Sunday, July 16, 2006

Southern California Adventure, Day 4

Thursday, July 13

I'm going home today. I'm a little sad that my vacation is coming to an end. My train leaves Irvine at 1:30, and I have to take two buses to get there. If I hurry and get checked out of my motel, I'll have a little bit of time to stop at Joann's which I saw yesterday while I was riding the bus. I look in the yellow pages and there are several Joann's listed, but I figure it's the one in Costa Mesa. I write down the address and phone number; I'll call later for the cross-street so I'll know where to get off the bus.

I get checked out and set out to find the Omelet restaurant around the corner that sounds interesting. Unfortunately when I get to the shopping center, there's only an empty space where the restaurant once was. Bummer. Okay, now what? I remember a Marie Callander's down the street somewhere, but I don't see it on the next block, so I give up. Once I get to Joann's I'll find somewhere to get breakfast.

I cross the street and wait for Bus 55. While I'm waiting I call Joann's and they tell me they're at Harbor and Wilson. I catch the bus and get off at the right bus stop. I look around for a breakfast restaurant, but I don't really see anything. Another bummer. Okay, so where's Joann's? I stop at one of the businesses and ask. It's in the corner across the parking lot. I'm still wondering about breakfast and I see a donut place. Not quite what I was in the mood for, so I start walking toward Joann's, hoping to find something better. I find Brandee's, a mom-and-pop kind of Starbucks. There are a couple of breakfast sandwiches, but not really what I have in mind. When I explain what I'm thinking of, the gal offers to make me a bacon, eggs and toast breakfast. How wonderful! I get an orange juice out of the cooler and sit down to wait for my meal.

After breakfast I'm off to Joann's. It's small, but that's okay. I head to the books, my favorite area. I'm hoping to take home a new quilting book this trip, to add to my library at home. I don't even care that much that I've forgotten my flyer with the 40% off coupon on it. But nothing really calls my name, so I leave empty-handed.

Out to the bus stop. The bus is ten minutes late and I'm starting to get nervous. I've got to transfer to a bus that comes once an hour and if I miss this one, the next bus will just barely get me to the train station on time. I'm wishing I'd caught an earlier Bus 55 so I wouldn't be stressed now. The bus finally comes and I ask the driver if I'll catch Bus 86 on time. He doesn't know. I don't feel any better. We get to the transfer point, the bus driver tells me where to catch Bus 86, I get on and the bus takes off immediately. That was close. Now I can relax.

It's a long ride out to the train station at Barranca and Ada in Irvine. Somewhere along the line I realize that nothing looks familiar. Then I figure out that it's a different bus, different route. Duhhhh. As we turn onto Ada, I tell the driver I want to get off at Barranca, but I don't know how far it is. The last thing I want to do is miss my stop and have to walk an extra half mile or something. The driver lets me off at the proper corner, across the street from the station.

I have an hour to kill before my train comes, so I sip a bottle of water from the snack cafe while I sit at one of the tables in the shade. On a hunch, I check at the Amtrak desk to see which track the train will come on. I'm glad I asked, because it's coming on the other side and I have to use the bridge to cross over to the correct side. It takes a couple of minutes to go up three stories, cross over and down three stories. If I hadn't checked ahead of time, I probably would have missed my train, because they stay in the station only for a few minutes. Whoo!

On the train to Los Angeles, then to the Amtrak bus to Bakersfield. There's only a half-hour layover between the train and bus. Forget about getting something to eat or using the bathroom, for fear of missing the bus. Once I find a seat on the bus I use the tiny on-bus restroom. I recommend you use the facility while the bus is still parked. When the bus is in motion, you may be knocked around like a pinball.

I sleep much of the way to Bakersfield, and I think most of the other passengers are doing the same. Once in Bakersfield I board the train and find a seat. It's dinner time so I head to the cafe car. There's quite a line and it takes about half an hour to get to the front. I get a hot dog, pretzels, apple juice and bottled water. I'll be home in a few hours.

Back in my hometown, my car is still at the station and in one piece. I drive the 20 minutes across town to my house. My Southern California Adventure is over.

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