Facebook Page
Long Beach and La Canada Flintridge

Little Gems in Our Neighborhood

Part One

October 8, 2016


Road Trip to Long Beach and La Canada Flintridge, CA


Robin Bowers

Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated at...

    Today's adventure started when I picked up Chris Guenzler in Santa Ana. From there we went on I-5 to the 22 to the 405 ending at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, CA.

    The seed for this trip started germinating several weeks back when Chris was lamenting the fact that this weekend there would be no passenger train service  for Orange County so we were looking for a plan B to find a train to ride on the weekend. From Orange County there were no trains to Los Angeles nor to San Diego. The problem with the Los Angeles bound traffic was that the city was demolishing the iconic and venerable Sixth Street bridge. The bridge was the way for residents of east Los Angeles to get to work and shopping in downtown Los Angeles. It had been in several movies and part of a lot of peoples lives over the years. The concrete used in the bridge was reacting to the elements and deteriorated beyond saving. So it is being replaced with a new and wider one. The bridge starts on the east side crossing the UP rail tracks, crossing the Los Angeles River, then on the west side over the Santa Fe tracks, then the Amtrak yard. Demolishing started several months ago on the east side and have worked over to the west bank of the LA River. Now the tracks will be covered in layers of dirt and sand to protect the rail from the heavy duty equipment working on the demolishing. When finished with the demolishing, the dirt will be removed, the tracks cleaned and then reopened. This is the main route out of Union Station going East and South and used by Amtrak Southwest Chief, Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink. So it is busy but out of order this weekend and the next.

    The San Diego problem was due to bridge work being done in north San Diego County. Several bridges would out of service this weekend and the next several. So no weekend trips to San Diego or any where in between for the next several weekends.

    And all that lead to us finding railroads in the Southern California area to ride on the next several weekends. Our first stop in this new adventure was to be Caboose Corners at El Dorado Park in the City of Long Beach. We took the El Dorado Park exit of the I-605, went to Studebaker St. and then tried to find the park entrance. Right away we learn that a) this is a big park and b) there is only one entrance.

    After finding the entrance and paying our entrance fee, we tried to locate the train. Well be before you knew it, we were on the outside looking in. Lost and confused. To rediscover the entrance, we needed to drive halfway around the park to get back in. Showing our receipt, we again entered and this time asked for directions. We then found the tunnel that connects two sides of park separated by city street. After going thru the tunnel, we could see the train and station and drove in that direction.

    As we arrived the staff was just starting their opening duties. We are able to chat with the crew as they went about their duties. The owner was Tony Ruvolo his son Tony and granddaughter Taylor. Tony gave us a brief history of this family owned business. Over many years they have had several rides in Southern California. His stepfather had rides he operated. When his stepfather died, his mother took over running the business then he started to help her in operating the family business. His son Greg was ride operator at the young age of 13. They have been at this location since 1988.

    Caboose Corners is in El Dorado Park and home of the El Dorado Express.


    Operating hours are Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM, March through October.



Owner Tony Ruvolo getting the El Dorado Express ready for the first inspection run of the day.


The Express leaving the barn - tunnel.








    After Tony finished his inspection run, he offered us a trip on the El Dorado Express.



The friendly bull, Ferdinand.


Entering the tunnel of curiosity. Tony's collection of this and that.





Approaching the enchanted forest.

Some of the inhabitants of the enchanted forest.




    After our train ride, we bid goodbye to Tony and crew. When you are in Long Beach and near El Dorado Park, stop in at Caboose Corners and chat with Tony, Greg and Taylor and say hi for us.

     Click here for Caboose Corners. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.

    Leaving El Dorado Park, we found our way back to I-605 and headed to the next destination. We drove north on I-605, then I-5 to Los Angeles, continuing on to CA Route 2. We took the Verdugo exit and proceed to our next stop.

Descanso Gardens

    Located near the 2 and 210 freeway, Descanso Gardens is open daily and only closed on Christmas Day. We are here to ride the Enchanted Railroad which is open on weekends and selected weekdays. Call ahead to check if the train is running on your visit. 818-949-4200.

    Chris had called ahead to check if the train would be running on our visit and we would be writing stories about the railroad. After his call the operator was asked by fellow workers what was the name of the magazine we were writing for. She said it sounded like "Train Wreck." As we were picking up our tickets, the ladies told us about the conversation and we all had a chuckle. They were very nice to us and showed on the map the location of the railroad.


The gardens were decorated in the festive season.


The boarding gate for the Enchanted Railroad.



The lady on the caboose is the conductor.











Chris chasing the train.



    After finishing our train ride, we explored the grounds of the gardens.




    We stop and explore the Japanese Garden.


Tea House Minka


Foot bridge.




There were several people sitting around the pavilion doing water color painting.





    After leaving the Japanese Garden, we walked to the visitor center to check it out. There are several dinning areas available in several nice venues. I definitely want to return and explore more of this wonderful place.

Click here for Descanso Gardens. Click back button on your browser to return to this page

     Returning home took several hours due heavy traffic congestion on the freeways this Saturday afternoon. We had a great day checking out these great little gems thanks to the big boys not running today. Next weekend we'll visit some more little gems. Look for Part Two next.

Return to Table of Contents

Return to Home Page

Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments appreciated at ....

Thanks for Reading !!