Friday Flashback #008 …

Train travel is criminally underused in this country, if you ask me. But there’s a beautiful Amtrak trip here in Southern California that I’ve taken a few times on my journeys to Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Glendale. It’s the Pacific Surfliner, and while it takes a while to get there (longer than a car ride, unless there’s crazy traffic and let’s face it … in Southern California there’s ALWAYS crazy traffic), it’s a beautiful trip … for the most part. Then it segues inland and industrial areas and it’s distinctly pretty blah. But from San Diego to about Anaheim, it’s right along the Pacific Ocean and occasionally you see images like the one above, a lonely lifeguard station sitting quietly vigilant by the water. And there’s lots and lots of palm trees, too.

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Friday Flashback #007 …

I suppose this should be some kind of James Bond post, being #007 and all, but it isn’t. (If you want to see my weekly James Bond book cover posts on Instagram, go there and search for the hashtag #52weeksof007). Instead, I give you my daily mode of commuter transportation, the Cabrillo ferry, part of the Flagship San Diego fleet of boats. No, it doesn’t break apart mid-bay into a speedboat, gunning away from the evil mercenaries of SPECTRE; it’s just a nice, calm, very zen-like way of commuting to and from work each day. A year or so ago, if you told me I’d be taking a boat to work each day, I’d say you were f-ing crazy, but here we are, and I have to tell you, that ride home every weeknight is the best part of my day. It’s like a virtual escape from a very hectic downtown and any work worries I might be dealing with, to a calm, quiet paradise. I love it.

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Friday Flashback #006 …

Both Seattle and Portland are two of my favorite West Coast destinations. Both cities seem so much more metropolitan and sophisticated than San Diego and their downtown areas are much more built-up, much busier and more thriving. The photo above is the famous Seattle Monorail, built for the 1962 World’s Fair (known as the Century 21 Exposition). They’ve kept the Seattle Center park intact, and the monorail ride takes you from downtown to a beautiful area that includes museums, the famous Space Needle, and much more. That’s the newly-named Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) that the monorail is traveling through, above. It used to be called EMP (Experience Music Project), but I digress (when you’re a billionaire and you have your own museum, you can call it whatever you please). I love Seattle, but I particularly love Seattle Center.

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Friday Flashback #005 …

When I travel, I tend to travel to big cities with bookstores. It’s just my thing. I like nature and walks and sightseeing and museums and all that travel stuff, but give me a big city with a major bookstore (or 2 or 3) and I’m happy as a clam (although no one has ever explained the happiness ratio of clams to humans, to be honest). The photo above is from The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles, probably the most photogenic bookstore I’ve visited in the U.S. While it’s stock doesn’t rival The Strand in New York, or Powell’s in Portland (they don’t call it the “City of Books” for nothing!), this giant store is a must-see in LA if you’re into books. More info here.

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