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Los Angeles To San Luis Obispo & San Jose, CA On Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner
  If there's been one recurring theme throughout this entire journey, it would be that on this trip, there's "no rest for the weary"! I knew this was gonna be a long day for me due to the amount of traveling needed, so I woke up around 4:15am and started getting everything packed up so I could check out of the hotel, which I did so at around 5:00am. I then drove back to Enterprise's facility for the Los Angeles Airport which is located off-site from the airport itself. I then took their shuttle bus back to Terminal 1 at LAX and caught the FlyAway Bus back to Union Station. Upon arrival there, I found out my train today, Pacific Surfliner #761 would be boarding from Track #9B as I saw this posted on one of the overhead display boards. I headed over to the Amtrak ticket counters so as to check my two suitcases. I chose to check them because the rules as to how big your bags can be on this train are such that one of my bags was too big. I had the bags checked all the way to San Jose (now I have that Dionne Warwick song "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" playing in my head, I am a DJ after all!) which for Amtrak would be my endpoint destination for this leg of the trip, as the train goes as far as San Luis Obispo, then an Amtrak California Thruway Bus continues the trip to San Jose. Now why didn't I jus take the Coast Starlight as this would have meant no bus ride? Well, it's all about timing. I would have run the risk of not getting to the San Francisco Airport to get my rental car in time and potentially miss riding the Napa Valley Wine Train tomorrow, so the decision was rather clear, take the earlier train/bus combo and have enough time to pick up the car at the place I'll ultimately be flying home from.
  After checking my bags, I proceeded over to the new Metropolitan Lounge inside Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. It is a very nice lounge that has the standard amenities other lounges have like comfortable chairs, tables, free pop & coffee, as well as muffins. I had a chat briefly with the attendant as I was actually one of the only people in the Lounge! He told me to head for Track #9B around 7:15am, which was 20 minutes before we would be scheduled to depart. At 7:15am, I did just that and once I got to the platform, I started getting roster photos of the entire train, as well as a few on another train parked there. On an adjoining track, two private cars including former-Santa Fe "Acoma" and Southern Pacific "Overland Trail" were on southbound Pacific Surfliner Train #564, heading for San Diego. After taking some photos, I boarded Pacific Business Class Car #6800 as I would be riding in Business Class on this train. The consist and roster photo tour of today's train is shown below...
 I initially took a seat on the wrong side of the car as I wanted to be on the ocean's side of the train for photography purposes. The conductor lifted our tickets shortly after departing Los Angeles, which we departed on time at 7:35am. He told me I could sit wherever I wanted as there wasn't a lot of people on the train today. The attendant in the car gave everyone a copy of the USA Today newspaper, along with a box of juice or cup of coffee and a sweet roll, which was excellent by the way! We made our first station stop at Glendale, CA at 7:47am and departed on time at 7:48am. We did, on multiple occasions have to stop to wait for another train to pass us by shortly after Glendale, but this time it wasn't a freight train, rather a Metrolink commuter train! Metrolink owns and dispatches this main line up to Moorpark, CA where Union Pacific takes over. We arrived at our next stop of Burbank-Bob Hope Airport, CA at 8:02am and quickly departed at 8:03am, 3 minutes late. Our nest station stop coming up would be Van Nuys, CA where we arrived at 8:11am and quickly departed at 8:12am, 2 minutes late. We were in a time frame where there were several Metrolink trains running during the morning rush-hour so the railroad was quite busy at this time. We made our next stop at Northridge, CA at 8:20am and quickly departed at the same time. For whatever reason, the Northridge stop was not in the timetable for this train.
  Our next stop would be Chatsworth, CA where we arrived at 8:26am, having arrived too early so a brief smoking break was permitted here. I stepped off the train to get a few pictures and we departed Chatsworth on time at 8:32am. We would pass southbound Surfliner Train #768 somewhere just past the Chatsworth station. We were then stopped to allow a southbound Metrolink train to pass us. We made our next stop at Simi Valley, CA at 8:49am, and departed at 8:50am, running 5 minutes late, due to some "passenger train congestion" rather than freight congestion! At our next stop of Moorpark, CA, we would be at the last stop on this main line while still dispatched by Metrolink. We arrived there at 9:01am and departed at 9:03am, now 6 minutes late. We would encounter a red signal right at the point where Union Pacific takes over. The engineer then contacted the UP dispatcher and we got our clear at the "Las Poses" signal and would now be on Union Pacific tracks the rest of the way.
  The passenger sitting behind me was very knowledgeable about the area we were traveling through, it was always interesting conversation. There were also two women sitting across from me, one seat over, working on their laptops. The Business Class car features some seating that has large tables so you can work in groups and have your computers running. I had my laptop with me onboard but never had a reason to use it on this part of the trip. I headed over to the Coach/Cafe car and picked up a Turkey Sandwich on wheat bread and a Diet Pepsi, and the sandwich was very tasty!!! We made our next stop at Camarillo, CA at 9:14am, and departed at 9:16am, now 6 minutes late. I enjoyed the sandwich and actually (as goofy as this may sound), took a photo of a McDonald's I ate at in Oxnard two years ago that was located near the tracks, this was also a place I wanted to get a picture of one of these trains from on that trip but never did get the chance! We arrived at our next stop of Oxnard, CA at 9:27am and quickly departed at 9:28am, running 7 minutes late. We were finally getting closer to the ocean, one of the biggest reasons why you would want to take this train! We made our next stop at Ventura, CA at 9:39am and departed at 9:41am, running 6 minutes late. We needed to stop just past the Ventura station to let southbound Surfliner Train #774 pass us as the main line was single track ahead. We eventually made our way to the ocean at Emma Wood State Beach which was the place I started my railfanning at each day during my 2012 trip when I was in this area. I can never get enough of the beautiful Pacific Ocean!!!
  We would ride past many beaches before coming up on our next stop of Carpinteria, CA which we arrived and departed at 10:12am, still 6 minutes late. We arrived at our next stop of Santa Barbara, CA at 10:26am and were allowed a very brief smoking break there. I got a couple very quick photos and we were on our way out at 10:29am, now 7 minutes late. At our next stop of Goleta, CA, Amtrak has a small maintenance facility and car washer there as one Surfliner train does layover there overnight. We arrived there at 10:40am and departed at 10:41am, still 7 minutes late. We eventually passed Gaviota State Beach where I railfanned at during my 2012 trip! Gaviota features a very long fishing pier which I stood at the end of to get some beautiful pictures of trains going over the huge bridge near the beach, what a trip that was!
  Unfortunately, the weather was now taking a turn for the worse as light rain was in the area along with dense fog as we continued moving north. We eventually entered an area with no cell phone service which proved to be an issue for the passenger behind me who was trying to conduct business! I picked up some doughnut holes and a Diet Pepsi from the the Cafe Car as we would pass another area I was very familiar with from a prior trip. This would be Jalama Beach which was another place I visited on my 2012 trip! Thinking back, I can still taste that Jalama Burger, it was delicious!!! Now riding through Vandenburg Air Force Base, we made our next stop at Lompoc-Surf, CA at 11:52am and departed at 11:54am, now down 14 minutes. The lateness of this train is not an issue for me as the bus I'm connecting to in San Luis Obispo can't leave until this train arrives anyway. We made our next stop of Guadalupe, CA at 12:28pm and departed at 12:30pm, running still 14 minutes late. Our next stop would be Grover Beach, CA where we arrived at 12:43pm, and departed at 12:44pm, having made up a little time, now 9 minutes late. Throughout the trip, the crew always made appropriate announcements along the way and would of course tell us that San Luis Obispo was the final stop. We would arrive there at 1:03pm, thanks to some schedule padding, only 3 minutes late.
  The bus that would take me to San Jose was waiting out front of the station, so I got a very quick picture of the train and headed over to the station. My bags were checked to San Jose so I didn't have to carry them myself. The driver scanned our tickets the same as conductors do and my bags were brought over to the bus by a member of the station crew. I ran inside the station to quickly buy a bottle of Diet Pepsi before boarding. The bus was operated by a company called "Silverado" on behalf of Amtrak California. This bus was very clean and featured comfortable seating, AC outlets and each seat, garbage bags on the wall on each side, and it had a small bathroom in the back. After the driver gave a safety speech, we departed San Luis Obispo. We would make stops at California Polytechnic Institute in SLO, as well as the Paso Robles, CA Amtrak Station. We also made a meal stop at King City, CA at McDonald's. We had about 15 minutes there and were able to bring our food onboard the bus which was what I did. For this part of the route, we mostly traveled up US Highway 101 which paralleled the main line the Coast Starlight uses but it was running late today so I never saw it. We eventually stopped at the Amtrak Station in Salinas, CA and the driver walked through the bus to collect trash. We eventually arrived at the San Jose, CA Amtrak Station where I retrieved my bags and bought a ticket for CalTrain to get to the station in Millbrae, CA.
  Upon boarding CalTrain Train #277, I realized I had boarded the wrong train as this one didn't stop in Millbrae! Thankfully, the conductor came by and told me I should get off this train at Palo Alto, CA, then board the train behind it which was Train #381. The conductor had a Conrail pin on his ID badge (he told me his grandfather worked for them) and he has a brother that works for Amtrak, so the railroad was very much in his family. I couldn't help but notice that most of the passengers sitting next to me were using some form of an Apple product, whether it was a MacBook Pro, an iPad, or an iPhone! I'm a "PC" so I had to finally ask, does anyone here use a PC anymore??? One of the passengers told me PC's were out of style. Oh well, I have an iPhone and few iPods, but other than that, I'm still a PC! We were not far from Cupertino, CA which of course is where Apple is based so with us being so close to there (and just being here in Silicon Valley), it's no surprise how popular Apple products are here! I did get off the train in Palo Alto and the correct train arrived less than 10 minutes later. I boarded that train and got to Millbrae, CA which is where I then boarded BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the San Francisco International Airport. I then proceeded to the tram at the airport which took me to the rental car facility (BART drops you off at the International Terminal so you need to use the tram to get to where you want to go at the airport once you arrive there). I then proceeded to Enterprise's desk and rented the fourth of four cars on this trip, which would be a 2014 Nissan Rogue SUV. So lets see, in one day, I used the following modes of transport: car, bus, rail, commuter rail, light rail, tram, then car again, that might be a record for me!
  I set the GPS to take me to the Courtyard By Marriott in Vacaville, CA which would be my hotel for this leg of the trip. This would be where I would have another "blunder" with the GPS! Remember earlier in the trip when I was in Florida and I had set it to avoid toll roads after the fiasco I had with one while there? Well, I forgot to set it back to normal when I left the rental car facility. I knew there would be one toll bridge, the Carquinez Bridge on I-80 which had like a $5.00 toll and they had live toll collectors there so it wasn't a big deal to use that bridge. Having not reset the GPS, it had me going through a bunch of very busy city streets and up the Golden Gate Bridge (which in itself is quite nice and there's no toll going north) to California Highway 37 and eventually to I-80 the rest of the way to Vacaville. Ironically, as soon as I got onto Route 37, a song from the band "Train" was playing in the CD player in my rental car (yes, call me old fashioned, I still like to have a mix CD to listen to!) and the song "Hey Soul Sister" from their album "California 37" was playing, and no I never planned for that to happen! A very tired me, eventually arrived at the hotel. I put my bags in the room and ran over to a nearby Popeye's restaurant and grabbed a late dinner to go, then ate dinner in the hotel room, and called it a very long (started at 4:15am, and it was now after 10:00pm), but very productive day. Included below is a link to photos taken on the train & bus ride today and then, I'm off to a place that's so peaceful and beautiful, and the wine ain't bad either, yes, I am returning to Napa Valley to ride the world class Napa Valley Wine Train! I've been waiting for this for over a year!!! Check out the link below for what will be another beyond world class experience!!!