October 20th, 2014


Long long day of Plan C

So I get to the San Jose Amtrak station and for the first time on a non-holiday the parking lot was not just full, two urban assault vehicles were parked up on the lawn under a tree. The lot next door, which was supposed to have been made into Amtrak overflow, instead is now a city lot with a 72 hour limit, and you have to feed the meter every 24 hours. And it was full.

There is a ton of CalTrans parking, but they don't allow overnight. WTF?  Thanks to the SAP Center and hockey season, there is no week-long parking anywhere within walking distance.

So I drove home, and on my way changed my reservation from the train to the bus for the first leg.

Put my pack on my back and grabbed the shopping bag with snacks and a jacket and my camera, and hoofed it to dark rail. It came in about 10 minutes, and got me to the station in time for the 11:35 bus. Which did not arrive until half an hour later. This made it chancy that we would get to Santa Barbara in time for my connection.

As it turned out, the Coast Starlight was almost an hour late into SJC, had I known I would have been able to take dark rail instead of driving (I got out of the house too late).

The bus turned out to be a milk run. I thought it only stopped in SLO, but it made stops in Salinas, Paso Robles, Atascadero, SLO, Pismo Beach, Santa Maria, Solvang and Buelton. I may have left out one or two.

We were running late, but at SLO we got a new driver, and he made up the time in the final stretch, so we arrived at Santa Barbara early. 6:34 for a 6:59 connection.

Which was late, because it had to wait for the Coast Starlight to come through, Which had to wait for a massive freight train full of empty flatbeds.

Left on the Pacific Surfrider after dark, 7:10 or so, got to Ventura about 7:45, walked 20 minutes to the motel. Vagabond Inn is my favorite place to stay in Sacramento, so I decided to try the one here. It is excellent. Fridge, microwave, queen bed, pool, restaurant attached.

Checked in, got to the room, grabbed my Kindle and went to that attached place for dinner. Wait staff all older than me. Reminded me of Val's in Alviso. Ordered something resembling beef Stroganoff, with navy bean soup. The soup arrived instantly, and was very good, The beef and noodles were good too, but I had been snacking all the way here, and didn't have much of an appetite left.

The whole trip there was no photo op because the bus had heavily tinted, high glare windows. Some of the views were great, but color shifted.

Plans for tomorrow:
Continental breakfast?
Walkabout with the camera. Put the telephoto lens on.
Find places to eat