Train to San Francisco

The last time I rode the train was from SLO to Davis and back.  It took 11 hours each way.  That’s right.  I could have driven from SLO to Esparto and back, and I still would’ve beaten the train.

I think the most excruciating part of the journey was the stop at each station along the way.  I don’t remember exactly how long each was, but it seemed like forever.  30 minutes is a long time when you’re only 21 years old.  I had shit to do!  That beer at the bar certainly wasn’t going to drink itself!

But I digress.

Today I have to go to San Francisco to participate in a design review for our new project that we’re working on in Sacramento.  This is my first design, so my project lead and manager both thought I should have my first experience in front of the design review board.  They asked me if I wanted to go.  Except it wasn’t so much a question as it was a statement of fact.

“You’re going to San Francisco on Wednesday.”


The Train from Roseville to Emeryville
7:08am – So here I sit on the 7:08am train bound for Emeryville, and I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised.  There’s no lollygagging on this vessel.  If you’re not at the station by the time the train arrives, you’ll find yourself waiting for the next one.  No waiting around for stragglers.  I would hesitate to even call it a 5 minute stop at each station.  They’re very prompt.  Get in.  Get out.  Get this cattle car moving again.

I am optimisitc that this ride will turn out better than the last one.  The bar for that is pretty low, though.  As long as we don’t t-bone a car on the tracks, we’ll have ourselves a winner.


The Bus from Emeryville to San Francisco
9:25am – A little bit of traffic on the Bay Bridge.

9:45am – Passed a hot dog stand called “What’s Up Dog?”.  Eating there has become one of my Top 10 Life Goals.

The Bus from San Francisco to Emeryville
4:10pm – Bus to Emeryville leaves at 4:20pm.  Sprinted from Davis Street to the Hyatt Regency.  Just caught the bus driver as he was climbing back onto the bus.

“Is this the bus to Emeryville?”


Shit.  But at least I made it there before the bus left.

4:20pm – The real bus to Emeryville showed up about 5 minutes later.  It was already full, so when I got on, I had to stand in the aisle.  My coworker, Mike, left the office a bit after I did.  I didn’t see him get on, but after an heroic sprint — more heroic than my own, in fact — he made it.  The bus driver saw him running and held the door open for him.  He was the last one on.

Speaking of the bus driver, what a looney.  He cut off at least 3 other drivers.  One of them pulled along side, honking and flipping off the bus driver.  The bus driver happily honked back and waved, a huge grin plastered on his face.

Also, a cop attempted to pull him over twice:

<siren, then voice over bullhorn>  “Pull over.”

*snicker* “No, it’s a cardigan, but thanks for asking!”

*bus driver keeps driving*

*bus driver about to pull onto the Bay Bridge*

<siren, then very insistent voice over bullhorn>  “PULL THIS BUS OVER NOW!!!”

*bus driver keeps driving*

Hey, you know, this guy committed at least a dozen moving violations on the way, but he got us to the train station on time, law and order be damned.  You’ve gotta respect that kind of dedication to your craft.

He’s my new hero for the day.

The Train from Emeryville to Sacramento
5:00pm – So far, uneventful, but the ticket dude took my boarding pass to get from Sacto back to Roseville.  I might be stuck in downtown Sac.  If so, I will be sleeping in the bus station tonight.  Also, I will be pissed.

5:30pm – Yes, he took my bus boarding pass.  He’s going to look for it.  I may be going home tonight after all.

5:53pm – w00t!  I’m going home!

I was very impressed with the commuter train to SF.  It didn’t save much time over driving, but it was a lot less stressful, and it gave me time to write this post.  I wouldn’t mind doing it every once in a while.  Amtrak, you have redeemed yourself.