all day I said nothing
unable to sleep
the moonlit night
this train is bound for Oly
My train didn’t leave until the evening so this meant I had most of a day to kill in Bakersfield. I was close to the central downtown and let me tell you there isn’t much action on a Sunday in Bakersfield. I found the most active coffee shop in the “arts district” and hung out there until the Art Museum opened. My plan was to spend the afternoon there and then ride to a store to get some supplies for the train trip and the head to the station to box up the bicycle. Well the best laid plans &c – the art museum was closed to install new exhibits. So I went to the natural history museum instead. This was a bit more kid oriented but there was some nest stuff there. Not far from Bakersfield is “Sharktooth Hill” a large fossil bonefield from when the Pacific Ocean ran into the San Joaquin valley. They had many fossils of sea creatures both extinct and still existent. They also had a quite interesting mineral collections with beautiful examples of petrified wood particularly standing out. I spent as much time as I could there but eventually I’d seen it all and I headed out
I rode around town checking out the Fox Theatre, public art, the Aquatic Center – the most active place in town on this hot day – but eventually I headed toward the closest store. Apart from the small central downtown Bakersfield seems to be all edge city of check cashing places, pawn shops, hairdressers and fast food. Needing to eat I was at a Subway when a guy pulled into the handicap spot, didn’t stop and went through the sign and into the window of the next door Panda Express. I took it as commentary on Panda Express’ menu. I got some supplies at the store and headed to the Amtrak station. There I struggled mightily to get the pedals of my bicycle, but the seemed to,have gotten bound on. While I was engaged in the struggle four cops showed up, entered the woman’s bathroom and removed a woman in handcuffs. Welcome to Bakersfield.
I finally just stuffed my bicycle in the box and wrapped in all in duct tape and checked it in. Not long after I boarded the San Joaquin train that would take me up to Sacremento where I’d board the Coast Startlight at midnight. The San Joaquin is a wide flat valley with small hills far in the distance to the west and the Sierras towering to the easy. All cultivated farmland it seemed really flat all the way to the hills. The sun set a fiery red ball over the hills and later on a wavery crescent moon was reflected in the train windows to the east. Only an amazing ten minutes late I arrived in Sacramento and transferred to the Coast Starlight, which was already running twenty minutes late, so technically I left Sacramento the next day.
on the train north
three weeks of travel in five hours