Tuesday, July 07, 2009

SoCal Road Trip 2: Sea to Sand via Locomotive



The Amtrak Surfliner route travels between San Luis Obispo on the Central California coast and San Diego...



...and though the train makes quite a few stops along the way, it's a quick, pleasant ride.



On the other side of a tunnel, the San Fernando Valley comes into view, looking a bit like the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Disneyland.



The passengers on the two hour trip from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles were a mixture of commuter types and tourists...



...with the award for most annoying cellphone user going to the woman above who carried on a dozen different conversations in a piercing Asian language voice.



The newly restored Union Station in downtown Los Angeles is an Arts and Crafts gem...



...and though the Los Angeles Civic Center area around it tends to be a bit bleak on a Sunday, you can always get a Mexican food stand meal on nearby Olvera Street that's delicious and autentico.



I was boarding the Sunset Limited, which leaves at 2:30 PM every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday for New Orleans via El Paso and San Antonio.



One of its limited number of stops is Palm Springs, where I was headed...



...and it was a joy to leave the Interstate 10 freeways and scary East Los Angeles towns like La Puente for the mountains and deserts beyond.

11 comments:

Immanuel Gilen said...

I've always wanted to take a long-haul trip by train, but everybody always tells me not to because of delays, poor service, etc...seems like the coastal California route would be gorgeous though so maybe I shouldn't listen.

Also, isn't L.A.'s a little too young to be Arts&Crafts?

sfmike said...

Dear Immanuel: You're right about Union Station being "too young" for the Arts&Crafts Movement, although it certainly looks a lot like that style. Here's the Wikipedia entry, which even has a Dutch connection:

"The [1939] structure combines Dutch Colonial Revival Style architecture (the suggestion of the Dutch born Jan van der Linden), Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne style, with architectural details such as eight-pointed stars."

AphotoAday said...

I've got absolutely no reason to go to Southern California, but I sure would like to ride that train... Huell Hauser on his "California Gold" did a program on it a few years ago...

I can remember riding the "Del Monte" from S.F. to Monterey a few times when I was a kid...

But the main reason I'm checking in is about those damn cellphones and the inconsiderate people who think they must keep their friends constantly updated on their every thought and movement 24/7...

Short of murdering all out-of-control cellphone users, I'd like to get one of those cellphone jammers and see how much havoc I could reap... They make them in various wattages for different areas of coverage, although technically they are against the law... It's an FCC thing...

I understand that some prisons use them and have a special waiver from the government... Seems like they'd be perfect for concert halls too... Anyway, it's just a thought...

AphotoAday said...

oops -- a minor correction --
meant to say "wreak" not "reap"...

And talk about annoying voices -- today I passed by a schoolteacher giving a group of kids the "third-degree" in the most annoying and shrill voice I've heard in a long time, and she wasn't even Åsian... Those poor little kids...

Sarah said...

I have recently discovered your blog and I am really enjoying going through it. I love how you took a picture of the annoying cell phone lady - what a great idea.

sfmike said...

Dear Sarah: Welcome. I try not to take unflattering photos of strangers, but make an exception when they're on public transport and are totally oblivious to everyone around them while having cellphone conversations in shrieking voices. It's an anger management tool, as the Opera Tattler once said.

zoo said...

nice post, so refreshing, michael, you should see(if you haven't yet) see larry david on cell phone conversations in public places, the last season of curb your enthusiasm, too good!
xau

pjwv said...

I was at SFMOMA at lunch today and a guy was using his cellphone while at the urinal. I made sure to flush while he was still talking. OT is right, it's all anger management.

I took the commuter train in Philadelphia out to the Barnes Foundation and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had wondered onto a car on which cellphones, iPods, etc, were forbidden.

pjwv said...

Damn, I meant "wandered" onto a car, not "wondered" . . . and me a former proofreader. . . .

sfmike said...

Dear Patrick: I thought you were being poetic with "wondered" and loved it.

pjwv said...

Yeah, I should have stuck with it, since "wondered" is a more accurate description of how I navigate through the world.