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Los Angeles, CA To Fullerton, CA On Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner Service
Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner Train #768 during it's brief station stop
at Fullerton, CA on Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Friday, October 2nd, 2009:
  After photographing the Coast Starlight, I grabbed my two suitcases and walked to L.A. Union Station track #9B. I just barely made this train because it left maybe 5 minutes after I boarded, on time at 9:40am. It wouldn't have been a big deal had I missed it because I just would have caught the next one. I rode in Coach #6408 but would only stay in the coach for about half the 30 minute ride as my luggage was very heavy and I wanted to get everything down to the lower level of the car so as to be able to get off the train and get a picture of it before it left. I had an interesting conversation with another passenger mostly about gambling! At 10:10am, Train #566 arrived in Fullerton, CA and I made it to my final destination on rails, on time! The consist for today's train is shown below...
Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner Train #768 - Friday, October 2nd, 2009 - 24 Axles
Car/Engine Type:
Pacific Business Class
Echo Park   
Business Class Car
Carbon Canyon 
Coach/Cafe Car
Capistrano Beach 
Superliner I Coach/Baggage
 Point Mugu
Coach/Baggage/Control Car
  There were a bunch of railfans sitting at an umbrella table outside the Santa Fe Express Cafe. I chatted with them for a bit and saw a couple BNSF freights while there. I then ventured out to the back of the station so as to wait for Enterprise Rent-A-Car to come by and pick me up. I had a rental car reserved for an hour later than I called them at, but making it there early allowed me to be able to possibly pick up the car early. They originally wanted to give me a Chrysler PT Cruiser but after having had a Chrysler product in Ohio on this trip, I wanted something different. They had a Chevy Malibu on the lot that was the car they drove me to their office in from the train station. It fit the "Standard Size" I had reserved and so I asked for that car which is the one I ended up getting. After picking up the car, I drove over to a nearby Chevron station to fill up the gas tank and get some snacks for the road! I left around noon and headed for Las Vegas!
  And so the "road trip" begins. As I was climbing up over Cajon Pass, I could see freight trains near the interstate. I can only imagine how tough it must be to get trains over that grade!!! I stopped in Barstow at a McDonald's to get some food and continued the drive. I also stopped in Baker, CA to visit the World's Tallest Thermometer! This is located about 100 miles from Vegas just off I-15. This is also the location where I would end up finding a problem with the rental car that made me wish I would have taken a different car! There was a problem with a piece of molding on the car body that I discovered now 100 miles into the trip. I called Enterprise and they noted my account and told me I had no worries (which ended up being the case eventually but still, you don't want to run into these problems while you're on vacation!). I couldn't help but notice just how many traffic signs were tagged by vandals along the way, very sad! About 10 miles before you get to the Nevada State Border, you go down a 6% grade over 10 miles!!! There were yellow barrels and at least one runaway truck pull-off along the way! You can ride the brakes quite a bit along this part of the route. At the bottom of the hill, Welcome To Nevada!!! Eventually, you drive around a bend between 2 mountains and there is Las Vegas!!! My hotel was in Henderson, NV, a nearby suburb.
  I'll explain why I chose to stay here verses on the strip. I wanted a nice quiet hotel and the fact that this one was located where it was, coupled with the fact that it had just opened in early September 2009, I knew I needed to check it out. It was a Springhill Suites By Marriott! I arrived at the hotel just after 6pm (after sunset) and checked in. The room was very nice and has a huge flat panel TV along with wired free high-speed internet! Unfortunately, the internet didn't work in the room I was given so after working with the hotel's maintenance department to ensure it was their network and not my computer, they graciously put me in a different room where the internet worked! I put in a load of laundry and went on the internet to take care of some "housekeeping". I backed up pictures from my camera and such. I decided I wanted to go out and get some food so I picked up some Pringles and some bottled water and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi at a nearby Albertson's Grocery Store. I did something at this store that I've never done before, played video poker! Surprisingly, I ended up leaving with exactly the same amount of money as I walked in there with, a whopping $10.00!!! I later tried to go to a fast-food restaurant only to find the one I tried (Jack In The Box) was closed at 9:45pm! This is one thing about the west that makes no sense to this New Yorker! How is it possible that fast food restaurants close so early around here? This also holds true in Southern California! Back home, most fast food restaurants are open until like midnight and most McDonald’s are at least open 24 hours in the drive-thru! I ended up falling asleep around 10:30pm and so that ends today. Tomorrow, I would take the drive over to nearby Boulder City, NV to go ride the Nevada Southern Railway, check it out!