Scenes from a Train: The American Landscape Part 3 (salads, Steinbeck, and gang violence)

2:06 PM

The final part of this photo journey...from Pismo Beach the Coast Starlight passed by San Luis Obipso and finally took me into the farmlands of Salinas, my stop. Salinas is known as the "Country's Salad Bowl" because of the many varieties of vegetables grown here. In fact, about 80% of America's fruits and vegetables are grown in California.

On the Union Pacific Railroad, the largest railroad network in the United States.

A farmhouse that reminds me of something straight out of Supernatural

Salinas is also the boyhood home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, and a major stop on the professional rodeo circuit.

Horse trailers. For the rodeo, maybe?

Salinas is also known for gang violence between the Northern and Southern California factions, with most activity taking place at night. I've been warned against wearing gang colors (red and blue). Luckily there was nothing to indicate that in the short hour I was there. Just shades of green and brown all around me. I must have looked like an idiot; my lens was pressed against the glass for a good 90% of the trip, an awestruck "wow" emanating from my lips from time to time. It was truly amazing see the patterns in a landscape so densely diverse it was almost tangible through the train glass.

I can't tell whether this is a school... or a correctional facility.

Finally, finally I reached the station and took the bus to Carmel. The kind lady driver, Teresa, waited with me until my ride arrived. She may have thought I looked younger than I am. ;p

Thus ended this awe-inspiring train first journey alone, my first freedom, set against the backdrop of the American countryside. Dare I call it The Land of the Free? ;)

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