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Train Travel Meetup Group Trip to Santa Barbara 11/11/2013

by Chris Guenzler

Since our group that meets once a month at Knowlwood's Restaurant in Fullerton had not taken a train trip in months, I decided to host one and bought my Amtrak round trip ticket online to Santa Barbara. I chose Veterans Day since it was a holiday and we always take a trip on that day. The morning of the trip Winston Walker and his daughter Christy picked me up and after a quick trip to the post office, drove to the Santa Ana station and parked. I then walked to the Track One platform and did not have much time to wait for my first train of the morning.

A late-running Pacific Surfliner 562 was the first train of the morning. Winston and Christy soon joined me and we waited to see who else might appear for our trip.

Metrolink 807 was the second train.

Metrolink 683 came into Santa Ana next.

Metrolink 607 bound for Los Angeles with Conductor Bert followed.

Metrolink 682.

He was followed by the Union Pacific Costa Mesa Local.

Metrolink 815 then arrived.

Pacific Surfliner 763 arrived and we boarded the cab car, taking a seat at the table in the middle of the car. The train departed Santa Ana with us wondering who else might joining us down the line. At Anaheim we had a no-show like Santa Ana, but at Fullerton, were joined by Cheryl P. who soon joined us at the table. We had a quick trip to LAUPT and once there, I showed Cheryl my "Year of Trains in the Life of Chris Guenzler" on my laptop which she enjoyed. We left LAUPT a few minutes late and soon we were in the San Fernando Valley. At the Bob Hope Airport, we saw the construction for the new transportation center they are building there, then at Van Nuys, we were joined by Diann of Culver City.

Two passenger cars were west of the Van Nuys station. Good conversations were had as the train made its way north, passing through the tunnels that took us into the Simi Valley. The train rolled along as far as the west switch of Camarillo, where we paused to let Pacific Surfliner 774 go into the siding to clear for us. We stopped at Oxnard and Ventura and then it was picture time.

The train crossed the Ventura River.

The mountain to the northwest of the Ventura River.

Moments later we reached the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

Cheryl P. was enjoying the ocean views.

The train came to La Conchita.

The cross in the picture is for the loss of lives from the mudslides that destroyed homes here in La Conchita years ago.

Besides our small group was a group of Los Angeles Mandarin Chinese-language immersion children on a field trip who were very nice. They were to be speaking only Mandarin Chinese but spoke English at all times except for one child who spoke it to his parents. We arrived early in Santa Barbara and detrained for the usual group picture.

Our group in Santa Barbara. From the station we took the electric bus for 50 cents to The Habit where we had lunch, after which we returned to the Amtrak station the same way and then our two ladies took the walk to Stearn's Wharf while we relaxed at the station. With a large crowd to take the train south this afternoon, we all met up again and waited trackside for our train. A female AC Conductor scanned tickets and gave us hat checks for the train ride home.

Pacific Surfliner 784 arrived and we boarded with the ladies going to the cab car while Winston, Christy and I settled for the Superliner long-distance coach on this trainset. Winston and I shared a set of seats and I showed him some of my programs, as well as getting on the Internet to check a few things.

West of Seacliff siding at MP 386.9, I passed my 1,380,000.0 rail mile. We met Pacific Surfliner 769 at Ventura and at Chatsworth, met Surfliner 774. Diann left us at Van Nuys, then Cheryl joined Christy at her seat. The train became quite full as we neared LAUPT, where we departed standing room only and stayed that way to Fullerton where Cheryl detrained, and Santa Ana, where the three of us detrained. It had been another great Train Travel Meetup Group Amtrak trip and our next one will be to San Luis Obispo on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January 2014. Winston drove me over to Absolute Auto to pick up my car car and a tired Chris drove home.