Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Catch 44

That's catch 22 x 2. Coincidentally, when the dictator of Thailand last year decided he wanted to have absolute power but he wanted it to have the appearance of a legal democratic process, he created Section 44, which basically says that he can immediately order anything regardless of its constitutionality. The good news is he has used it to reclaim massive chunks of national parks, bulldozing resorts, restaurants and shops which were built illegally (usually through bribery, sometimes by creating bogus deeds). The bad news is he has used it to clamp down on all kinds of criticism - revoking TV and radio station licenses, sending civil activists to military court, calling political rivals in to military bases for re-education.

But I digress.

Plan A was to go to the Niles Canyon Railway station in Fremont and buy a one way ticket on the 1:20 train to Sunol and then wait an hour for the special mixed freight steam train returning to Fremont at 3:20. I got to the station an hour early because I am like that (I way overestimate how long the drive is). Went to the ticket office, and they did not have a clue what I was talking about. It turns out that the ticket people are not involved with the special train. All they knew was the 1:20 was a round trip, and it returned at about 3:30, and at 4 pm they would be locking the gate to the parking lot. Th 3:20 from Sunol would arrive after 4 pm, so there would be no way to get my car out.

"How about if I parked my car around the other side, by the new train station museum, which had free unlimited parking till 10 pm?" says I. "Yes, you can do that," they said, "there is a pedestrian gate which is not locked, so you could get out if the Sunol train will let you debark here."

Which raised the question of "would it?". Looking on the web site, there was nothing about the special train other than it left Sunol at 3:20 and cost $18.

One of the three ticket mavens phoned the Sunol ticket maven, and I asked her. "No", she said, "the special train will not stop in Fremont". 

The other alternative was to drive to Sunol, which could be done in the time frame, but then I would have to drive home from Sunol, in probably the rain and maybe in the dark.  I had already driven for an hour to get to Fremont, and Sunol was up a long winding road further up the hill.

Back when I first explained Plan A to the ticket people, the ticketmaster gave me a comp which was good for a round trip from Fremont. I decided to punt, and took the 1:20 to Sunol, and stayed on it for the return trip. Both going up to and coming back down from Sunol, we passed the mixed freight train 10 minutes from Sunol, parked at the trainyard in what had once been the town of Brightside. This is where all the rolling stock is parked and most of the repair and remodeling and rebuilding is done. The #2 steam engine was already fired up and appeared ready to go. Many people were already on board. WTF?

While we were waiting for the train to arrive in Fremont, it rained heavily two times for about 3 minutes each time. Very typical cold front weather. Cumulus clouds, the kind that later become thunderheads. And it rained a little on the way up, but we were dry on the way back and for the hour I spent in Niles (the part of Fremont in which the station is located).

I waited an hour because I wanted to get a photo of the mixed freight train pulling into the station. But it was not to be. Engine #2 appeared by itself, tooted it's whistle and reversed back the way it came, no other cars in sight.  Bummer. And WTF? What happened to the other cars & passengers? But the good news is I was not stranded.

Back to my side of the bay, and coffee with Janice. It was warm enough to sit outside at first, but we put on jackets for the final half hour. Her love life is back at a standstill. She said my profile came up on a dating site she uses which I had resigned from about 3 years ago. No wonder she doesn't get any dates there. I may have to log in and scrub my profile.

Home, watched the Raiders squeak by the Ravens on fast forward. This morning I had watched the first half of the game in London, and was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to mute the center speaker. The commentators kept a moderate volume going, and they stuck to calling the game. They even kept quiet when there was nothing to say. A miracle.

Dinner was a small spaghetti & meatballs frozen thing from Lean Cuisine. I added my own Parmesan. Dessert was mango chunks and walnuts.

Plans for tomorrow:
Check out pickleball at the sr. center
Phone See's about their candymaker training program
Movie theater interview at 3:20 in Mountain view across the street from where Janice & I meet for coffee
Watch the 49ers on DVR(?)
Watch the Seahawks on DVR (?)

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