• Trip report : San Francisco-Merced -1989

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by David Benton
This a trip report I found in one of my diaries from my traveling days.( I would have been 24 in 1989).
Unfortunately for some reason it is only one short trip report. I have not sifted through to find the others from a 6 month trip.

SanFrancisco to Merced. October 1989.

Actually this trip begins on a bus over to Oakland to board the train. On the day I went, We transferred to Bart instead, because of the damage to the bay bridge by the earthquake. However, the ride on Bart was a bonus, clean,comfortable and fast .It is an excellent system ,sadly under utilised by car mad San Francisians.
Onboard the Amtrak Superliner, I found comfortable seats, with enough leg room for any basketball player.The large windows, and height of the double deck cars ensures a good view.
We rolled slowly through Oakland freight yards, expecting to pick up speed once clear, but it was not to be. A slow freight in front of us restricted us to just 20 MPH, and it sure felt like it.
Once clear of the built up areas, the train follows the coast, which is surprisingly unspoilt and deserted. We then hit Stockton , with its 2 massive bridges across the harbour. From here, its into the San Joaquin valley, one of the biggest agricultural producing areas in the world. Flat as a pancake, field after field, only broken by irrigation channels which supply its lifeblood. It is never the less interesting, watching the different crops go by.
Crawling through the backyards of industries may not give the best impression of the towns passed through, but it is something one doesn't normally see from a car. Because of the slow freight train we arrived in Merced 1 hour late, but the connecting bus was waiting patiently for us.