Back In California

Amtrak Adventure 13/31 (about October 12th, 2021)

It’s been a month and a half since we left the Bay Area after living here for the summer; it’s great to be back (after 10 more hours through the mountains & deserts)!

Yesterday, we finished out the California Zephyr. We woke up in the middle of Nevada (for real—the first time we woke up was in Salt Lake City, at 2 AM, when someone brought their screaming kid onboard to sit right behind us) and spent most of the day in the lounge car, reading and writing and talking with fellow passengers.

It was quite relaxing, a final rest before a hectic week in CA; not having cell service, I read all of JFK’s “Profiles In Courage,” an account of eight historically courageous (usually constituent-defying) actions of US Senators. Pretty interesting stories—I’m sure they weren’t entirely objective or accurate, though.

For lunch, I finished off the loaf of bread I’d brought along (with some peanut butter & jelly) to make sandwiches to avoid overpriced train café food. But when I took it out, I discovered that I’d slammed my footrest down into the loaf overnight… which left an interesting triangle/boomerang shape in all the slices. Still tasted the same, though!

After a few hours of desert and mountains, we started seeing more and more trees. Mattea noticed this and pointed it out—”I think we’re almost in California!”

Sure enough, we were 10 minutes from the border. It’s remarkable how quickly the climate changes as we cross—Nevada is firmly a mountain state, and California a West Coast state, with the temperate forests we know and love so well.

Just after sunset, we got off in Richmond and took the BART (“Bay Area Rapid™ Transit”—a not-so-rapid subway) to the Mission district of SF, where we filled up on food from “Taqueria El Farolito,” a deservedly famous Mexican place. It’s so good that it’s sad: most Mexican food is just disappointing now, after having their burritos.

And then we retreated back across the Bay to our Airbnb in West Oakland. I spent the evening working; Mattea journaled and went to bed early. Not much excitement to write about, on these long days of travel!

The next two days should be similarly basic: we’ll be putting in a week’s worth of WiFi work in two long days, with occasional interruptions to eat and chat with friends. At least, that’s the plan! 😊

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