San Francisco and Los Angeles are two of the more popular travel destinations in the USA and two of the biggest cities in California. The route between the two cities is much-travelled and there are several transportation options: bolakbol (amble), trail, pedal, paddle, aerial or automobile. I thought to toss a coin - heads ocean liner or tails air liner. Well I ain't got a nickel and I ain't got a lousy dime, not even for a coin toss. So I chose rail.
I arrived in the ‘Bay Area' region around San Francisco Bay, the day before. Last evening I commuted downtown across the bay, over the Oakland-SF Bay bridge on the Amtrak thruway bus, to the Embarcadero to soak up a bit of the Financial District, the waterfront and night lights of San Francisco.
Berkeley is one of the most politically liberal cities in the United States. It is well-known as a center for free speech and academic achievement, science and the arts. Wedged between Oakland and Emeryville, Berkeley is the site of the oldest institution in the University of California system, the UC Berkeley. This flagship institution of the UC system occupies just under 500 hectares, slighty larger than the UP Diliman campus. I only stayed overnight in Berkeley but found time early the next morning for a quick ikot jog to the University.
California Zephyr awaiting some attention back at my accommodation. Trotting back from the University to do some laundry, I saw some of Berkeley’s homeless sleeping on streets and railway stations.
Betty sings a song that no one hears
The wind begins to freeze her tears
When the final line unfolds
It don't always rhyme
It's another brand new day, ain't talkin' with no lady, bye to San Francisco bay.
The route of the Coast Starlight follows the old Spanish mission road “El Camino Real” from Oakland to LA. The Royal Road or the King's Highway is a historic 600-mile (966km) overland trail connecting 21 former missions from southern to northern Alta (New or Upper) California. The Mission Trail was used by Spanish explorers and missionaries and early Mexican settlers.
One of the major routes across the central California mountain ranges (from north to south) is US Highway 101. This major arterial is one of the last remaining and longest U.S. Routes.
Significant portions of this highway between the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area follow El Camino Real. We raced the traffic on the highway south to LA from San Jose.
It was somewhere here in Santa Clara Valley that John Steinbeck cultivated the vineyards of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.
Running along the The Santa Cruz Mountain range is the San Andreas Fault - the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. We crossed the San Andreas Fault at Pajaro Gap near Watsonville.
Somewhere here near Castroville is a wildlife lake - the Elkhorn estuarine reserve.
Salinas valley has a perfect climate for farmin includin grape-growin for wine-makin. Somewhere near Salinas, bored, a lette slipped away...
So I did not really see much for the remainder of the trip. We did go past Vandenberg air force base and Santa Ynez mountains. And in the oil fields west of Santa Barbara, there are new housing developments sited on areas formerly occupied by pump-jacks, derricks, and oil storage tanks.
It was late in the Fall and the missin' lette is still missin'. With the sunlight fadin' and the free wind blowin', an' the season's cryin' no despair, I could see Ventura - Highway 101 agin. The days are shorte indeed, e'en in t sunshin' or t beach's an win'ries.
The first earth day was in Santa Barbara. The "American Riviera" city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
In the evening, we go inland again and climb to Simi Valley situated 30 miles from Downtown Los Angeles.
Nice Van Nuys flashed past in the night, and likewise Burbank the "Media Capital of the World", northwest of downtown Los Angeles. But the lights of LA county didn't look like diamonds in the sky...