I wish I could post every picture we took today. I whittled it down as much as possible. The beauty of the coast of California completely blew my mind. Our day began at 5am when our train arrived into Union Station in Los Angeles over an hour early. We were overjoyed to have the extra time to spend in Los Angeles before we had to catch the Coast Starlight for the trip up the coast to San Francisco. Our plan was to catch the Red Line on LA’s subway system, travel down into Hollywood to see the Hollywood sign, and return back to Union Station by 10am to catch our connection. Unfortunately that didn’t work out so well. We missed our stop on the subway, and then were separated from Grandma and Doris Marie who were left standing on the subway platform when the doors closed while we were inside. That experience scared all of us because if we would have been separated we might not have been able to find each other in time for our connecting train. We decided to head back to Union Station and explore that area instead.
That adventure turned out to be a huge blessing because we were able to check out Olvera Street which happens to be the oldest street in Los Angeles! We were there before all of the little shops opened, but we were able to see some of the famous murals, and read a bit about the history of the area. We also saw the oldest standing residence in Los Angeles from 1818, the Avila Adobe. Despite California’s drought, this whole area was lush with some amazing trees, and flowers of all kinds. It’s definitely a place I would like to visit again – next time during business hours!
Once we boarded the Coast Starlight at 10am, we caught our first glimpses of the pacific ocean. The train hugged the coast almost all day. It was truly sublime just kicking back and watching the waves roll in and people enjoying the beach. I really enjoyed passing through so many fruit and vegetable farming areas to see field after field of produce being harvested. It truly lived up to the description as “The Country’s Salad Bowl.”
Despite all of the beauty we saw today, we saw some other things that were a little bit disturbing. There were so many homeless people living along the train tracks. Often they were even right behind the back fences behind people’s homes! I’m sure many of them were actually people who had come into the country illegally looking for work in those produce fields we saw. Whether they were there due to California’s hard-hit economic times, or illegal immigration, it opened up a dialogue to discuss with Corbin some of the realities that people endure which we don’t usually see. I ended this day feeling deeply blessed and humbled.
We arrived in Emeryville at 9:30pm tonight. Our hotel was just across from the train station, so we walked over there and crashed for the night. Tomorrow we will be headed east. Our next stop will be Grand Junction, Colorado!
Here’s Corbin’s post about this day. In case you are interested.