Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

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SLO Day

My planz for today were lacking in the fruition department. File it under "he who hesitates" and some missed connections. The plan was to figure out where Cal Poly is, and take the bus there. The first step in that plan was to board the downtown trolley which is supposed to run every 15 minutes starting at 10 am. After a breakfast of a fairly decent clam chowder and sourdough bread from Splash Cafe, I packed, checked out of the motel and waited for the trolley at the stop across the street from the cafe. After 20 minutes of no trolley, I needed to use the facilities so I went to the cafe and used theirs. Then back to the stop, and another 15 minutes. At which time it dawned on me that I had not seen any trolleys coming from the other direction either. So I started walking and got all the way to the mission (about a mile) without seeing any.

Toured around the mission creek park, got some cute pictures of kids playing on the rocks mid-stream, and just walked around and people-watched. Back to downtown, I walked toward the train station, since that's where I'd seen the bus stop for Cal Poly, but needed something to settle my tummy, so I ducked into a grocery store across from the park, bought a diet cola & a 6-pack of oreos, walked across the street to the a big park there (Mitchell Park), found a picnic table and had a leisurely snack while watching a 3-person yoga class doing odd things with their bodies. There will be photos soon. 

Got to the train station and punched Cal Poly into my iPhone's map thing and it said a bus was going to depart in 3 minutes. It arrived and departed without me, I just somehow was nervous that I would not get back to the depot in time to catch the train. Stupid, because the bus ride was about half an hour, and it was 1 pm, the train left at 3:30. Instead I walked around the neighborhood, ended back at Mitchell Park,  camped out on the grass and watched a tow truck pull up with a late-model Honda (Fit?) on its bed. A woman came out of the truck and the driver helped her unload the car. Cooler, assorted clothes, blankets,  and three bicycles, first the bodies with rear tires, then the front tires. The truck drove away with the car, the woman assembled the bikes, then laid down on the grass to read a book.

Took a walk around a few blocks, back to the park to use their restrooms, back to Amtrak with half an hour to spare and watched some passengers try to find the train to Irvine, which is actually a bus. The Greyhound bus to Santa Barbara arrived with a destination sign which said Dallas. The Coast Starlight pulled in from the north a little early, and was about to leave 20 minutes late, but stayed where it was because the Coast Starlight from the south was there early.

After passengers were let off, I lined up to get a seat, asked the woman in charge of the first coach car if this was the car for San Jose, she said yes. Then when it was my turn to board, I asked if she had a window seat, and she told me to get onto the next car down the line, where the not very nice man said, when I asked for a window seat on the right, I was lucky to get a seat at this point in the run. He assigned me an aisle seat on the left. Decided to see if there were seats in the lounge car, and there were plenty on the right. As I walked through the car I'd originally asked to get on, there were at least six pairs of empty seats. Amtrak really needs to find a way to be more flexible about seat assignments. BTW, at least four of those seats (on the right) stayed empty clear through to SJC. There are only two stops between SLO and SJC, it's not rocket science.

Boring trip, for the most part. In the lounge car there was some cretin from Yuma whose cell phone conversations were at the top of his voice, and after three tries at trying to tell different callers three variations of he had just left "San Lopso Opso something" he changed it to San Bernardino for the remaining callers. Only 250 miles off, and not on the Coast Starlight run. Then the guy sleeping in the seat across from him woke up, and we got the rest of his life story, including claims that he has called all his ex-fiancés for mother's day, except the one who who had his kid.

There were also a couple of older characters on the other side of me who looked and sounded more like they ought to be riding box cars. Not the most erudite conversation there. Just before we got to Salinas I went back to my assigned seat, ate a bear claw from Splash Café, and read from an eBook I'd downloaded last week. My camera battery had given out, and it was getting too dark to take photos from a moving train anyway.

Got into SJC half an hour early, just before 8. Drove home, unpacked, charged a camera battery so I could transfer the photos to the main PC. Uploaded pix of the jazz band to Flickr, and put a pointer to them on the band's Facebook page. More uploads later in the week. I got some good pix in SLO, not so many on the train, due to excessive reflections in their observation car. I wish they would fix that. Polarized material would help.

Oh yes, where Cal Poly is turns out to be at the end of Grand Ave, on the same end of town as the motel, not near downtown at all. I probably could have caught the bus there yesterday when I was at Grand & Monterey.
Tags: photography, trains, travel, travel photography, twits, waiting
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