As all great things have to come to an end, at some point, so does this journey. I woke up in Sacramento this morning, California’s capital. Well I had woken up many times during the night as I didn’t get the best sleep on the aisle seat. However, somehow I had managed to fall asleep again. I still could remember some of the station stops the train did during the night like in Klamath Falls, OR, Dunsmuir, CA, Redding, CA and Chico, CA. It felt good to be back in California, it was almost like coming back home. Also the train had made up the delay during the night and was almost on schedule again. Soon after I had gotten up I went to the launch car in order to get some breakfast. After Sacramento the train did stops in Davis, CA and Martinez, CA before reaching Emeryville, CA. Soon before Emeryville a beautiful view opened up towards San Francisco and I could see the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco. At 8.20 am we reached Emeryville where my journey had begun exactly 45 days ago when I had boarded the first train there, the California Zephyr to Denver. After a few minutes the Coast Starlight did its next stop at Oakland Jack London Square station. Running along the bay we reached San Jose, CA about an hour after we had left Oakland. Most of the following morning the train was running through the endless farm lands of Northern California. I stayed all morning in the launch car and spent the time with writing. The next stop Salinas, CA was reached well ahead schedule but the departure got delayed by more than 15 minutes due to a medical emergency. The ambulance had to be called. Soon after we had left Salinas the dining car attendant came in order to collect orders for lunch. All spots had been filled with sleeping car passengers and I was put on the waiting list. I was sitting in the first car right behind the diner and was therefore number one on the waiting list. Still I didn’t expect to be called to the diner any soon. Therefore I got a little snack from the launch car cafeteria. I had just opened the package when they announced the first seating and the parties on top of the waiting list. I had to rush to get the snack back to my seat together with my PC and camera. I was just downloading pictures from the camera to my computer. I had my obligatory Veggie Burger, now for the last time. After lunch I returned first to my seat, just to find another fellow passenger that had now gotten the window seat next to me. I finished my snack and went back to the launch car where I could sit by the window and enjoy the beautiful Central Californian landscape. The next stop was in Paso Robles, CA which we reached about 30 minutes behind schedule. Before approaching San Luis Obispo, CA some breathtaking views opened up and the train took some very sharp turns. As I was seated in the middle of the train I could see both ends of the train at once. After we had left San Luis Obispo I got some company at my table in the launch car, a very friendly older gentlemen from Simi Valley. We had some interesting travel stories to share and once we got closer towards Santa Barbara he pointed out many interesting spots along the tracks as he was very familiar with the area. He was very inspired by my 45 USA Rail trip and got very interested in doing a similar trip in the future. Once we reached the coast the scenery became indescribable beautiful as the train went very close along the coast. Closer than any road, even the Pacific Coast Highway, would ever get you. We had a short stop in Santa Barbara, CA before we continued along the coast. Soon before we reached Oxnard, CA we left the coast behind and went inland. From Oxnard is was about two more hours to Los Angeles. The train did some last stops in Simi Valley, CA, Van Nuys, CA, Burbank-Bob Hope Airport, CA and finally at 8.40 pm about 20 minutes ahead time the Coast Starlight pulled into Los Angeles Union Station. After 215 hours on the train and 10.110 miles on the rails I was back in LA. I claimed my bags and was then off to the bus that took me to my apartment.
|Coast Starlight at LA Union Station|