Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Point Conception on the Pacific Surfliner
The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train has become an indispensable commuting and travel connection between California coastal communities from San Luis Obispo in the north to San Diego in the south.
One of the most spectacularly beautiful stretches hugs the coastline at Point Conception, the jutting western body of land that effectively divides the Central Coast and Southern California into separate climate zones.
Vandenberg Air Force Base also sits on the peninsula, complete with nuclear missiles looking like relics from Bridge of Spies littering the landscape.
The military presence may be an unintended blessing because without the base the land would probably have been developed long ago.
The same is true for the U.S. Marines Base in Oceanside, the last beach between Orange and San Diego Counties that hasn't been built on.
Just about the only way you can observe the Point Conception coastline is to ride the Pacific Surfliner, reason alone to buy a ticket.
The day before Thanksgiving happened to be especially gorgeous after a quick overnight rain offered a gulp to drought-thirsty landscapes.
There was also unintentional humor in a string of announcements over the loudspeaker by Jack, the Cafe host/bartender, who was hyperventilating because the train was going to be TOTALLY FULL soon when we arrived in Goleta and Santa Barbara, and we were not to sit too long at the cafe tables because there were going to be so many people, and how he needed to take a 15-minute break just to get ready for it all.
The ride was mostly populated with Cal Poly students returning home to families in Southern California from San Luis Obispo, and they were soon joined by what looked to be the entire student body of UC Santa Barbara at the tiny Goleta station. It was fun, but I am not sure Jack survived.