Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008, pt 1

Since we had plans to see Wicked while in CA, I bought the book a couple of weeks before the trip since I had never read it. Matt found our sweet Peanut posing next to it and he said that the end result was very fitting. Yeah right!

Random picture of Ham, chillin' out Ham style.

After we got on the train and were settled into our compartment, we "went to bed",and had a fitful night of very little sleep. I watched the scenery from outside as the snow got deeper and deeper. I silently cursed every flake. I. Hate. Snow.

So, you can imagine I was much happier the next day when most of the scenery looked like this. By the way, excuse any weirdness or streakiness in some of these.. I had to take them through a dirty train window.

This one was fairly ruined by the window, but with a little texturing came out pretty cool:

We passed so many barren and depressing areas of the country. Ghost towns, abandoned houses, empty freight chassis.. it was all very haunting and definitely a different glimpse of the country than what you see from the freeways.

The next morning, I woke up around 6:00am. We were supposed to be arriving at our stop in Fullerton, CA at 7:30am. But when I looked outside, we weren't moving.. and I saw this:

More snow.. but just a dusting. We had no idea where we were, since the conductors don't make any announcements between 10pm - 8am so they don't disturb anyone. By 8am we still hadn't moved, but we did get an update that a snowstorm had swept over the Mojave Desert and the rail yards in Barstow, CA were snowed under. They were having to dig the tracks out of the ice before the freight traffic could move. Because passenger trains have to yield to freight traffic, we were in for a long delay.

We amused ourselves by taking pre-sunrise photos from the window

The sun finally made an appearance..

As we gained more light, we were able to see a bit more detail of our surroundings. We were still wondering why this slight dusting of snow was causing such a fuss.

We started moving a couple of hours later, but it was start-stop-start-stop. We passed freight trains, also at a standstill:

I liked the farm equipment we passed, crusted in snow

As we approached the Mojave Desert via the Cajon Pass, the snow got deeper. As Matt said, hell had literally frozen over.

We got more of an update, and it had been determined that since snow this severe is unheard of in the desert, the switches on the tracks are not equipped with heaters. They had to summon a crew to come out and manually thaw the switches so they could be moved. At this point, I put aside my hate for winter weather and was thankful I could enjoy the beautiful scenery from a warm train cabin:

As we reached the peak, the view was outstanding. This is a desert! Can you believe it?

The sun was trying to burn through some of the clouds and mist

The window almost ruined this one again, but I liked the result after a little tweaking:

One of my favorite shots. I love the bit of color from the freight train across the pass and the heavy clouds sitting on the mountains:

Another favorite:

A bit of proof that this is supposed to be a desert:

Finally, 8 hours late, we arrived in Fullerton!

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