Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Of Carriages and Trains

This is the best whale shot I got Sunday. We were maybe 50 feet away.

Monday morning the plan was to walk across the street to the Carriage museum, and see what they had there. Backstory: When I worked for the Daily Astorian in Oregon in 1973-4, my friend Hilary (with one "L") who had directed me in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, invited me to meet her friend and his carriage collection. I did a photo spread for the newspaper. Her friend was quite a legend in the science fiction community, though I was mostly unaware of it at the time. I just knew him as Graham. Hilary and I are still in touch (last week she sent me a cool card - she always addresses the envelopes in calligraphy, so no matter what is inside, the envelope is a keeper.). He was Graham Doar, who wrote several early sci-fi TV classic episodes back in the late 40's, early 50's.  Anyway, I went there knowing photos would be amusing for Hil.

This one caught my eye

It's a very interesting museum, lots of carriages but also a huge collection of saddles and tack. Very poor display, though. Most of the vehicles are up on a ledge or out in the back parking lot not on formal display. The saddles are behind glass, and some clever person designed signs for each one set inside a horse shoe, but they are too small to read.

It's free, it's worth going to and making a small donation. There were no humans anywhere near the displays  when I was there.

Checked out of the motel as a family of 6 Japanese tourists invaded the alleged breakfast offerings. I had seen two of them the day before - they were hard to miss. Two women in neon pink, one in very tight jeans and one in stretch pants. Both had amazing round bubble butts. Turns out they were a mother-daughter team. More on this family later.

Walked to the main drag, the bus went by when I was half a block away. Decided waiting half an hour for the next one was less painful than walking 20 minutes. It was 10:15, I was in no hurry.

Bus took 2 minutes to go that 20-minute walk distance. Win. Walked a block to the 24-hour coffee shop, had iced tea and one of their giant almond croissants. Wandered across the street to the train station, an hour and a half early. My Kindle kept me entertained, and so did the occasional eye candy, which included the Japanese family. They were seated in front and to the side of me. The way it broke out was: young man and young woman, in their 20's, maybe married, maybe just engaged. His parents and her parents. He was really cute and had that Japanese assertiveness gene, and I just really wanted to  strip him naked and tie him spread-eagle, blindfolded to a bed and tickle him with a peacock feather.  But that passed quickly when he showed his romantic side. As soon as they were seated, the young couple plugged in their laptops and tried for a wi-fi connection, of which Amtrak has NONE. FAIL!. He figured this out in no time, put his computer away and fired up a Japanese soap opera on her machine, and they snuggled together and watched it. Later in the trip, he gave his dad some help with a new tablet. Nice guy, I wish him well.

The camera went off by accident, I swear. :-)

Her dad, OTOH, was extremely annoying. He sat there much of the trip cracking sunflower seeds with his teeth, using his cavernous mouth as a sounding board. It sounded like cracking walnuts in a cave.

The train was packed. I was lucky to have no one seated next to me, but my "window" seat had the divider between the windows, so totally crap for photos. I hardly took any. The lounge car had three or four very loud drunks and no empty seats. Where were all these people going on a Monday? Sheesh.

The ride was mostly uneventful until San Luis Obispo, where there was a crew change. The new conductor made the announcements which th previous crew had neglected, such as "drunks will be put off at the next stop". They sobered up pretty quickly. He also pointed out interesting sites and sights, and gave some Little Known History. For instance, who knew that Norma Jean was the first Castroville Artichoke Queen? One thing he missed, though, as we passed through San Miguel, I saw a sign on a bar called The Ranch, which said "We Now Serve Mexican Food", as if it was the only non-Mexican place in town and had succumbed to popular demand by offering tacos or something. When I got home, I found them online here. It appears to be a gay show bar, which only serves Mexican food.

We were side-tracked once, and for some reason we didn't start up again until 15 minutes after the other train had passed. There was a lot of slow going, for no apparent reason.  Even though we were a little bit late, we were not late enough to get a true sunset over Elkhorn Slough, so I faked it with manual shutter/f-stop settings.

Nice sepia tone look was the result.

We arrived in San Jose just about on time, I drove home to a very vocal cat.

As usual, all my best photos are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/how3ird/sets/
Tags: sociology, trains, travel, travel photography

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