Posted by: jsmcfadden | February 15, 2010

February Train Trip

Friday, February 12, 2010.

We began our trip at the Davis Amtrak Station.

Though it was cloudy, only a few sprinkles fell on us on the way into the building. We were there by 8 a.m.,  just as recommended — at least 30 minutes before departure time.

This nice brick art in the walkway wasn’t original to the train station, but the colors were nice. I liked the little bits of green between the paving bricks.

The outside of the building was so perfect, it made me wonder if it were real.

Had it been restored? Simply well-maintained?

Probably both.

I’m not sure about the pink color of the stucco. I suppose for Valentine’s Day weekend, pink should have seemed appropriate.

The 1913 medallion was so lovely, clean and unchipped.

And the lamposts and ironwork felt as if they fit right in.

Not so much the writing on the door glass or the protect-the-corners strips of wood at the entry arch’s base. The nice deep entryway — nearly a colonnade — offered some protection from the little bits of rain that were still dripping. We hurried in.

The interior has the dark old woodwork and benches that brought into my mind images of upswept hair, long skirts, buttoned boots and leather-covered luggage.

Don’t get misled by this shot; I just had a weird angle with the camera. There really isn’t a deep rectangular well from which you have to look up at the lights and fan.

I did like the way the shot looked rotated 35 degrees, though.

We got oriented to the station, looking around and then we headed toward the people with the uniforms on.

Ticket agents sat inside a booth. We were advised not to check our bags, because  “with the snow and all, you don’t want them to get wet.”  Huh?

Other passengers arrived and began to fill up the waiting area, carry-on bags rolling behind them as they came in.

Snippets of conversation about photography, railroad history, grandchildren popped around as we waited.

Pretty soon all of us 50-somethings had blocked most of the U-shaped walkways separating the benches in the waiting area.

A couple of college-age passengers waited on the other side of the half-wall; a family with a toddler was outside.

There was plenty of time to take some pictures outside, so out I went.

The side of the station that faces the rest of downtown Davis reminds us of where we are on the Southern Pacific continent. 78 miles or so to the west is San Francisco, while 705 miles to the east is Ogden, Utah.

I was curious about the timing of construction on this leg of the Transcontinental Railroad, and wanted to remind myself to look it up when we got home.

The side of the station facing the tracks reminds us of what kind of town Davis really is.

It’s a bike town.

It’s not a car town.

The lesson here?

Quit complaining about the narrow streets and lack of parking.

A strange landscape featuring rocks is near the Davis Tower, which sits to the east of the station.

I guess the David Tower is like the airport towers I’m more familiar with, except it’s shorter and geared toward the land, not the sky.

These odd stones looked more like plantings than outcroppings. Giant half-buried eggs of prehistoric ginormous creature? Burial mounds?

Then, in the middle of the … garden? … was this oddly altar-ish installation:

Smooth, shiny.

I thought it was a mirror or glass surface at first. Clearly one of the eggs has been split and laid open.

But why?

Is an answer even necessary? Maybe, like a poem, a stone altar should not  mean, but be.

And let’s not forget what kind of town Davis is.

Some real plants, too, for those of us who like traditional, you know, vegetation, in our landscaping. John said these looked like onion plants scattered beside the sidewalk. I think he meant these.

All the paved places were shiny and puddly, and all the plants looked satisfied, like napping babies.

Nothing was flowering, though. Too soon for that. Another 2-3 weeks for that.

We often get pretend spring in mid-February. It’s wet and warming and the trees respond with buds, but there’s still at least one cold snap coming. There may still be a frost, even. And of course a couple more big rain storms.

Oh, yeah. We’re at the train station, not the landscape show.

I should get some photos  of the train tracks.

This shot looks west, toward the Fairfield-Suisun station twenty miles down toward the southwest, then across the water to the Martinez station.

There was evidently some work happening on the tracks or at the station, because passengers had to get on a bus to take them farther west than Davis on that Friday morning.

I don’t get the point of taking the train if you end up taking the bus.

It’s like ordering prime rib, but instead you get peanut butter and jelly, and it’s not the kind of jelly you like, and the peanut butter’s that awful stuff that tastes stale.

This is looking toward the east, toward Sacramento, Roseville, Rocklin, Colfax and Reno, the direction we were soon to be heading.

The drippy clouds were already moving that westerly direction; I wondered if we would simply stay even with the rain or if we would be fast enough to get in front of the clouds.

How would that allow for all the great photos we wanted to get of the snow? The vistas of mountain ranges?

More later!

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Responses

  1. Nice shots of Davis train station. When will we see more of the trip?

    • soon as I get another 2-3 hours to adjust images & write.


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