The Travels of Mayfurr
Hot Rails to Burbank


When, in November of 2002, Terry informed me that he was planning to swing through Oregon on his way back from the Bahamas, I was transported with joy.

When, in the middle of February 2003, Terry informed me that getting a flight from Los Angeles to Portland or Eugene was completely impractical I sank into the deepest pits of despair. Not only would he not be coming but writing on the wall suggested that this would be our very last opportunity. IBM New Zealand was closing his division and, at the very least, he'd be shunted to another position that didn't involve travel.

But, in considering the problem, a possible solution came to me. Terry even considered taking the train, but from Los Angeles to Eugene is a twenty-eight hour trip, one way, on a service whose on-time record- at least in Oregon- is abysmal. But where Terry might not be able to spend that much time on the train there wasn't any reason I couldn't... and so an alternate plan was conceived...

I made my pitch and things quickly got back on track, so to speak. Roy D. Pounds would let me stay with him, as Terry was, for two days. For the other two Terry and I would share a hotel downtown. I got my ticket, made last minute confirmations with Terry and Roy by phone, packed my bags, and on a warm Friday afternoon went down to the Amtrak station. Following is a summary of my experiences.


Day One: 1710

Boarded southbound Coast Starlight in Eugene. I got a nice lower-level seat in the last car; I even have two adjacent seats to myself. Turns out the cars are equipped with plug-ins for appliances! Which means that I can plug in my laptop and write this log. A couple ahead of me has a television.

After settling in I stroll around the train. I sit for a while in the observation car while we pass a reservoir. I have my personal observation area, after a fashion: since I'm in the last car, I can stand in the vestibule and watch the miles unwind. I do this for a while.

Day One: 1800

Passing through Oakridge. The tracks run through a narrow valley with steep ridges all around. Through a cleft I saw the most beautiful snowcapped peak. I don't know what mountain it is. The town looks like something straight out of the 19th century, a collection of clapboard buildings. A couple kids on a quadracycle rode along, waving to the train as it passed. I waved back.

For dinner I have a bagel with deviled ham and a can of V8 that I packed with me. Railroad food is terribly expensive.

I wish I had a camera. The scenery is in incredible. Here in particular the landscape around Oakridge is exactly what I'd imagined for the vicinity of Marpletown.

Day One: 1830

Saw an Elk by the tracks, munching away as happy as can be.

It's starting to get dark. At least it's late enough in the season that it's not already dark by 5 o'clock.

To anyone travelling in southern Oregon or northern California by rail: those Amtrak dual-level coaches are very comfortable. Much smoother and more roomy than the Talgo. But as the train makes its way through the mountains the tracks curve often, and sharply. Lateral forces can be pretty heavy, especially on the upper level. Be advised also that the altitude change is pretty steep; I had to pop my ears every ten minutes or so.

Day One: 1850

It's dark enough now that I can't see anything out the window except the sky.

Hold that thought. We're passing along one side of a valley; through gaps in the trees I see the opposite ridge, the mountaintops dusted with snow and wreathed in mist. It'd be better in daylight, I'm sure, but still very pretty.

Day One: 2015

Station stop in Chemult. Only for a moment & I couldn't see anything but a Texaco station.

We must be going downhill or something; the train's moving noticeably faster now.

Day One: 2200

Klamath Falls. We're delayed somewhat by having to wait for a freight train. Can't see much but a sprinkling of lights anyway.

Day One: 2215

After a short rest break we're under way once more. I'm alone now; everyone who was in my compartment has gone upstairs. It's nice 'cause I can turn off all he lights. Now we'll see if it's possible to sleep; I don't have a great deal of hope. Sleeping on the floor at the mission is likely to be more comfortable than sleeping in one of these coach chairs... but the mission isn't on its way to Los Angeles.

Klamath Lake is to my left. I can see lights along the shore reflected in the water.

Picking up speed. Only 23 hours until Los Angeles, if all goes well.

Day Two: 0510

Spent a not terribly uncomfortable night sleeping sometimes on the floor and sometimes in my seat. All the other passengers left, saying the compartment was too warm. With them gone it cooled down enough that I actually had to cover up with my coat.

We are most definitely in California now. The land is empty and flat, except for a row of distant mountains in the east. Dawn is just beginning to light the horizon; Venus is incredibly bright and I watched the gibbous moon come up over the mountains.

Day Two: 0517

Station stop in Chico. I can't tell if anyone left or boarded; we were only here a couple minutes and the depot didn't look open.

I checked the schedule and we are running late. We should have reached Chico at 0350. We're an hour and 27 minutes late. Not surprising; we stopped to wait for at least four freight trains during the night.

We're definitely in California. The land is flat as a board and orchards stretch off as far as the eye can see. The soil is sandy colored and has that dry, baked look. Streets and buildings have that 'southwest' look, and I saw my first palm tree.

We've descended a long way as well. My water bottle, which had been closed since last night, collapsed under the increased air pressure.

Day Two: 0745

Davis. We are unequivocally in the Southwest; all the plants I see are desert ones and most of the houses have tile roofs. The Davis depot is Mission style tan stucco with a tiled roof and long, winding concrete benches decorated like a snake. Housing developments are walled and every stream we pass is surrounded by a flood control dike.

We're 55 minutes late. Not bad, considering. The car captain tells me that track work is on hiatus so we've lucked out: no more than normal delays.

Day Two: 0800

Passed Mt. Diablo. On a clear day, the conductor says, you can see Nevada from its peak. It wasn't a clear day; I could barely see the mountain.

We're running out of trees. The flats are almost completely bare and the hills only sparsely covered. There's nothing out here an Oregonian would call a forest.

Day Two: 8019

Martinez. Saw the Naval museum, containing Liberty ships and the battleship Iowa. According to the conductor a tug used to clear the channel at Pearl Harbor is being restored here.

It's a strange sight. Nothing but prairie all around... then suddenly you see a row of ships. Not until somewhat later is it possible to see the water.

Day Two: 0849

I saw a float-on, float-off transport in the harbor. It's loaded with things that look like pontoons.

Day Two: 0900

Passed BART yards. The lines run parallel; maybe I'll see a train.

According to my calculations I will reach Los Angeles in 12 hours and 55 minutes.

San Francisco on the right. Beautiful view of the city, bay, and both bridges. (Bay and Golden Gate)

Day Two: 0910

Emryville. I've come 601 miles in 16 hours from Eugene. 479 miles to go, which I hope to cover in 12 hours, 45 minutes. I'm told there's some padding in the schedule so maybe we can make up some lost time before LA.

A bit south of Oakland I saw a BART train. We ran side by side for a while, then it pulled ahead.

Day Two: 1037

I don't know exactly where we are but off to the right I see three buildings that look like zeppelin hangers.

Day Two: 1045

We must be close to San Jose; I saw streetcar tracks crossing over the railroad.

Day Two: 1516

It ain't flat no more. Nearing San Luis Obispo, the landscape has taken a sharply vertical turn. We thread our way long the flanks of steep, dun colored hills, with sharp slopes above and below. The highway right here runs on the opposite side of the valley from us; it also slopes down a lot more steeply. I assume we'll loop around somehow and come out at the same level eventually. I see a lot of trucks creeping along in low gear, both uphill and down.

It's begun. We've turned away from the highway and are circling the hills, which are covered with grass, scrub, and occasional trees. Right now at least the grass is pretty and green, like felt on a pool table.

Day Two: 1524

I caught my very first glimpse of the ocean! It's nothing but a dark blue haze between a couple of distant peaks but it's a start. Time now for the train to live up to the rest of it's name. We saw the starlight in southern Oregon and northern California; now we get to see the coast.

Day Two: 1532

Pass what is obviously a prison. Interestingly enough, the lounge guy- who's been telling us about the sights so far- has naught to say of it.

Despite the green we're still in a desert. All the pastures have clumps of prickly pear in them.

Day Two: 1543

We've reached San Luis Obispo. It's a very pretty community but... how shall I put it... vertically enhanced. It's laid out in a crack in the hills, with everything going up and down. Terry would be right at home.

We met the northbound Coast Starlight. It, at least so far, is on time.

Our own schedule looks more promising. I calculate that we're only 30 - 35 minutes late. If the engineer puts the hammer down then maybe we'll arrive something like on time.

221 miles left until Los Angeles, which I estimate we'll cover in 5 hours 30 minutes, for an average speed of 40 mph.

Day Two: 1617

First sight of sand dunes. According to our guide, it's the location where Cecil B. deMille filmed "The Ten Commandments."

Day Two: 1645

We've arrived! The big, beautiful Pacific is just out the right side windows. The tracks run through the dunes. Out the left side windows is Vandenberg Air Force Base. I even see a bunker or two.

We've passed two towers that look like launch pads, or at least test stands. On the left I saw the approach lights of a runway and a big block house of some sort.

Day Two: 1808

Daylight is fading. The lounge guy says we can see dolphins. I've looked but seen nothing I recognize as even remotely cetacean. Not that I'd recognize one of it slapped me in the face. Or maybe then, but nothing short. What I do see are lots of oil rigs and what the tour director says are the Channel islands.

The sunset is absolutely astounding. The ocean gleams like liquid gold, bathing the shore in soft radiance. There's a pink hydrocarbon overtone in the air but in California you have to expect that.

Day Two: 1836

"Day is done / Gone the sun / From the hills, from the lake, from the sky / All is well, safely rest / God is nigh."

Santa Barbara slips away behind and Oxnard looms ahead. Only 104 miles left to go! Better yet, we're no more than 15 minutes late out of Santa Barbara. The crew anticipates an on-time arrival in LA.

We're back on the ocean but with the sun gone about all you can see are the oil rigs. And there's a freaking bazillion of them. A solid line along the coast, as far as I can tell.

Day Two: 1915

Oxnard. Only seven minutes late!

Day Two: 2028

Glendale: Five minutes late! The gap is closing. Next stop is the Big One: Los Angeles Union Station. Ready or not, here I come!

Ten minutes, they say. Thus we should arrive at 2040. Twenty minutes early! Who could have imagined such a thing?

Day Two: 2042

Los Angeles! 18 minutes early! Wo hoo! Now I have to find Terry and Roy, not to mention my luggage.


Saturday Night

For those of you who've never visited Los Angeles Union Station, there's about a dozen tracks. An underground walkway connects each platform to the station. I headed down the ramp with all the other arriving passengers. At the foot I spotted a familiar hat; it's a good thing Terry's fairly tall. Especially since Roy turned out to be pretty short. I'd never have seen him until I actually passed him, even if I'd known what he'd looked like beforehand.

Curses! I wasn't thinking clearly; my Super Collie tee shirt is in my checked luggage! Fortunately Terry has his, and we at least know one another.

Having greeted Terry and been introduced to Roy, we head off to baggage claim. They have an airline style carousel... and of course he had to stand around for around forty minutes waiting for my bag to show up. I shoulda just carried the damn thing.

Terry and Roy tell me about their adventure. Terry arrived earlier that day; Roy picked him up at LAX without difficulty. But neither had been to Union Station before; they spent a while orbiting downtown Los Angeles trying to find the right exit. But in the end they made it.

With my luggage in hand we hopped into Roy's car and he drove us to Asuza, where he lives. He shares a nice Ranch style dwelling with his dad and his dad's nurse. Terry got a back room; I slept on the couch (and was glad of it, after the coach seats). We celebrated my arrival by eating the chocolate pie I'd brought (and which survived, intact, to this point). Then we sat up and talked until all hours; I don't know about Terry and Roy, but I was totally pumped, in spite of being exhausted from the trip. Eventually we all turned in.

Sunday

In the morning we all showered, dressed, and debated about what to do. Roy suggested taking a tour of the sights, which seemed like an excellent idea to Terry and myself. Roy also fixed us a very nice breakfast, with French toast and hash browns. At which point Terry recalled that he'd brought some Vegemite for us to try, and fetched it from his luggage. I decided that such an auspicious moment in our lives clearly needed to be preserved for posterity, so I borrowed Terry's digital camera.

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Here is The Stuff, in the famous red and yellow jar.

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Toast.

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Butter, which should be applied generously.

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Vegemite is applied sparingly over the butter.

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Ready to eat. Note carefully the concentration of Vegemite! The most common mistake made by amateur users is applying too much, which will lead to dire consequences.

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Here I am, about to take the plunge.

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Hmm...

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It's not too bad, actually. I'm not sure I'd make a habit of it, but I'm glad I had the chance to taste it. (Terry said I look ready to burst into song.) Just to make sure I wouldn't forget the experience he gave me a jar to take home with me.

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Roy trying his half. He seems a little... nonplussed. Oh well; I guess you have to grow up with it.

Having enjoyed- loosely- our breakfast, we hopped in Roy's car yet again. He needed to photocopy some art for a 'zine so our first stop is at Kinko's. I took the opportunity to copy a few of Terry's works for myself. That done we elected to have a look at some local sights.

Given some of my past experiences in the Los Angeles Basin I was amazed at how clear the sky was. Roy said it was because the wind had changed direction. To prove I wasn't delirious I asked Roy to stop so I could snap a picture.

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Asuza is right up against the hills. I was amazed at how green they were.

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No reason to waste a photo op, so here we are: myself (left), Roy (center), and Terry (right). I shoulda paid more attention to the direction of the sun, or remembered to ask Terry to take off his hat. Oh well.

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Get your kicks on Route 66! The original highway goes right through Asuza; it's the road you see in the two above photos.

We stopped at the Route 66 Museum and Gift Shop. They have an amazing collection of cars and memorabilia. Terry and Roy bought key chains. By the time we finished it was near midday so we stopped at Denny's for lunch. While we ate Roy told us about a couple of the local Fry's Electronics stores, which as it turns out are nothing like the one I been to in Oregon. We decided to visit one later.

After lunch we hit the road again. Terry snapped a few pictures of the mountains, which as before were quite attractive.

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Last time I was in LA houses at the end of the street vanished in a brown haze. It was amazing and refreshing for the air to be so clear.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is right near where Roy lives. But it's not open on Sunday, and what with increased security since 11 September, we couldn't get in. A pity, but we made good use of the time even so. There was a park next door... in which we observed some odd contraptions.

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This, it turns out, is a hole in a Frisbee golf course. Scoring varies on wether you drop the Frisbee in the upper or lower basket.

After failing to visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and walking for a while in the park next door, we visited the Fry's Roy told us about earlier. Apparently, in California all the stores have a theme. For this particular one, the theme was "Mars Attacks." The entrance is a flying saucer crashed into the front of the building. It extends inside, with Martians jumping out and running along the rafters. On the floor are soldiers, and a jeep that's been cut in half by a heat ray. In the aisle where camcorders are sold, a long diorama runs the length of the counter, in which various monsters and aliens do battle with the army. Along one side is a rocket launch track (with a crashed rocket at the end of it). The ceiling in the back half of the store is shaped like a giant saucer, not unlike the mother ship from "Close Encounters." Where computers are sold a giant octopus is smashing through the wall; the counters on which computers are displayed are propped up by its tentacles. Also in this area are a pair of Sabre jets hanging from the ceiling. There's even a '50s style diner. Sadly, we never got to see the one designed like a Mayan temple.

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Fry's in Burbank, right next to the Burbank Airport. Sadly, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside.

Having pretty well worn ourselves out we return to Roy's place. Predictably, we end up discussing our respective arts. Roy tells us some interesting background pertaining to Mr. Foxy, The Artist, and The Dragoness in Amber. Terry photographs a Chakat sculpture Roy made, which I must say turned out very well. Then Terry and I spent some time discussing the Super Collie Adventures, doing a continuity check on Dark Desires and composing back story for Song of the Shepherd. Also, Terry gave me some presents: a real New Zealand tabloid (of the sort Squid Vicious might write for), a small jar of Vegemite, and a bungee-jumping sheep. The sheep has a suction cup attached to the end of its bungee so it can be hung up. When lifted and dropped it baas. I stowed the treasures, along with Terry's prints, in my luggage. From then on, almost every time I bumped my suitcase you'd hear a muffled "baa."

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Since the first one didn't work out as well as we'd hoped, we tried another group photo. Left, Roy D. Pounds II. Center, John R. Plunkett. Right, Terry P. Knight.

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This is Roy's bedroom, showing some of his collection of drawing, models, videos, and sculptures.

Monday

Roy had to go to work, so bright and early he dropped us at the Covina Metrolink station, only a short distance from his house. We rode downtown with the rest of the commuters, transferred at Union Station to MTA Red Line. It turned out that our hotel was only two blocks from the Convention Center station! But when we arrived the escalator was shut down. We had to lug our bags up a very long flight of stairs. At the top it was about all we could do to stagger downhill to the hotel. After checking in, dropping our bags, and resting for a bit we decided to gab some breakfast and start touring.

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We found this phone booth at the Covina station and Terry just had to snap a picture of it. I had to admit, it seem a bit strange to see such a thing in suburban Asuza.

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Covina Station. This sign is just to the right of the phone booth shown above.

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A shot along the platform, looking toward San Bernardino.

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A building just around the corner from our hotel.

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Same building, more street level detail. Our hotel is down the street to the right and around the corner to the left.

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More buildings near our hotel. LA sure has a dramatic downtown.

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This cute little funicular railway was right near our hotel (it's about two blocks to the right), but alas it wasn't running.

The ground floor of our hotel is occupied by the Shockwave Cafe and the Epicenter restaurant. The staff are all Japanese, so I suppose they can joke about that sort of thing, even in Los Angeles. Terry scored points by speaking Japanese with the waitress.

After a trip to the visitor's center we decide to visit Museum Mile and the La Brea Tar Pits. On our way to the bus stop we pass the city library, which has a most impressive courtyard.

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"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, it never will."

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Some of the buildings surrounding the library.

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Another building.

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A wider shot of the fountain.

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Plaza leading up to the library entrance, Pt 1

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Plaza leading up to the library entrance, Pt 2

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Plaza leading up to the library entrance, Pt 3

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Library facade, right above the main doors.

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Plaza leading up to the library entrance, Pt 4

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Yet another building.

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The whole plaza. For this shot I climbed up onto a bike rack and hung from the railing surrounding a deck to one side of the entrance.

We board the 720 Rapid, which is a bus extension to the subway system. We arrive to find that we're too early; none of the museums are open! We decide to tour the tar pits first, since we can look at the outdoor exhibits even while the interpretive center is still closed.

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The main tar pit, which is actually a lake upon which the tar floats. It smells like an asphalt plant, and the day's heat hasn't even started yet. Beyond the mastodons is the interpretive center.

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Mayfurr gets into the spirit of things (being careful not to fall in). The building in the background is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Asian annex.

After lunch at a nice little deli just up the street (while trying very hard to ignore the war coverage), we return just in time for the tar pit interpretive center to open.

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Wolf skulls that have been excavated from various pits over the years.

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Reconstructed Dire Wolf skeletons.

The tar pits are very much a going concern. At various spots around the park we found puddles of black glop oozing up out of the ground. One broke through the sidewalk right in front of the main entrance! I even found a small one in front of an office building across the street.

By the time we finished with the tar pits, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was open. We looked at pre-Columbian American art, European art from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Chinese art, Korean art, Egyptian art, Indian art, and quite a lot of Islamic art. By then we were pretty well beat and decided to go home. 'Sides, we'd filled up all the memory cards in the camera. We never made it to the sculpture garden, the Japanese art, or the American art. We rode back downtown on a bus with standing room only, and not even that. We transferred to the subway as soon as possible. By the time we reached the hotel it was fairly late. Not that late, we would have thought... but we couldn't find a single open restaurant! And it was only eight or so 'clock! We gave up and ordered pizza. Spent the rest of the evening exchanging furry art and reading Terry's comics.

Tuesday

Terry wants to see the Queen Mary, which sounds like a great idea to me. We stop at a market down the street for breakfast; I pick up a bag of bananas. They're only $1 for 5 pounds!

We take the subway to Metro Center and transfer to the Blue Line.

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San Pedro station, just a couple stops past the end of the subway, looking south.

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Northbound train arriving.

Eventually we arrive at Long Beach. A shuttle bus takes us across to the Queen Mary. Turns out there's a Russian Foxtrot class submarine on display there. We tour it, but decide to pass on the Queen Mary. $25, we feel, is a bit much. Sadly the Aquabus isn't running so we take the shuttle back downtown.

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Her Britannic Majesty, shot from the bridge across the bay.

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From the parking lot. The beauty shots one sees in magazines and on TV don't really bring home how freaking huge she is.

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The Scorpion, a Russian Foxtrot class diesel-electric submarine.

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Queen Mary, Scorpion, myself, and Mayfurr.

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Downtown Long Beach, pt 1

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Downtown Long Beach, pt 2 (Aquabus dock in foreground)

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Her Britannic Majesty, from the Scorpion's fore deck.

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Mayfurr has a look in one of Scorpion's forward torpedo tubes.

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Having inspected the tube, Mayfurr must also check out the torpedo. What's that? Makes you think of "Dr. Strangelove?" Can't imagine why...

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Scorpion's forward torpedo room. Yes, it's every bit as cramped as it looks.

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"Here, Terry, let me hold the camera for you. Wouldn't want to drop it accidentally, would we? What? Take an embarrassing photo of you coming through the hatch? Why, I'd never even dream of such a thing." Having seen innumerable submarine movies, I know the proper way to get through the hatch. Just to make sure I'm not steering my dear friend wrong, I try it first myself. What's that you say? It puts me in the perfect position to catch Terry coming through? I assure you, no such thought ever crossed my mind.

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Washroom.

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Officer's quarters.

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In the control room, having a peek through the periscope.

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Mayfurr wants to have a look too.

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Other side of the control room, to the left of the periscope.

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Head.

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Looking up into the conning tower.

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"What's this button do?"

"Which button?"

"This one."

Whoosh

"Ah... that fires a torpedo."

"Oh."

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Engine control room.

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Engine room.

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Engine room again.

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Aft torpedo room.

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Her Majesty, from Scorpion's after deck.

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Ever have those moments when you feel... insignificant? Standing next to something that's ten stories tall and as long as the Empire State Building laid on its side will do that to a bloke.

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Paper model of the Queen Mary, in the gift shop.

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Paper model of the Normadie.

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Dome which at one time housed the Spruce Goose, which is now in McMinnville, Oregon, only sixty or so miles from my home in Eugene.

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The Great Lady in all her glory.

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Beauty shot from the parking lot, taking in the whole scene.

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Long Beach is the largest port on the Pacific coast of North America. This is crossing the bay back to downtown; the Queen Mary is directly behind us.

We wanted to visit the aquarium but it's closed because of the Grand Prix time trials. We board the train for Los Angeles. Along the way Terry notices the Watts Towers. We leave the train for a photo op. There's a neat little Egyptian themed park right by the station, with pyramids and an obelisk. We photograph that too.

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The Watts Towers.

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Including the foundation. The wall in the foreground (to the right of the shed) is all that remains of the builder's house, which burned in a fire.

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Ground level detail. Every bit of this was hand built by only one man, using mostly bits and pieces he found laying about.

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More ground level detail.

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The towers, and the new park in front of them.

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This plaza, with its pyramid and obelisk, is located right next to the original Watts station of the Pacific Electric. The new Blue Line station is just a short distance beyond.

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Another view of the plaza, with the station at the far left.

After returning downtown we swing by Little Tokyo. We're early for dinner so we visit an Anime shop, then hang out in a plaza that's a memorial to a Japanese astronaut who died in the Challenger disaster. We have dinner in a Sushi restaurant and talk about stories. I tell Terry about "Love and Livestock;" he tells me about "Scent of a Rose." On the way back to the hotel we take a picture of City Hall. It's beautiful at night. Spend the rest of the evening going through he rest of Terry's comic collection. He shows me his "Tank Vixens" card game and his ideas for a "Super Collie Adventures" expansion pack.

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City Hall, looking up the plaza that runs through the middle of Little Tokyo.

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Challenger memorial.

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City Hall again, seen on the way back to the hotel after dinner.

Wednesday

Up we get, bright and... well, somewhat early, at any rate. Then it's pack, pack, pack for our respective journeys. I'll be leaving first, on the Coast Starlight. Terry's flight to Wellington leaves later that afternoon. We stop by the market for breakfast and so I can lay in supplies for my return trip. I'm afraid I went a little crazy, getting a huge bag of bananas and apples, some pita and monkey bread, deli meat, and a chicken teriyaki dinner. It all costs less than ten bucks!

Subway to Union Station with many photo stops. Terry waits with me at check-in and sees me to the train. More photo ops and tearful goodbyes.

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Farewell and adieu to the great city of Los Angeles. Behind me, the Coast Starlight is waiting to depart.

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I've boarded the train with all my luggage. (My groceries are in the sack by my feet.)

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Business end of the Coast Starlight, only moments before she starts rolling.

It seems that we did so much and yet so little. Terry and Roy, the time we spent together was wonderful and all too brief. God bless and God speed to you both, in all your future journeys.


Day Three: 1015

Left Los Angeles Union Station on time.

On the way out we passed Burbank Airport. In the general aviation lot I saw what I'm pretty sure was an AT-6 Texan, or some such similar aircraft. It had a two seat cockpit.

We also passed the aviation themed mall- with the pictures of an SR-71, Lockheed Constellation, and P-38 on the signs- and the 'Mars Attacks' themed Fry's Roy showed us on Sunday.

Day Three: 1124

Simi Valley.

Day Three: 1154

Oxnard.

Day Three: 1208

First sight of the ocean. It's choppier than it was on the way down. The horizon's a bit hazy but the water is beautiful bright green.

The waves are way up. Four or five feet, by the look of it. We're right on the coast now and it's absolutely stunning.

Day Three: 1500

Oil fields in southern California. I notice pipes that run along the round, then form an Omega shaped loop that's either standing up or laying down. I'll have to ask about those.

Day Three: 2054

Passed Sun Microsystems in Santa Clara!

Day Four: 0005

Davis

Day Four: 0700

Mt. Shasta, on our right. The mountain is covered with snow, its peak wreathed in cloud. The train runs through clefts cut in deep lava flows. There's snow down here, too; maybe an inch on the ground and covering the trees.

Day Four: 0730

Grass lake. Highest point on the line, I am told.

Day Four: 0823

Snow's pretty much petered out, but it's still cold. Water in puddles by the tracks is frozen over.

Day Four: 0854

We pass through a tunnel... and voila, we are in Oregon! Only 195 miles to go.

Day Four: 0917

We're stopped, waiting for a freight train. It's started snowing; just a light dusting but it's the small, hard flakes that come in cold weather.

Day Four: 1020

Klamath Lake. The mist is low; I can't see far at all out across the water and the mountains are gone.

Day Four: 1054

Snow's even thicker on the ground. I wonder what it'll be like in Eugene?

Day Four: 1159

Chemult. All the snow's gone now. We're 2 hours and 20 minutes late. ETA Eugene 1505.

Just outside Chemult the snow is back thicker than ever.


I'm afraid I never completed the log past this point. After so many hours on the train, and mainly having to sit up in my chair instead of laying on the cabin floor, I wasn't in very good shape mentally. I spent the remainder of the trip to Eugene in the kid's playroom, watching "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" and "Jimmy Neutron." (During which time the idea for The Dream Makers came to me.) We reached Eugene one and a half to two hours late; I don't know the exact time. I only vaguely remember the arrival. I staggered home, flopped into bed, and spent the evening recuperating.


The End