Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Heading Outta Town from the LA Terminal - Roots on the Rails

An architectural Arte Deco wonder would describe the LA Train Station.  Beautiful floors, arches, a painted wooden ceiling and many more details.  Out of one side entrance we saw a beautiful garden.
Not like any Train Terminal I've ever seen.  It was a great way to start the trip.

Even the doorways were wrapped in beautiful stone design.

The use of talavera tile and the conch shell denoted a nod also to the Spanish influence.

The wooden chairs that were stationary looked to me like something Frank Lloyd Wright would have designed.  There were many sleeping people draped over and in them.

The ceiling was quite a study in workmanship and artistry.
I wished I had a better camera as these photos don't do it justice.

Ahh, but finally our train, attached behind the Amtrak finally backed in and
it was "All aboard" time!  Woo hoo.

Once we got out of LA we quickly had views of the Pacific Ocean.  Unfortunately some of my photos have a reflection in the glass, but you get the idea.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.
Here we were riding along and seeing mile after mile after mile of pristine, unoccupied coast land.
It was staggering to observe how much land in California, Oregon and Washington is unoccupied.

As we rode along, we also listened to the performances of the singer/songwriter/entertainers.
Chris Smither was first.  He was the person that I had the secret message to pass onto.

When I wrote the first post, I mentioned the entertainers.  Imagine my surprise when I got an email from my dearest friend, Amanda (those of you who read the blog remember several years ago when Amanda was in a near fatal car accident in Houston).  I had totally forgotten that Amanda had been born in Quito Ecuador.  It seems that Chris Smither lived there as well as a very small baby boy.  His parents and Amanda's parents were friends for at least 50 years.  Chris and Amanda were toddlers together.  They had not seen each other since Chris was about 17 years old. 

You can imagine his surprise when I walked up to him in the LA Train Terminal and told him I had a message for him from someone who knew him as a child in Quito.  He hardly hesitated a few seconds before he smiled and said, "Amanda".  I was surprised too.  We had several conversations during the trip and he shared stories of their lives as children.  I, in turn, shared stories of my friendship with Amanda for the last 34 years!  It added a lovely poignancy to the trip.

The views continued to be breathtaking.  At one point while looking out the window at the view while listening to the music, I felt my heart swell with happiness and joy at such a completely joyful experience.

It seems that trains stop, as needed, while traversing from point A to point B.  Not always when you expected it.  I presumed that most of the time it was to let another train go by.  I'm not really sure.
The photo above and below was taken of the grasses that were a multitude of colors.

A feast for the eyes of textures, shapes and colors.

We traveled all night Monday night.  More music, good food and attempting to sleep as the train raced along or lurched at times.  Sleeping the first night was an adventure all by itself.

We awakened the next morning to the sight of Mt. Shasta.  Sadly, I didn't get a photo of that.  Why, I have no idea.  We were in the Cascades heading for Portland with our final destination on Tuesday being Seattle, Washington.

Each mile seemed to me like a revelation of something else unexpected.

The journey became the destination.
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Rick said...

Union Station is quite fantastic and one of the only buildings in Los Angles with character like the east coast. But - go to Paris if you want to see train stations!

Your story about Chris Smithers - wow - he is a wonderful man and plays a sweet guitar.

Anonymous said...

I love Union Station. I wish airports were as nice.

Here in Boston, our own South Station is quite grandiose and lovely. Be sure to see it if you ever visit.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where this would be a good time to do such a journey in New England as the leaves are spectacular.

Babs said...

Kim, I'm going to show photos of the leaves turning in Oregon and Washington - another unexpected pleasure!

Babs said...

Rick, it was a magnificent Station as was Seattle's. I was so impressed with all the train stations - large and small. What a beautiful network to allow train travel to exist on the West Coast!

Chris Smither's music brought me to tears. His songwriting along with his style really spoke to me, deeply.

calypso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
calypso said...

Babs - First photo looks like an Edward Hopper painting ;-)

It is indeed a small world.

Thanks for taking us on your ride.

Babs said...

My pleasure Calypso. I wish everyone could have been there!