Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hooray for Baja California del Sur!

We had fun in Los Barilles - not far from Cabo San Lucas - this past two weeks. Got back to Alameda Sunday night and I've started planning for my move to my new permanent residence in Martinez on Tuesday.  I will post more photos (which I'll be stealing from son James - since my camera didn't work) in another blog soon's I get settled-in at the new place. . . which could be awhile.  For now I'm just posting this one of my two Muchachos enjoying the good life on the patio of our seaside cottage in Meh-hick-Oh!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Downtown Martinez Street Scenes and My New Neighborhood

Here's more pictures of what will soon be my new neck-of-the-woods.  

Joe Dimaggio's mom and dad moved out of Martinez to San Francisco with him and the rest of their family when he was only one year old, but he had cousins who remained in Martinez and ran the supermarket and bakery at this location - downtown at corner of Ferry Street and Main Street, which is now the site of the "Legal Grounds Cafe."

Martinez is the county seat, so also downtown - at corner of Main Street and Court Street - is the Finance Building to the left (old courthouse) and current Contra Costa County Courthouse to the right. Farther down Main Street is the County Administration Building and Detention Center, the tall building in the center of this pic:

A "McCheese-y building stands across the street from the courthouse. . . .

And no town with a courthouse would be complete if it didn't have an establishment like the one on the left in this pic, taken a few blocks from the courthouse:

My apartment is just south of town and immediately off the John Muir Parkway, California Route 4.

Muir Station shopping center, down the block from my place:

It's a nice shopping center, with 4 or 5 casual restaurants. . . .

And a supermarket. . . .

John Muir National Historic Site is only 1/4 mile down the parkway from me. . . .

Another view of Muir home, in upper right of this street scene at corner of Walnut Street and Alhambra Avenue:

The Martinez family adobe, on Muir NHS. . . .  Built in 1849, it was the first building on the farm that was granted to the Martinez family earlier by the Mexican government:

Here's a map of my area. . . .

There's a really neat mural on the Route 4 Muir Parkway underpass wall on Alhambra Avenue just south of Muir NHS:

Just north of John Muir NHS is Contra Costa Medical Center, on Alhambra Avenue near Berrellessa Street.  This is the north end of the hospital property. . . .

This is the main hospital building:

The old downtown Post Office, on Court Street isn't far from the courthouse:

An interesting looking storefront downtown. . . .

Another downtown scene:

Main Street farther west of the government buildings:

The downtown Farmers' Market:

A few blocks off Main Street is the city's Museum. . . .

The Art Deco style public library. . . .

 MY post office, on Alhambra Avenue just north of Muir NHS: 

 Ygnacio Martinez Plaza, on Alhambra Avenue not far from Alhambra High School:


 St. Catherine of Siena church, near downtown on Melius Street:

I think I'm gonna like it here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Train Set

These are some of the historic and other railroad cars and trains that have appeared in Martinez, California from time to time.  These passenger Pullman and Observation ("Bubble Top") cars are generally from the Reno Snow Train or Reno Fun Train, an excursion train that runs from Oakland thru Martinez and on to Reno, Nevada during the winter. . . .  There are rumors that one or both of these trains will no longer run in 2015, after 49 years of service.

The steam locomotive #844 is a historic engine (not a part of the Snow Train or Fun Train) that's been preserved by the Union Pacific and that tours the West every so often.

Iowa Pacific's "Sky View" car:

Union Pacific's Steam Locomotive #844 crossed our bridge some time ago:

Interesting how they can run a pickup truck on our rails:

Union Pacific runs these diesels thru our station once in a while:

Amtrak's Coast Starlight train. The tall building in background is Martinez's County Jail & Administration building.  The old historic railroad station is alongside the train:

The Reno Snow train and Reno Fun train contain many different, varied passenger cars that were formerly on  different railroads all over the country.  A nice "antique railroad cars" collection.  This one - as you can see - is from the Louisville & Nashville:

The Milwaukee Road:

I can't figure out this one's "provenance" but it's a nice one anyway:

Northern Pacific:

Another that I can't figure out:

"Pacific Sands". . . .  Possibly a Union Pacific, or a Central Pacific?  Its colors match UP's modern locomotives, but also match the Central Pacific's passenger car that's shown a few photos farther below here. . . .

                         SP again:

Another of "unknown origin" to me.

Maybe this one was used once-upon-a-time on the Hudson River line?

Maybe another Southern Pacific?  Its colors match those of the SP shown earlier. It likely has a dining area on the bottom (note that it is the Sierra Hotel, and at some time in the past may have had sleeping berths). . . .  Some of the cars on the Rocky Mountaineer train that Eleanor and I took a few years ago had upstairs observation decks and separate seating/dining/sleeping areas on "ground level," so I think this has a similar arrangement. Again, a nice outdoor rear platform. . . .

Central Pacific, long out-of-business California line (the line that built that part of the Transcontinental Railroad from Sacramento to Promontory Point Utah in the late 1860s.)

Santa Fe's "Vista Canyon". . . .

"Tioga Pass" from what railroad I couldn't figure:

The Great Northern's "City of Spokane". . . .

New York Central's "Portland". . . .

Lotta locos here. The "silver" fronted steamer is parked on permanent exhibit in our station:

Iowa Pacific's "Prairie View". . . .

"Chambersburg Inn," rail line unknown to me:

Just a nice new-looking diesel:

Amtrak's California Zephyr "Silver Lariat". . . .

On the trestle near my apartment - Burlington Northern Santa Fe:

Hauling a long line of containers:

Nice view from a bit farther away, with Mt. Wanda behind it:

A nice looking "Chessie" passenger car, the "Chapel Hill":

 Wrapped in advertising:

A brand-spankin'-new Union Pacific locomotive;

Busy day at the station:

Lowest number I've seen thus far:

Circus! It didn't stop in Martinez; must've been on way to Oakland:

Oil tank train. A rarity on the downtown line:

Georgia RR's "Dearing" Pullman:

Canadian National. Nice rear observation platform!

Union Pacific's good old #844 going thru our station:

The sign indicates they've developed "drone" locomotives!

Don't know what rail line this one's from, but it's a nice looking "bubble top". . . .

The Kansas of "American Railway Explorer":

Passenger cars on this one look just like the ones on the trains out of Penn Station going to Washingon, DC:

 A sightseeing car, again in the mode of northeast corridor ones I've seen at Penn Station, NYC:

"American Railway Explorer" Kansas again, as seen from the side:

Just thought this was a nice color scheme:

This particular Georgia #300 car was used by Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama when on "Whistlestop" campaigns:

Seaboard Coast Line's Deerwood Beach:

UP tank car hauler:

Dunno what line it ran on, but it's named the "Suits Me" and has an emblem saying it is Pullman Company's 100th car:

California Zephyr excursion train:

The "Virginia City" passenger car reminded me of the kind of car I used to ride from Massapequa Park to Jamaica back in NY in the 1960s:

Definitely from the northeast corridor. Wonder what brought it all the way out here:

Here's a bit more about the Snow Train/Fun Train that I copied and pasted here from Amtrak's page about it:

Aboard the seasonal (February - March only) Reno Fun Train party and dance your way from Northern California cities through the snowy Sierra mountains for a weekend of fun and games in Reno, Nevada. On your return home, relax and watch the spectacular wintertime scenery. For your convenience, our schedules feature two different Friday departure times with fun themes such as Mardi Gras, Country Western & Murder Mystery.
Ice and glasses are furnished aboard and meals are served at your seat. Bring your own snacks and beverages, if you wish. Strolling minstrels and dancing to live music add to the festivities. The Cafe Car offers popular beverages and snacks for sale. Also, the train features a Great Dome car and entertainment in the Piano Lounge Car.
So step aboard the (Weekend) Reno Fun Train or (Midweek) Reno Snow Train and treat yourself to a great winter getaway to exciting Reno!
Maybe, just maybe, I'd like to take one of these Reno trains some day - if they're still running.  
I had fun a few years ago on this train, up in the Canadian Rockies.  They still run, as per the newspaper ad in today's Newsday.  The Reno trains are a lot less expensive tho.

The End
(Okay, so this car isn't in or near Martinez's station.)