Train Waving

This past Saturday, Boyfriend, my dad and myself took the train to San Diego and returned, not at all sick of each other's company, the next day.

What made the trip fairly unique was that the train held a 1927 engine, carrying behind it 10-11 modern Amtrak cars. 


Depending on the fuel that was burning, the engine blew black or white steam, as if a papal decision still hung in the balance.  During occasional stops, we'd disembark, and the train would back up about a mile to pick up speed for a 'driveby' of about 80 mph for the gratification of the thousands of lenses focused, poised and ready.

We got into San Diego at about 4P.  Our hotel was closeby, so we walked from the depot – and were almost immediately greeted by some locals:

We checked in, and agreed to meet in a couple of hours and get Dinner.

I knew that Little Italy was close by, but I didn't know that it was literally within spitting distance (I didn't test this, however).  It's a charming place, full of mosaics, piazzas, faux-renaissance painting on walls, baskets of flowers hanging from the street signs.  Menus of the restaurants stood outside, and I can't think of better window shopping.  The one we chose, as I later told the concierge of our hotel, murdered us with food. (The antipasto was the best kind – all meat and cheese:  no vegetables or breadsticks – daintiness did not become it.)

Now, there was one thing I noticed throughout our trip.  People were waving at us. 

Everyone:  workers, surfers, bicyclers, sunbathers, children (one little girl was holding her ears), their parents.  They were everywhere:  at the beach, in cars stopped at the railroad crossing, on apartment balconies, peering through curtains.

Some already had cameras.  I don't know how they got ready so soon; possibly they were more in tune with the soles of their feet, and could feel the steam and wheels grinding upwards through the ground hours before anyone else.

Why did they wave at us?  Admiration of early technology, when smoke in the air was a thing of beauty, and not something worrisome?  Admiration of speed, and loudness?  Are these people tired of streamlined sameness?  Why were they happy?

I asked Boyfriend about this.  Without pause, he answered, "They want to be part of it."

Now, earlier, he claimed that a dog was waving at us too.  I called him on this, requesting an explanation.  He answered, "Its tail was wagging."

Boyfriend:  2.  Aubrey:  0. 

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14 responses to “Train Waving

  1. That was fun! Thanks for taking us along on this jaunty ride. Yup, boyfriend: 2, with a groan.

  2. Soooooo cool! To see that big ol' engine in action must have been and felt amazing! And to have people (and dogs) being happy!!! It must be a "sign of the times" that I feel that is a rare thing!So glad you had such a great time! And we got to share a bit of it!

  3. Neat train, that is so cool! I rode my first train last year (I've ridden them at the zoo, but they don't really count) and I'll be on one again in about a week. They are a lot of fun and so much more relaxing than air travel.

  4. Little Italy sounds nice – mosaics. Love the old trains, it's my favorite way to travel.

  5. very cool, and you, of course, look fabulous as always!

  6. It's very nice to read one of your posts that doesn't require a subsequent trip to Wikipedia for background information. I'm not complaining, though.I bought a VW Beetle back at the end of 1999. People of all ages used to wave at me when I'd drive by. That stopped after about a year or so, though. I guess the model became more common and people got tired of waving. I still get an occasional wave from a toddler.

  7. They were all waving at you, Aubrey! Even the doggie!Trains are brill! And that is one heck of an engine!

  8. Looks like lots of fun!

  9. What a lovely experience for everyone! Thanks for sharing it with us.What did the train whistle sound like? Properly old-fashioned?

  10. What a fabulous outing. Perhaps one's desire to wave at trains comes from childhood when adults say " here comes a choo-choo, wave to the choo-choo driver" … though, I hasten to add I never said that to my kids, but I was standing at a crossing once waiting for a train to come past when a woman next to me said something similar to a child in a stroller who replied "it's not a choo-choo, it's a locomotive".

  11. A fine adventure. I especially love seeing the grand old loco still chugging along; every year they become more rare being so difficult and expensive to maintain. As a boy I used to wave at the engineers and at crew riding the the caboose of trains passing by. I can't say as I really know why I thought waving at them and being acknowledged with a return wave was important but there you are. — JG

  12. What a wonderful experience! Thanks for taking us all for a ride! Oh, wait. That doesn't sound quite right. Yet it does. So glad you went and brought back such a fun story.

  13. Wow, how fun. I didn't hear anything about this. Is this an annual event of some sort to promote trains or their history? Did you enjoy your weekend? So disappointed we didn't hook up!

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