Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Dad's 79th Birthday by Train

On Sept. 6, my dad turned 79 years old. I rode the Amtrak bus/train to San Diego to celebrate with him and his wife Judith. They've been married 25 years now.

The entire trip, beginning with a bus from Santa Cruz to San Jose, then another bus to Santa Barbara, and finally a train down to San Diego takes about 13 hours, and is scheduled to arrive at 7:50 p.m. Unfortunately, someone ran in front of the train just north of Santa Barbara, which set us back two hours as they waited for the coroner. I asked the conductor if it would be on the evening news, but apparently suicide by train isn't unusual.

Since we were arriving later than planned, I called my niece Corrie to see if she could pick me up at the station instead of my folks. She and I stayed up late watching the news and some other mindless TV programs -- a novelty for me since I don't have TV -- until the wee hours. Since my folks like to sleep in late, Corrie and I had time to hang out in the morning too.

My dad and his wife still live in the house that I grew up in. It's 8 miles north of the Mexican border in a suburb called Chula Vista. I learned a lot of my Spanish from reading the map of San Diego County: Chula Vista (pretty view), Bonita Vista (beautiful view), Monte Vista (mountain view), Mar Vista (ocean view), Buena Vista (good view), Rio Vista (river view), Linda Vista (pretty view again) and of course, Vista, California (just plain view).

San Diego County is mostly Republican, but I was happy to see some Obama supporters in Chula Vista. When we were down at Christmas time, this family had the Barack painting up already. Now they've added a trampoline with Michelle's portrait.

I was only down for the weekend, so I couldn't visit many other friends or relatives. I did get to see a friend's daughter Sarah and her two kids, plus my nephew's wife Shaya and their three kids. In fact, Sarah gave me a ride over to Shaya's and all five kids got to run around and play together while we women took a tour of Shaya's new home and chatted.

The rest of these photos are scenes from the trip back north by train on Labor Day. As I admired the "vistas del mar" (ocean views), it seemed like everyone was enjoying their last moments of summer vacation.

I love train stations. Their high ceilings and archways remind me of cathedrals.

The tile work in the San Diego Union Station has a Moorish influence.

Del Mar


San Clemente

Santa Ana train station

Pismo Beach

Santa Barbara

The bus goes inland at San Luis Obispo.

No comments: