Spring 2023 California Road Trip – Heading Home

Travel Dates: May 5-7, 2023

As we turned our back on Cambria we headed east on California highways 46 then 41 through Paso Robles over the coast range that forms the west end of the San Joaquin Valley until we hit I5 then had a long drive to Sacramento. Our motel was close to the historic district and we had a nice little dinner. The relative of some of Carla’s ancestors lived in Sacramento for a few years and probably walked on the same streets we did.

We were up early the next morning and decided to get some steps in before getting back into the car so we went back to the historic district for breakfast then checked out the California Railroad Museum. It was early and a gate was open near a couple of locomotives so we walked in like we knew what we were doing.

Ah, be still my beating heart. I posted earlier about our stop in Southern California to see trains and shared why I love watching them. TL;DR it’s because my grandpa took me down to the Winslow, Arizona depot to watch the Santa Fe passenger trains stop for service. The museum has a classic Warbonnet paint scheme on an EMD F7 which was the lead locomotive of many of the premier Santa Fe passenger trains. If I remember correctly this class of locomotive was geared to run in excess of 100 MPH: OG high speed rail. This is the locomotive of my memories. Seeing it also reminded me of my mom’s dad who was such a good grandpa – a model for me now.

Santa Fe EMD F7 locomotive at the California Railroad Museum.

I remember the walkway behind those portholes on the side were lit up during the nighttime stops and 10 year old me was transfixed by looking in at the machinery. Good stuff.

Carla pulled me away and we headed for our last night on the road in Ashland. The beautiful city is just over the California border. Unfortunately for us, but good for drought-ridden southern Oregon it was rainy. We still walked around a bit. Ashland is known for its world class Shakespeare festival; unfortunately, COVID and the new-normal summer wildfire smoke has put a dent in the festival and tourism in general. Regardless, Lithia park is a beautiful linear park along both banks of Ashland Creek.

Ashland Creek in Lithia Park. Ashland, Oregon

Into the car we climbed once again and about 5 hours later we were home. We had a great trip; it was so nice seeing a green California and getting some quality time with friends, the central California coast, and yes, trains.

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