Friday, July 14, 2006

Southern California Adventure, Day 1

Monday, July 10

I'm taking Amtrak to Southern California for a four-day vacation. It will be a long day, taking the train to Bakersfield, connecting bus to Los Angeles, another train to Irvine, and then two city buses to Costa Mesa. I've done my homework, know which city buses I need, and have printouts in hand.

On the train I meet George who is also going to Irvine. He will stay the night with a friend, then fly to Florida for a nine-day road trip with some buddies. It turns out that George travels by train often, as I do, and we share travel tips, stories and dreams with each other. George has never been to the Los Angeles train station, and my helpful hints only serve to make him a bit nervous, so we decide to stick together until we get to Irvine.

During the layover at Los Angeles, George and I get a sandwich special (sandwich, chips and soda) at the bagel cafe in the main waiting room, and eat at the nearby tables. Afterwards we take a little stroll outside, then sit in the pretty, peaceful courtyard near the bus parking. On the other side of the waiting room is another courtyard with a couple of fountains and lots of tables and umbrellas. We sit out there for a while, also. I've been through this train station many times, but never realized such a treasure existed. I know where I'll eat my lunch next time.

We get back on the train and shortly arrive at Irvine. I've got to figure out where the bus is, so George and I say a quick good-bye. We've already exchanged email addresses, and promise to keep in touch. I have to ask several people, but finally find out where to find Bus 211, and hurry out to the corner. I don't have to wait too long before the bus comes. The ride involves a transfer to bus 55, and 1.5 hours later I arrive within half a block of my motel at 17th and Superior in Costa Mesa. My research has paid off once again.

I check in, then call my son Robbie to tell him I arrived safely. There's a shopping center next to the motel, and I wonder if there's a grocery store, so I call the main desk to ask. There's no grocery store there, but there is one a couple of blocks away. I head out, find the grocery store and buy snacks. Then I have dinner at Outback Restaurant, dining outside on the patio. I'm all alone out there, and there isn't much to look at, just the traffic; but I relish the moment, enjoying the fact that I'm in Southern California. I relive the day's happenings and look forward to what the next three days will bring.

After dinner I go back to the motel, make plans for tomorrow, watch TV, then go to sleep.

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