Greetings from the late evening San Joaquin train approaching Richmond that I am taking for a final night in California (San Francisco) before I head north to Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and then across on VIA’s Canadian. This trip started this morning with a ride from the old family friends I was staying with to the Burbank Airport train station where my 7:30 bus branded for Amtrak California pulled in late at 7:49. There were maybe 12 people on the bus with a Coach USA driver wearing a tie and starched-white shirt. We pull into Santa Clarita at 8:20, 25 minutes late and it is an uneventful ride through the Grapevine up I-5 to Bakersfield, we get there with just 12 minutes before the scheduled departure of Train #713 and I notice the doors haven’t opened. I see the baggage driver come to our bus to see if there any checked bags (there a few from Van Nuys) but I am told I’m too late to check mine meaning I am stuck with my backpack for the day. I am ticketed on #713 to Wasco (that left on time at 10:05) but have found a bus up to Wasco at 11:30 and have a 2 mile walk over to the old UP Station (still used by the railroad) before walking over to the GET Transit Center for my $2 bus ride up to Wasco. I get there and am stunned at the number of people waiting to board the small 30ish person cutaway van minibus. We leave with maybe 6 empty seats and it starts pouring but stops by the time I get to Wasco at 12:30 as the rain comes to a stop (amazing timing). I do my photo essay of Wasco, photograph an incoming southbound train from a nearby grade crossing, and grab a quesadilla for a first lunch. I return to the station and learn that my next train is delayed (from the LED display) due to a passenger needing medical attention just south of the station. I later learn it’s an 18 year old girl who had an anxiety or other unknown attack (a nurse sitting behind me is chatting about it) but was feeling better when the EMTs arrived and decided to continue her trip to Merced. I am personally surprised that you can’t be forced off the train to be evaluated. This train finally comes in at 2:19 as I start having strange camera issues.
I hop on the train for the half-hour ride and try and troubleshoot, resetting my camera, throw my memory card into my computer and see that none of my last photos from Wasco (taken after my first lunch) were recorded. I get off in Concoran, my final San Joaquin Station and start taking a photo essay from my iPhone (which is just not up to stuff compared to my Canon Rebel). I go to a terrible Pizza place for some lunch that only does pies and open my computer (there is wifi) to try and figure out my camera situation. I take the rest of my pizza with me and go and sit in the Corcoran Station finding out my train has left Bakersfield 30 minutes late. I manage to fix my camera by just taking the lens on and off, something I hadn’t done before. I later find out my last train is late due to snow over Grapevine (closing the I-5 pass, they just don’t try and plow it) and all the thruway connections had to seek alternate routes but they all made the train. The trip is uneventful as I process photos, get up to date on my TripLog, and eat a small but quite good bean burrito and the remains of my pizza from Corcoran for dinner.
We have just arrived in Richmond 17 minutes late as I hit upload. I am taking the train to the bus in Emeryville again since the price was the same (well a $1 more), I don’t feel like paying extra for BART and want an extra 100 AGR points.