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California Coastal Railfanning 2012: Jalama Beach
  After seeing other railfans photography at this beautiful park, I knew I had to experience this place for myself. Jalama Beach is a Santa Barbara County park that is really hidden away from the rest of the world! To get there, you need to drive up California Highway 1 to just south of Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, then take a 14 mile narrow, very hilly, winding road through the mountains that eventually crosses the Union Pacific mainline that Amtrak trains use. It costs $10.00 a day to park there so once I paid to park and parked the car, I noticed right away that this really is a little hideaway in the middle of literally nowhere!!! I couldn't help but think of that song by Rascal Flatts called "Banjo"! To get an idea of how secluded this place is, there is NO CELL PHONE SERVICE ANYWHERE HERE!!! That said, the GPS had no problem finding the place but my phone was a glorified paperweight while I was here! I wanted to photograph Amtrak trains going over the bridge at Jalama.
  One thing Jalama Beach is noted for is the famous "Jalama Hamburger" which you can get at the "Jalama Beach Store" which is a full service store/restaurant on site. While I was waiting for my burger inside the restaurant, Train #14 – The Coast Starlight ended up passing by so I missed photographing that train, BUMMER! The burger and fries I ate however were delicious. I then ventured outside and took some photos of Jalama Beach and the beautiful Pacific Ocean! Eventually, Surfliner train #790 passed by. Later on, a Union Pacific freight also passed by. My main goal was now to photograph the southbound Coast Starlight, Train #11. Since my cell phone was dead, I couldn't check the status of the train without leaving the beach to find a payphone. Couple that with not being sure if the train was gonna whiz by while I wasn't on the beach waiting for it. So I waited, waited, and waited some more, to the point that my glasses were getting fogged up by the salt and the ocean mist (camera lens had a filter on it so it was fine!). One thing you see no shortage of here are birds! This "sorta" scared me because back in 2010, one of those "rodents with wings" er um, seagulls, took a dump on my camera!!! Thankfully, that didn't happen this time around! Finally, the Starlight made its way through and with that, I decided it was time to leave as it was getting dangerously close to sunset and I really didn't want to be driving up that 14 mile winding road in the dark! I departed Jalama shortly before sunset and photographed the road crossing for the trains there before heading back to CA Highway 1 and eventually US 101 which would take me back to Oxnard. Included here are some photos taken while visiting this wonderful beach!!!
The full-service Jalama Beach Store, home of the Jalama Burger!!!
I love this sign!!! Keep the bad attitudes out of the store! Oh, and for the record, service animals are permitted inside.
You'll see what a Jalama Burger looks like in a little bit!
The famous "Jalama Burger" with bacon and their secret sauce with a huge plate of fries and a Diet Coke!
A poor attempt at "nature photography"! A seagull atop an SUV parked outside the Jalama Beach Store!
Now out on the beach looking towards Los Angeles which from this angle is actually east.
This view is looking towards Lompoc and at this point, points west! Once again, I love that deep blue sky!!!
Now of course, I did come here to go railfanning! This is Pacific Surfliner Train #790 heading south towards Los Angeles and San Diego.
The F59PHI on this train is "pushing" it from behind. Those seagulls in the river in the foreground would every once in awhile start flying
all over the place, then congregate again somewhere else on the beach!
Another view of Train #790 riding past the hidden Jalama Beach Park and Campgrounds.
Seagulls taking a break in the river! Due to it being a low tide period, I was standing on a sand dune to get this photo as this
river didn't connect with the ocean that day. When these birds starting flying around, it scared me because one of them took
a dump on my camera in San Clemente when I visited there in 2010! Thankfully, that didn't happen this year!
A Union Pacific freight was the next train to visit Jalama Beach that day. UP owns the rail line through here though its primary
user is definitely Amtrak. There's only a handful of UP freights that use this line anymore so seeing one is somewhat rare.
The same UP freight passing by the campgrounds!
Though it's a good distance away, Amtrak's Coast Starlight streaks past the ocean as it gets closer to sunset at Jalama Beach!
Train #11 - The Coast Starlight now passes through Jalama Beach with the same 2 P42's that pulled my Coast Starlight back on
October 20th, being the 153 and 20. It was getting very close to sunset as evidenced by the sun shining so brightly on the sides
of the Superliners in the train.
Train #11 passing by Jalama Beach park, that stainless steel really shines up in the sun at a low angle!
The kids playground with cabins and camper parking spots in the background at Jalama Beach.
More camper spots and cabins. You can see here how that railroad bridge forms the back of the park.
The Jalama Beach Road crossing the Union Pacific mainline here. I got this photo as I was leaving the beach.
One more for the road! I definitely want to come back here again someday!!!
  Well, I made the return drive back up that 14 mile winding road to get back to CA Highway 1 and eventually back to Oxnard. I hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I did experiencing this place! Tomorrow will be my last full day here and will feature photos taken at the one and only Gaviota State Beach, click the link below!!!