Thursday, 27 March 2014

Day trip to Oakland

The weather wasn't looking too promising, however the clouds soon disappeared as we spent 3 glorious hours in Oakland.

To get there we:
Drove 1 km from the motel to the Caltrain Station.
Took the Caltrain from South San Francisco to Millbrae.
Took the BART from Millbrae to Oakland.
Took the bus from Oakland to Jack London Square.

To get back we:
Took the ferry from Jack London District to the Ferry Building at San Francisco
Walked to Folsom Station
Took the MUNI from Fulsom Station to King Street Station
Took the Caltrain from King Street to Sth San Francisco and drove back to the motel.

Jimmy and Paul took off to see the sights of San Fran, while the rest stuck with me.

Whilst at Sth City Caltrain, I bumped into a guy who we shall call Dennis, and he turned out to be a loco engineer for Caltrain. He was catching a train to start his shift and he said he would give me a wave and toot when he took his first train through, which was going to be about 5:30 pm. He lived up to his promise and gave me a huge blast on the horn and a big wave out the window as he went sailing through doing about 70 mph.
I'd been in that particular spot (32 feet from the tracks) for near on 2 hours by then and had filmed about 14 trains going through, so it came as a bit of a surprise when the local sheriff turned up and told me and Chris to stop what we were doing as we were too close to the tracks (15 feet is the legal requirement). The concern was that the rubbish might blow up and hit us - yep a piece of paper can do some serious damage.
This little guy in his black uniform was spoiling for an argument (hand clap, followed by hands on cuffs posture). He said that someone had phoned to voice their concern. The odd thing was that people on the platform waiting for trains were way closer than us.
So instead of giving the guy what he wanted, he happily obliged saying "we've got enough footage now and the sun is getting too low anyway". This took him aback a little bit as I'm sure he was expecting us to get upset and argue with him.
We drove off and he then drove off, giving the guys at the Union Pacific shack a big friendly wave which was returned in kind.
We'd learned yesterday that one of the UP guys vehemently hates railfans, and I was wondering if he had anything to do with what happened, also, 30 minutes beforehand, a bunch of kids were skateboarding on the platform, inside the yellow line as an express went through - they were close. I don't know if it was the UP guy or if it was a Caltrain loco engineer that was genuinely concerned or a misunderstanding - we'll never know.
Overall, it was no biggie and was no great loss as the sun was getting too low and the tummy was starting to rumble.
Observations: one vehicle got hit by a barrier arm at Oakland, two others had to reverse up so they wouldn't get hit. Walked passed a car with 3 females in it stuck at traffic lights - all 3 were furiously texting and totally oblivious to me staring at them. There's a lot more homeless people in San Francisco than there was last year. They're now out in the middle of the day living on the streets. The BART is fast - really fast. The guy at the Millbrae Station who helped me figure out the BART ticket machine was really helpful. The couple at the Folsom station that explained where the MUNI trains went were really helpful. The old African-American lady in the Chinese market store tonight who said I was young got a hug that put a smile on her face. Lots of genuinely friendly people here.

Photos from today below:

Why Oakland ? Street running !

Tourists on the Oakland Ferry - silly tourists...

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