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Summer Vacation Trip 2015

by Chris Guenzler

My mother and I wanted to take another trip together and this time I had no train trips planned, so it would be just to catch the Coast Starlight. My mother booked us on the Otter Tour at Moss Landing and got motels in Pismo Beach, Gilroy and Bakersfield. We were all set and waited for the morning to arrive to leave.

8/12/2015 We left at 10:00 AM and took CA 57 north to CA 210 to Interstate 5 then west on CA 126, which we took west to our first stop of the day for me.

The Saticoy Southern Pacific station built in 1887 From here we stopped at Larrianne's Small Wonders for my mother then drove US 101 to CA 1 to Grover Beach where we stopped for dinner at the Rock & Roll Diner in Oceano and had a great meal. Then we continued on CA 1 to Pismo Beach and the Inn at the Cove for the night. Now some views from the room.

Views from our room at the Inn at the Cove.

Views from the trails here.


Views from the room at sunset.

8/13/2015 I arose and took the camera out to the deck of our room for some pictures.

Morning views. We checked out and drove US 101 to Atascadero where we had breakfast at Denny's. From here it was US 101 to King City and Mertz Road to my photo location above Tunnel 5 1/2 and waited for the Coast Starlight, which had already left Salinas on time. I waited 50 minutes for it but then heard a horn and knew it was coming my way.

The Coast Starlight, Amtrak train 11, at Tunnel 5 1/2 in the Salinas Vallley north of King City. This tunnel was my joke Solar Eclipse when I would be in the Parlor Car and be in the aisle with people looking at me and I would go 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 then total darkness until I would go 3, 2 and 1 and daylight would return. It worked on people every time I took a sleeper.

We left this great photo spot and headed north to Hollister as my mother wanted to see this town. Next we went to Gilroy but when we saw a headlight I had to turn around and luck was with me again.

A train on the former Southern Pacific Hollister Branch, San Benito Railroad LLC, at the CA 25 grade crossing.

HLCX GP38-2 3801, nee National Railroad of Mexico 9250 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1975.

HLCX GP38-2 1842, ex. Goderich and Exeter 3523, exx. Union Pacific 362, exxx. Missouri Pacific 2103, nee Missouri Pacific 952 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1973. I could not believe just how lucky I was again. From here we went to Carl's Junior for lunch then I took my mother to the Gilroy Outlet Mall where I bought her a new Timex watch. From here we checked into the Days Inn in Gilroy, went to the Black Bear Diner for our dinner and watched television until it was bed time.

8/14/2015 We awoke at the Days Inn and after I packed up the car, we drove south on US 101 to CA 129 which we took to Watsonville to the first stop of the morning.

The Wastonville Southern Pacific station built in 1895. From here we went to a Gas Foodmart and got donuts and orange juice, then drove south on CA 1 to Moss Landing and our second Elkhorn Slough Safari Otter Tour.

Click here for Part 2 of the story!