Friday, July 09, 2010

Time To Leave

We had a 2:40 PM train to catch. Time to take the Texas Eagle home again.

My in laws dropped us off just before two o'clock, but without stopping for lunch. Let's face it: for a train that departs at 2:40, Amtrak will not open the diner car until dinner at about 5 PM. So, while my wife and daughter watched our luggage, my son and I headed across the street to Olivera Street and grabbed Mexican food packaged to-go to take on the train.

As soon as we got back to Union Station, we heard our train called over the public address system. We grabbed all our stuff and headed for the track, bypassing the pre-boarding check-in. We found our roomettes and stowed our stuff, then took our lunch to the lounge car. It was still empty. Too bad we did not have time to stop at "Union Bagel" and grab something to drink, as the snack bar was closed.

While we ate, several people passed through. Some asked where we got the food. We replied Olivera Street. We were complemented on our foresight several times.

The train left on time.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Magic Mountain

We took our Six Flags Fiesta Texas season passes and headed for Magic Mountain. This theme park is known for its roller coasters! Check out their web site at

Our Rides

We rode the following rides, in the order I remember them:


This is one of their newest rides: I don't remember it being there when we visited Magic Mountain a couple of years ago. It also had the longest line of the day.

It was definitely different. You sit at the same level as the track. The seats, each of which are equipped with loudspeakers, tip back and forth through almost 360 degrees.

This picture of X2 is not from our trip. It is just a great picture from MSNBC.COM


This is a tall coaster with lots of loops. Think of what it would be like to ride a corkscrew with irregular coils.

Roaring Rapids

This is the most aggressive white-water raft ride I have been on. The only problem? My wife and daughter got soaked, while I stayed dry!



This sounds more intriguing that it is. These are your standard bumper cars.


The Tram - I forgot the name

Grand Carousel

Like most older carousels, this was originally configured with two benches. Unfortunately, one was missing and, from the marks on the floor, had been missing for quite some time. This meant that the other was always full.


Riddler's Revenge

This ride is a strange one: you can either stand up or sit down while riding it! The entire seat moves up or down to accommodate you, although is appears to lock into position once you reach the top of the first climb.

The picture at right is from California Travel.

Terminator® Salvation™: The Ride

While we were waiting for this ride, a 5.4 earthquake struck Palm Springs, CA. For safety reasons, Magic Mountain shut down all of the rides for about half an hour. We thought the earthquake was just the ground vibrating due to the ride.

This ride includes a “station fly-through” in which trains come screaming through the loading area in front of and above people just just before they board.

Strange Observation:

Part of the fun of a theme park is people watching. In addition to the usual families with children in tow (or should I say groups of children with parents in tow), theme parks also attract large numbers of dating couples. California is ethnically and racially a very diverse state. Thus, I expected to see great diversity among the park patrons.

Among the couples, I saw many white couples, black couples, latino couples and oriental couples, where both were of similar ages. I saw quite a number of older men with younger women, but I was surprised by the number of young men with older women. I also saw many white men with black, oriental or latino women.

What struck me as very strange is that I did not see any black, oriental or latino men with white women. I wonder why.

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Hollywood Bowl

We went to the Hollywood Bowl for their Fourth of July Concert.