There’s no greater way to travel in California than by train. Sit next to a window on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and you can see scenic Southern California. The high-speed train traverses the Pacific coast and inland past ocean, industry, and farmlands giving you some of the most breathtaking views.
I paid forty dollars for the ticket and boarded at the Santa Barbara Amtrak station. I was headed to Solano Beach for a few days with my girlfriend in San Diego. It is a five-and-a-half hour ride. The southbound train travels along the coast of California with twenty-one stops along the way.
All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the unique California towns like Ventura, where hundreds of recreational vehicles are lined up along the shoreline and tons of surfers are cloistered in the ocean waiting for the big one.
Then there is Anaheim, home of Disneyland and the Housewives of Orange County. The Pacific Surfliner provides an excellent view of Angels Stadium, which houses the Los Angeles Angels. After every Angels victory their famous halo lights up the evening sky.
The next stop was Santa Ana. It was named after Mexican General, Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, who lost parts of Mexico to the United States in 1846. Despite his poor military showing, the Mexican people loved him so much that they elected him president in 1848.
When I rolled through San Juan Capistrano I couldn’t help but think of the swallows returning to the mission every year around March 19. And before they leave in October, they circle the mission a few times before bidding farewell till next year.
Then there’s Carlsbad, a chic California beach town with a breathtaking cliff sidled up to the Pacific Ocean. As the train chugged by I could see the many happy joggers, stroller pushers, online skaters on walkways edged into the sides of the cliff. Wow, I thought, what a great way to exercise.
My final destination was Solana Beach where my girlfriend was waiting. We were going to stay at the La Costa Resort and then make our way to a San Diego Padre baseball game.
What a magnificent tour of Southern California! The train ride was the fastest five-and-a-half hours I ever experienced. I think I have to do it again sometime soon. Like the famous Hollywood cowgirl, Dale Evans, once sang, “Happy trails, until we meet again, keep smilin’ until then”…