Feb. 20, 2018



A day trip away from home was on the schedule.  We drove to the bus pickup point at La Costa Park & Ride.  The bus was scheduled to pick us up at 7:45 a.m. but was late arriving due to a bad car accident that had roadways shut down for a bit.  We boarded the bus when it arrived, and our assigned seats were close to the front of the bus, which was good.  There were about 50 passengers on the bus.  Many were single older women along with similar friends and a smattering of older couples.  The bus company we use does not take persons under the age of 18 on these tours which is nice.

Since we were the last pickup, a stop at El Toro was planned up the road for a restroom stop.  I must admit that stopping at a fast food place and 50 people coming through the doors to use the restrooms is not a pretty sight.  The wait for the lady’s restroom is always a line out the door.  After this stop we were finally on the road to our destination which was the small town of Fillmore.  The bus ride would take another 2 hours to Fillmore.  We were going to board the old Fillmore Western Railroad for a train ride including lunch.  Originally, the trip was to take us to Santa Paula but the route was changed due to previous flooding which destroyed some of the train tracks that were still under repair.

I had my camera tucked away in my purse and missed a good photo opportunity when we passed the Goodyear Blimp storage building.  The Goodyear Blimp was sitting outside of the building getting ready to take off since there was a golf tournament in the Los Angeles area where they would be televising area scenes.  I wasn’t thinking and missed a good photo shot.

The tour company gave us a choice of fruit juice and granola bars as snacks on the trip to Fillmore.  Those bus seats where getting more uncomfortable as the miles continued to pass by.

About 11:15 a.m. we drove into the small town of Fillmore and the bus parked by the train station.  Our tour group was to be seated in the dining car since we were being served lunch.  Another bus tour group was in the car ahead of us and they added a couple of extra cars behind our dining car.  Plenty of people including families with young children all waiting to board the train.  We were seated at tables for four and met a very nice couple who sat at our table.  They had been married for 2 years.  He was 73 and she was 64.  The conversations we had during lunch made for a fun interesting trip.

Lunch for us in the dining car was a very nice and generous green salad, a chicken breast in an orange sauce with raisins, rice, mixed vegetables and bread and butter.  You had a choice of coffee or iced tea to drink and if you wanted other drinks you paid for those.  As the train rolled along we passed many acres of citrus fruit, mostly oranges but also lemons and grapefruit. 

Since we were not going as far as Santa Paula, we stopped at the Loose Caboose for the train to turn around.  This was a mix of koi ponds (very smelly), bird aviary, snack’s and knickknacks.  Not much to see here so we got back on the train.  You could tell the people who ran the place counted on tourists to stop and purchase items.

Back on the train, the next stop was The Honey Farm.  They served us dessert on this leg of the trip and it was a generous portion of carrot cake that was very tasty.  Upon arriving at The Honey Farm all the people in the cars behind our dining car had to walk through our car to get off the train.  You might say we were in “first class” compared to their “cattle car” accommodations.  In fact, two young women passing through our car saw the carrot cake on one of our tables and mentioned they were in the “cattle car” and one told the other not to look at the carrot cake to hide her eyes….lol.

The Honey Farm was even more of a tourist trap than the Loose Caboose.  Too many people trying to get inside a crowded space to “taste samples of honey”.  We looked inside the door, turned around and went back and boarded the train.  So many people purchased jars of honey like they had never seen honey before.  I’m sure the folks running that store make their money from train and bus tourists stopping to shop.

Finally, back on the train on the way back to the train station where we would board the bus and head back home.  Everyone was offered a nice cold bottle of water on the bus and a package of cheese Gold Fish snack bag.  Those uncomfortable bus seats were waiting for us on the bus.  It was starting to get dark, at this point in time and we were on the road again.

Heading south on I-5 on a Saturday evening was bound to be a slow process and it was.  I can’t remember where it was we finally stopped for a restroom break and to pick up any food.  We were stopped between 3 choices which were Dairy Queen, Jack in The Box and Krispy Kreme Donuts.  We opted for Jack in The Box for a Sourdough Jack burger, which was indigestion big time.  The lady’s room line was out the door again and we were on strict orders to be back on the bus in a limited time.

The last leg of the trip was underway again.  Since we were the last pick up that insured we were the first drop off.  Our scheduled time for drop off was 7:30 p.m. but we missed that time by an hour.  We arrived back at the Park & Ride at 8:30 p.m. said our thank you to the tour host and goodbyes to the nice couple we had lunch with on the train.

It was a fun day but a very long day.  There is just not a short way to get from our stop to past the Los Angeles area on the bus.  It was also a great day for people watching.