Highball 785

Hectic and short trip.

Stay classy, San Diego. See you soon!

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Train treats

Things I love about Amtrak: the box of healthy train treats handed out in Business Class on the Pacific Surfliner.

I brought food of my own (a habit I learned in China,) but these goodies are a nice supplement during the 5 hour trip.

Actor/musician Jack Black and his family were aboard as well. Very cool folks and the kids were impeccably behaved.

Train Dinner

First meal on Amtrak, brought to the room by Dan, the car attendant. With the exception of the sauce, I wolfed it, no pun intended. Train travel is hungry work, especially when you go REAL SLOW through these picturesque downtown areas of Central California coast and farm towns, and you see all of the cool eateries.

Note to self: always bring plenty of (healthy, protein-laden) foods on the train to supplement the meals. I did okay this time, but it never hurts, even on a trip as short as four hours.

Not a University

Just north of San Luis Obispo we passed the California Men’s Institution. This is their Level II unit, a medium-security facility with open dorms.

Something I have long wondered about California prisons nestled in picturesque settings is the degree to which the setting itself is a form of punishment. To be incarcerated amid beauty that you can see but cannot enjoy makes me wonder if it is harsher to be here, or in a facility in the Mojave desert like USP Victorville.

As we pass by, entrained in comfort, I hear the Man in Black singing in my head.

I hear that train a comin’
Rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
In a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars
But I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me

 

 

Songwriter: Johnny R. Cash
Folsom Prison Blues lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Southern Pacific Caboose

Superseded by advances in technology railroad management, the noble caboose no longer rides the rails in the United States. Southern Pacific 1886, shown here, has not only been saved from the scrappers by the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum, they have completely restored her inside and out to a like-new condition.

Riding past this, I added the museum onto my bucket list.