Luis Obispo…

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Another rest stop. Almost home…

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The only “good” ocean shot I could capture south of San Luis. From here on out no more sun…

Here’s a full recap of my journey down the Coast Starlight from Portland back to SoCal. 

Ridin’ The Rails…A Drei-Tale From The Rails…From L.A. to Portland…Up the Coast Starlight…12/3-4, 2019

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Holiday Greetings to you. Since I was a kid travel by rail has always been my favorite mode of transportation. Since my grandmother took me on my first rail trip on Amtrak on Thanksgiving Day, 1983, I’ve had an unconditional love affair with the rails. 

It has been awhile since i’ve had a chance to take a long distance trip via the rails. When I say long distance, I mean a trip beyond San Diego or The Bay Area. My last long distance trip on the rails was the summer of 2010 to Albuquerque. 

With the decade coming to a close, I told myself, do it. So I found myself riding along Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, Train 14, from L.A. to Portland. It was something I decided upon a whim. Though the route goes all the way to Seattle, a route i’ve done in it’s entirety a few times, I decided upon Portland, knowing that there probably wouldn’t be much to see past Southern Washington given the sun goes down early during the winter months.

So here are some highlights from my journey up the coast…

L.A. to NoCal

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Giving this Christmas tree in L.A. a touch of Blue…The kid seems to be amused. The tower show’s it’s a quarter to 9, Tuesday morning. My train won’t be leaving for another hour and 15 minutes…

A couple of ocean views before arriving to Santa Barbara. One of the things I try to do is take shots of as many stations along the way, especially those that still retain that old-school charm. Of course, I also have to take as many selfie’s of my station stops…

 

 

A couple more ocean shots before arriving to San Luis Obispo. SLO would be one of several rest stops. Because we’d arrive at SLO early, I had a chance to venture a little further away from the train before coming back on. Every now and then when a train arrives at a rest stop ahead of schedule, if lucky, it will arrive really early that you can walk around outside the station and do some exploring. 

In SLO we come across this statue of Chinese rail workers, The Iron Road Pioneers

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Here’s a pic I took 10 years ago…

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That is quite a sculpture…

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Another station stop selfie. Gotta love what’s behind me. A photo-bomber and a never-ending seen at train stations, airports and transportation hubs worldwide, the hug. (I’ll miss you, be sure you write when you arrive. OK, in today’s world, “Text me when you arrive”)

Just north of SLO. In the distance you can see Highway 101. You can also see the glare of the cafe car. Hey, I never said this was a professionally done tale…

Oakland Jack London Square station, just around 10 PM. 

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With not much to see at night, time for some solitaire before calling it a night. This is not a good start, especially hands 2 through 4…

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Departing Redding, early Wednesday morning. Not much to see here in either direction due to the early morning arrival times each way. Before we enter Oregon, let’s ’bout some Weed ?

Passing through Weed, CA as we’ve reached the 2nd day of our journey early Wednesday morning. (What we’re you all thinking when I said Weed?)

Southern Oregon to Portland

Klamath Falls. The first stop in Oregon, sometime around 9AM…

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Gotta get that Klamath Falls sign in there to make it official…

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ALL ABOARD ! There’s something about this station that take’s me back in time…

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Hey! A sunny and clear sky out there. But have we left the snow yet?

 

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Not quite…

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Hey, we can see the front of the train !

Now arriving Eugene, OR

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I wonder if the local’s are interested in taking Chip Kelly back…

Passing Albany and Salem…

Willamette University Baseball Field. Willamette U is a NCAA Division III school. Perhaps someday a future MLB player, maybe a future Dodger makes his way through here…

Now approaching PDX…

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As we approach Portland Union Station across the Wilamette River to the left of what looks like a power plant is the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the home of the Portland Trail Blazers from 1970-1995. To kick off it’s 50th season, the Blazers held an exhibition on October 8th back where it started.

Amtrak, with it’s reputation of being behind schedule, for the most part got us to town on time, arriving about 30 minutes after it’s 3:25 scheduled arrival. Not bad at all for rail travel.

Well, that concludes the L.A. to Portland part of Drei’s Tale from the rails. Portland to L.A., or Van Nuys will be coming soon. We’ll see how much different the scenery is on the way back, you know, parts we may have missed on the way up…

But since we’re in town, let’s take in a Blazers game…Tonight’s opponent? The Sacramento Kings

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Coached by former Lakers coach, Luke Walton…

Pride Night  at the Moda Center. 

Celebrating 50 years in Rip City…

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Greetings from Rip City, Oregon.

Cruising The N.L. West, San Diego 5/5

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Just four days after cruising The Bay we head down south to San Diego for this Sunday afternoon Cinco De Mayo matchup against the Padres. With the Dodgers holding the top spot in the NL West and the Padres also off to a good start all three games at Petco Park would sell out. After winning the first two the Dodgers would come into the series finale with a chance at a sweep. 

Of the five NL West venues aside from Dodger Stadium, Petco Park is my most ventured. With San Diego being 2 hours south of L.A., a trip to America’s Finest City always makes for a great Sunday day trip, especially when traveling by rail. 

20190505_095855San Clemente

20190505_102129Almost there…

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Petco Park, opened in 2004 is now in it’s 15th season of operation. As for the Padres, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of their MLB existance…

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In their 50 years as an MLB franchise in San Diego the  Friars have won five NL West crowns and 2 pennants, their first coming in 1984…

20190505_123127Steve Garvey’s bat from Game Four of the 1984 NLCS. Of course it would take a Dodger to lead the Friars to their first World Series appearance…

Steve Garvey would be the first Padre to have his number retired, a topic that has some Friars followers divided

20190505_133000Today’s ballpark eat’s…Single Bacon Cheeseburger from Hodad’s

The Friars would jump out to a 4-0 lead. However the Dodgers would rally for five runs on the strength of a 3-run jack by Max Muncy and a 2-run shot be Chris Taylor to give The Blue a 5-4 lead heading to the home ninth. 

With the bases loaded and two-out. Two strikes from a series sweep, Hunter Renfroe would come off the bench for the Friars and deliver a game-winning Grand Slam for the Friars. That would be the second two-out walk-off I would witness in less than a week. Ugh !!!

20190505_1546432 2-out walk-off losses. Ugh ! Hopefully I’ll bring better luck to Colorado come late June…

2019050595164509.jpgThe Blue needs to retire the Garv’s number already…

Time to head over to Basic Bar for a blood orange IPA or two and a Mashed/4-Maggio pie…

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After my previous experience with potato on a pizza I was a little hesitant to want to try the Mashed, the side with the basil. I’m happy to tell you this time my experience was much better, with the mash being a perfect compliment to the mozzarella and bacon. 

The area around Petco Park has really developed over the years with more dining options popping up around the ballpark. 

OK, time to head back to L.A. But before we do…

20190505_195458.jpgPaying respects to two Padres HOF’ers, Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman…

20190519_160250.jpgCruising the Gaslamp with Josh…

Extra Innings…Petco Blue Out

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L.A. to The Bay…February 16, 2019

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DTLA FlixBus Stop
Saturday morning, February 16th. The second of my L.A. to The Bay excursions and again I find myself taking the early morning econo-bus to The Bay. This time, my trip takes me Palo Alto, CA, 20 minutes north of San Jose, where the FlixBus will take me.
Just days after one of our heaviest storms of the season that closed The Grapevine, the main route used by FlixBus, the weather on this Saturday afternoon has cleared up enough to allow passage through. San Jose here we come !!!

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Once again, our rest stop finds us at Kettleman City. Unlike the last time when I stopped at In N Out on the way back to L.A, I decided to change it up a bit…

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If I had more time I’d have loved to check out some of the other local eats, especially the ice cream. Instead I settled for this pulled pork burger from Wild Jack BBQ…

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Pulled pork burger with cole slaw and black beans. Actually not bad…

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Something about these kitschy road stops along the interstate…

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Though the rain would stay away throughout the day, the clouds would continue to follow. My timing could not have been any better. The winter storm would clear up in time to re-open I-5 through the Grapevine. I-5 would close up again the next day…
After arriving to San Jose, I would catch the light rail to the neighboring town of Mountain View.

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Before catching the commuter train to Palo Alto I make a quick stop for a sweet treat at Olympus Caffe and Bakery…

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Revani. A semolina cake with heavy sweet syrup…YUM…

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Off to Palo Alto…

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And moments later…Later that evening I would head to Maples Pavilion for that evenings college hoops game between UCLA and Stanford…

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Maples Pavilion. Home of the Stanford Cardinal…

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This is the fourth Pac-12 school I have ventured to see my Bruins in action…As for the result, well…

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Even with the huge loss, there’s no such thing as a bad road trip…Check out my review of the Stanford Basketball gameday experience at Stadium Journey
Back to L.A., Sunday 2/17/2019

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Sunday morning in Palo Alto. Waiting for the Caltrain to San Jose where I will catch the Amtrak’s Coast Starlight back to L.A…

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Just before 10 AM in San Jose. Southland Metrolink riders should be familiar with those cars…
Though my train to L.A. is scheduled for a 10:10 AM departure, as per Amtrak custom, the Coast Starlight, originating from Seattle, is running two hours late. Hey, it could be worse. Over a week later passengers on this same train found themselves stuck in a rural Oregon town for 37 straight hours…

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To kill time I would walk a few blocks to San Pedro Square and find myself here at The Farmers Union.

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Eggs benedict with lump crab and home potatoes…Overall a pretty satisfying breakfast
My overall dining experience on this trip to The Bay wasn’t so hella overwhelming this time…(Oops, there I go again with hella. Spending hella time in the hella Bay will hella do that to you…)
Vida Abundante

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Abundant life. Life should be so filled with abundance. This is the featured mural from this trip to the bay…Between L.A. and The Bay are an abundance of murals from many talented artists. I really should take more pics of our murals in L.A…
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A hella vibrant abundance of fruits and veggies…Here’s more on the Da Anza Mural dubbed “Vida Abundante”

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Old Glory waving proudly in front of San Jose Diridon…

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Inside the lobby…


Some local rail memorabilia…

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Waiting patiently with Blue for our train to arrive…In the distance, the SAP Center, home of the San Jose Sharks…

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Just a few more minutes before Drei heads to L.A….

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And finally…Train 11, The Coast Starlight to L.A., now arriving…

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Goodbye for now, San Jose…
Along the way to L.A…

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This shot has me thinking of The Wizard of Oz…
Passing through Salinas…

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And now Paso Robles…


On the way to San Luis Obispo…

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We’re almost home Blue !!!

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I was hoping once we passed San Luis Obispo there would still be enough sun for us to catch the sunset along the ocean. With the train running late and being in the middle of February unfortunately there was no chance at snapping some shots of the sunset out in the ocean…
Almost home…

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As we now pass through Van Nuys, we’re about 30 minutes away from L.A. That old dilapidated pedestrian bridge that’s never in use? That’s an old pedestrian bridge from the days when a Busch Gardens theme park was housed here. Should you ever take a tour of the Busch Brewery you just may see some other remains from the old theme park…

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Van Nuys, CA

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As we make a quick stop in Van Nuys, as we wait atop this overpass on Van Nuys Blvd. in the distance in our not-so-great quality photo atop the sign is a neon blue P greeting visitors to The Plant. Opened in 1999, the shopping center once housed a General Motors automobile factory. Below us in the Van Nuys Blvd. underpass is a mural of several GM vehicles…

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After being delayed almost 2.5 hours we make it home to L.A. only 50 minutes past its originally scheduled 9PM arrival. Anyone who works in for Amtrak or travels the rails frequently will tell you that trains while always never on time always make up time along it’s route…

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Finally home…


Union Station L.A.

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Feels good to be home don’t it Blue? In no time plenty of Dodger Blue clad fans will be roaming these confines on their way to the Dodger Stadium shuttles…It’s almost that time of year for our favorite catchphrase…”IT’S TIME FOR…”
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The old ticketing hall and waiting area, located at the front. Today, it stands mostly vacant, used mostly for filming and other special events…
Well, that’s my L.A. to The Bay recap, part 2 of how many this year. This time, a little history revisited. What will Drei’s next L.A. to The Bay journey bring?

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From L.A. to The Bay…And Back…With Drei…’Til the Next Episode…

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All Aboard !!! Next Stop. . . Anaheim !!!

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Waiting for the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner at the Van Nuys Amtrak station.  Train is due any minute now. . . .

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Time to board the train.  Next stop. . . . Anaheim  !!!  LETS GO DODGERS  !!!

Traveling to ballgames by rail is nothing new for me.  Many of my ballpark excursions throughout the country have been through rail.  It’s a great way to see the country.  Many of my trips to San Diego for Dodgers/Padres games have been on this very same route, The Pacific Surfliner.  One of the nicest routes you could use to get to a game especially between Irvine and San Diego.  But today, we travel the rails to Anaheim to do battle with the Angels.  FYI, to you fellow ballpark travelers who like me aim to hit up all 30 big league parks if you’re here in SoCal the Amtrak station is right there outside Angel Stadium.  The Metrolink also provides service to and from  Angels games from Monday to Friday, $7 roundtrip  !!!  OK, i’m about 1 hour away from Angel Stadium.  Hopefully The Blue can snap out of their 4 game skid today.  GO DODGERS  !!!!