2013 Trip Around the World with ” The Sea Rebel “
• Dwain C. Crum •
It’s 1,995 rail miles from Union Station in Los Angeles, CA to New Orleans, LA. On 1/18/2013 I had my last meal in Los Angeles at Philippe’s. Philippe’s has been a Los Angeles institution since 1908. I had their traditional French Dip sandwich then boarded AMTRAK’s Sunset Limited for Louisiana. My friend Bob Boyd and my cousin Lisa Cravea (I can’t remember her newly married name) saw me off. It was at 10:00 p.m. that I saw El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles fade into the distance.
Union Station in Los Angeles is one of my favorite buildings. A combination of Spanish and Art Deco styles it opened in 1939. It was the last of the great railroad stations that served multiple railroads. My father used to tell me the story of how he ditched school to see it on opening day. He made the mistake of going a day early and he also got caught so he had to miss it the following day. One thing that happened on opening day was that a train arrived to fast and ended up hanging over a street below (a copy of a photo taken that day is at Philippe’s).
AMTRAK’s Sunset Limited heads east past Pomona and Palm Springs then crosses into Arizona near Yuma. That all happened while I was asleep. On 1/20/2013 we reached Tucson, AZ and later El Paso, TX after crossing through a small section of New Mexico. Tucson, established as a Spanish fort in 1775, is the home of the University of Arizona. The University of Arizona is Tucson’s second largest employer (I don’t know what the first is).
El Paso is at the westernmost tip of Texas. Texas is indeed big. It was our biggest state until Alaska became our 49th state (Hawaii is our 50th) in 1959. Some Texans say they still are the biggest (If you melt Alaska’s snow and ice).
It’s a long ride across Texas, even by rail.