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San Luis Obispo To Fullerton, CA On Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner
Fall Amtrak Vacation Trip 2008
San Luis Obispo To Fullerton, CA
On Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner
October 31st, 2008
Pacific Surfliner Train #774 taking a break in Santa Barbara, CA
Friday, October 31st, 2008
Friday, October 31st, 2008:

   I woke up around 5:00am as I had a 6:00am taxi coming to get me from the hotel to the Amtrak Station.  After packing up my stuff and dropping the room key in the depository (a hole in the wall) at the hotel front desk, my taxi showed up and took me to the Amtrak Station.  I checked both my suitcases when I got there but then didn’t see them go to the train, ouch!!!  It would appear they made more than one trip to the baggage car as ultimately I did get my bags in Fullerton.  The train was parked at the station when I arrived and was set for a 6:45am departure for all points south.  The consist for today’s train is shown below:

Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner Train #774 - 24 Axles
Car/Engine Type:
Pacific Business Class
Business Class Car (My Car)
Ocean Beach
Point Mugu
Coach/Baggage - Cab Control Car

  We left approximately on time around 6:45am and there was coffee and juice boxes along with muffins available for us in the Business Class car. The train had a decent sized crowd boarding in San Luis Obispo as there were several of us in Business Class alone! It was too dark to take any pictures right away as the train left before sunrise. I was able to start to take some pictures near Lompoc and at Santa Barbara, a smoking break was permitted. I stepped off the train to get some pictures of it and when I came back to my seat, I now had another passenger sitting in the aisle seat. I'll describe this person this way: He was a graduate of a very big college in New York who worked in the entertainment industry as he went to school for broadcasting. He was clearly intoxicated when he boarded the train and though I had a decent conversation with him at the start, he would repeatedly tap my shoulder while I was looking out the window of the train trying to take pictures. This of course would possibly cause me to miss a shot from being distracted. As we made our way past more stations, I was repeatedly being tapped on the shoulder by this passenger which was becoming very annoying. To add insult to injury, he decided that it was OK to put cold cream on an open wound on his leg in front of everyone!!! He explained to me that he recently had gotten out of the hospital. Now here's my perspective on this, I'm very thick-skinned and really try my best to not sweat the small stuff when I'm traveling, and this case was no different. The passengers sitting across from me couldn't believe I just sat there and took it all! By the time the train arrived in Los Angeles (Early!) I got off the train to take a few pictures and get some air.
   I then headed back to my seat and once again, this guy is putting cold cream on the open wound. Finally, I'd had enough and asked him if he would consider doing that in the bathroom rather than at his coach seat. He then asked me if I had some issue with his injury? I told him it's not me he has to worry about, but that other passengers might not like what he’s doing. He then mentioned that there was a bunch of passengers of a certain age group that were constantly using the bathroom and thus he didn't want to use it. At this point, what I should have done was complain to the Conductor about this but I decided that since I was getting off at the next stop in Fullerton that complaining now was pointless. I grabbed my camera bag and computer and just rode out the rest of the trip downstairs next to the door of the car. Another passenger getting off in Fullerton decided to do the same (and she was just as grossed out by this guy as I was!) The train arrived at approximately 12:55pm in Fullerton, on time!
   I got off the train and also took some photos of Train #573 which had arrived in Fullerton shortly after #774 (My train) arrived. Someone else took my seat at Los Angeles and would now be riding next to Mr. Personality until he got off in Irvine, CA. The entire ride down the coast was basically uneventful. We only had to stop at Rincon Beach to let Train #799 pass us. It had the same single-level train set as yesterday’s train. I picked up my luggage at the station and called the local Enterprise Rent-A-Car on Commonwealth Ave. in Fullerton to have them come by and pick me up. I was picked up in a Chevy Cobalt and had a choice between that car and a Kia Optima, I chose the Optima as it was a little bigger but in the same vehicle class, as I rented a “Standard” Size car. This is a 2008 Kia and after signing the paperwork, I was off to Placentia, where I would be staying with family for the weekend. This is the first Kia I’ve ever driven and I was very pleasantly surprised at how much power this little car has! It reminds me of my Honda Accord back home, has decent pickup. After leaving Enterprise, I stopped at a 76 Gas Station and filled up the tank in the rental car, then stopped at a Wal-Mart in Brea, CA to pick up some Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi and a bottle of V8 Fusion Juice.
   As I was walking back to the car, I heard someone calling my name (OK, I’m 3000 miles from home and someone's calling my name in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart!!!). It turns out it was one of my cousins who was also there at the same time I was and spotted me in the parking lot! I talked to him for a bit, then stopped by a really bad Chinese restaurant for lunch then headed to my Aunt and Uncle’s house. I did my laundry (had my first "blunder" of the trip and accidentally washed a notepad I left in one of my shirt pockets, thus I would spend the evening removing thousands of tiny pieces of wet paper from my laundry) and assisting in handing out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters who visited the house! I later had some pizza there with my Aunt and Uncle and eventually called it a day…