This past weekend I visited my son, his wife and two children, ages 5 and 8. I rode Amtrak from San Diego to Union Station in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. When I arrived there, I went to the bus area and boarded a “Fly Away” bus to Los Angeles Airport (LAX). I travel this way so that the family doesn’t have to get stuck in Downtown Los Angeles traffic, which can be a bear. It is much easier to pick me up at the airport. I purchased my Business Class ticket and boarded the 1:25 pm train and arrived at LAX around 5pm. I ride Business Class because it gives me a reserved seat for an extra $15. I remember being on a train to Los Angeles once, when some people had to stand. Those seats are difficult to hold onto to prevent falling. So, as a plus, I’ve enjoyed the special treatment given in Business Class.
I like to sit upstairs. As I was trying to carry my suitcase up the stairs, a young man, who seemed to come out of nowhere, offered to take my bag up for me. When I reached the seat, I decided to ride the wave, so to speak, and asked him to put the suitcase up in the overhead. Since I sat one seat behind him and his friend, I heard that they were in the entertainment field. The same young man carried my bag to the platform in Los Angeles. As they were departing the train, I asked him the name of his group. He responded, “Manufactured Superstars.” I really appreciate that he stepped up to the plate, offering to help me. I hope he is blessed for his kindness.
At LAX, my son timed his arrival to match my bus. Because of security concerns, a car just can’t wait at a loading area. As the bus was entering the airport, he called me on the phone to ask where the bus was and what kind of a bus it was. He managed to be just ahead of the bus, so there was no waiting on my part, or his. With an uneventful, yet pleasant trip, the transition was smooth and I joined the family.
On Sunday, my son drove me directly to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. He expected light traffic. However, it was bumper to bumper so I missed the 2:00 pm departure. It wasn't much of a wait since the next train was scheduled at 3:00 pm. The Business Class section was practically empty and had only five adults and four children. Since I didn’t bring a book, I had two hours and forty-five minutes on my hands to notice the people on this trip, as well as Friday’s trip. One of the passengers mentioned, in my hearing, that he and his 3 year old daughter ride the train many weekends. This little lady with bouncing brown curls seemed right at home in the train traveling the aisle at will. The other children were three teenagers (two boys and a girl, aged thirteen). They also seemed right at home on the train. Unfortunately, they had been visiting their father in Manhattan Beach and were returning home to their mother in Solana Beach….a distance of approximately one hundred miles. Apparently, they do this quite often. The boys acted like eight year olds, as she did her homework. While they seemed to be weathering their situation, it still seemed like a tough life.
The ride was quiet. When we reached the beach area, I lamented not bringing my camera because the train windows were clean. The only drawback to the ride was that we stopped five times to let trains coming north go through. At different points on the trip to San Diego, south of Solana Beach, there is only one track. I believe San Diego is the seventh largest city in the United States so you would think they would improve the tracks. I guess Amtrak’s ridership between San Diego and Los Angeles just isn’t large enough.
Even with the inconveniences, the trip was worth it. I had a wonderful time with the family.
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