Union Station Denver – Amtrak

July 15, 2014 by ·  

Union Station Sign Denver Amtrak Platform

Amtrak Platform – Union Station In Denver, Colorado

    Two months ago we all said, “Goodbye Market Street Station!” when our beloved cave, Denver’s only underground was closed. I was and remain all right with that because it forced me to examine my relationship with Union Station. Back in the day when the light rail opened I’d take the C line out of there and I partied Lotus a few times but I never used it as a train station. I never had to jump onto an Amtrak train as, “All aboard!” was shouted or watched my girlfriend chase my departing train down the platform, blowing kisses at me as she knocked people and stuff over in a way that made it seem like it was in a movie. As she ran along after me I would be smitten with her physically exhausting display of affection for me but as soon as I pulled my head back in the open window, I’d be laughing at whatever comical way she would have finally tripped and collided into something. Without a defining moment like that, do you even have a relationship at all?

    I wasn’t sure so the other day I went to Union Station in order to explore this new hub of bus and rail. I was there to take pictures and to see what the station could offer me beyond the light rail. By the way, in San Diego they call it the trolley. As in, “I’m going to take the trolley downtown.” Saying I’m going to take the light rail downtown makes me think of beams of light like a light saber from Star Wars. There is no heavy rail or dark rail or whatever the competition of light rail is. It should be rebranded as The Denver Trolley.

Amtrak Platform Denver Union Station

Police On The Platform

    For reference, the people you see in the first photo were waiting to board an incoming train so I walked down the platform and was politely stopped by the policeman you see above. He asked if I was catching the train so I said I was not; I was taking photos and was heading to the old looking Pullman in the background. He said I had to stay back past the bridge, also visible in the first photo. There are no signs to that effect but at least he was only concerned with where I was and not what I was doing, which was taking photos.

Amtrak Train Union Station Denver

People Waiting For The Train

    When the train arrived it backed into the station and people become to jostle about as the excitement of imminent travel began to take over.

Amtrak Train Pulls Into Union Station Denver

The Timeless Train

    Watching a train roll in to a station is a timeless experience because standing on a train platform today is exactly the same experience that it was 150 years ago. If you are in the vicinity of a station and you hear a train whistle you are drawn to it, if you are in a station and you see a train pulling in you are drawn to it. I was. My goal was to photograph the underground portion of Union Station but once I found out a train was arriving I headed over to the Amtrak platform.

Amtrak Train Window Washing Union Station Denver

Washing The Windows

    When the train was parked, window washing caught my eye. I had never thought about train windows being washed before; you never see it happening in any Cary Grant movies from the golden age of rail, where I learned most of what I know about trains so this was a neat thing for me to see for the first time. Also, this is my favorite photo from the day.

Amtrak Train Platform Union Station Denver

People About To Board The Train

    There are so many stories going on in the world at any given time and a train station helps bring a bunch of them together in a very small space. This is how I interpret the photo above:
The couple on the right is full of uncertainty; the woman on the phone is explaining to someone that she is literally about to step on a train and leave while the guy she is with is worried that whomever she is speaking to will talk her out of leaving.

    The couple on the left have everything worked out so they don’t have a care in the world.

    The guy in the peach colored shirt is just a photobomb.

    A few minutes later an RTD transit guard and that same policeman from earlier came up to me. The transit guard did all the taking and asked if I was getting on the train, what kind of photos I was taking and told me they are concerned for everyone’s safety. Then he told me something unexpected. He said I could call RTD customer service at 303.299.6000 and get a permit to take photos around the station. He said it’s easy to get and it will allow the security and police personnel in the station to know I was there and what I was doing. I was in the station for just as long as the people waiting for the train so it was ultimately the amount of time I spent in the station that lead to our conversation, not my taking photos. He never said I couldn’t take photos or to put my camera down but getting a permit would just put everyone on the same page. Fair enough, I’ll check it out and report back.

    In the meantime I do recommend you check out the station, with or without a camera. I’ll do an entirely separate post on the underground portion because it is rather grand so I need to spend some more time down there and take a few more photos before I present my assessment to the world. Cheers!

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Imperial Beach

July 6, 2014 by ·  

Imperial Beach Town Marker

Imperial Beach City Limits

    I was in Imperial Beach, California for the last three of the eight years I lived in San Diego. It was during that trio of years that I experienced the best and worst of my time out west. Best because I lived near the beach, had constant sunny weather and a thermometer that always read 72 degrees and worst because it was the place where I had to say goodbye to that San Diego weather.

Imperial Beach Apartment

My Apartment In Imperial Beach

    IB is the most southwesterly city in the United States so while I was there I had the Pacific Ocean on one side, Mexico behind me and Coronado in front of me. The two story building in the photo above is where I lived; my front door is right in the middle. I was facing south to take this photo so that is Tijuana, Mexico in the background while the setting sun and the beach are to the right. In the foreground is the southern edge of San Diego Bay, which is a protected wetlands and bird sanctuary, which is what I saw when I opened my front door.

Woman In Imperial Beach Sand

A Woman On The Beach

    On a bicycle, my place was five minutes from the beach and the endless Pacific Ocean. I grew up in Denver, Colorado and never got used to the winters so when I signed on to a four year hitch in the Navy and got stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii I became hooked on the weather, the beach, the ocean and travel. I sailed everywhere between Hawaii and the Persian Gulf during those four years and came to love the life of going places and seeing things. In particular, going places that were warm and seeing beaches with sapphire blue water.

Imperial Beach Pier People At Sunset

Imperial Beach Pier

    It took five years of living in La Mesa, in East County San Diego to realize I wasn’t close enough to the water so in 2011 I moved to the coastal town of Imperial Beach. After I moved there, I started traveling more, taking more photos and just generally enjoying life more than I had over the previous five years. I lived on San Diego Bay, I could walk to the beach and there was a farmers market on the pier every Friday. Life was good.

Imperial Beach Public Art

    Imperial Beach is a great place to live and I enjoyed my time there. It’s a beach town and a border town but it doesn’t have the crowds that would normally be associated with those things. I visited Border Field State Park, had dental work done in Tijuana and biked up to Coronado whenever I wanted. Even with a foreign country two miles to the south and glorious Coronado to the north, I usually found myself heading west, to the beach and the ocean. The photo above is the place where I would lock up my bike and start walking along the beach. The darkness behind the palm trees and the art sculpture is the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.

IB Forum Bar Imperial Beach

IB Forum Bar In Imperial Beach

    The photo above shows IB Forum, the most southwesterly bar in the continental United States. The art sculpture in the previous photo is just to the left and once again, Mexico is behind. This is a bar that I never set foot in. I’ve been drunk in enough foreign lands and American cities to last two lifetimes so adding more instances based solely on geographic location lost all appeal for me many years ago.

Imperial Beach Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree In Imperial Beach

    What is the point of this post? The catalyst was me going through old photos that I never published. The photos were a catalyst for me becoming nostalgic about living in Imperial Beach. This sentence is a catalyst for me to use the word catalyst in a way that has nothing to do with anything. I like taking and posting photos and I like writing about them so maybe it’s as simple as that. Maybe I miss living in Imperial Beach. Maybe I don’t know.

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The Green Parasol

July 4, 2014 by ·  

Green Parasol Imperial Beach Pier

Green Parasol On Imperial Beach Pier

    A couple years ago I was photographing surfers in Imperial Beach, California when all of a sudden I saw a woman standing on the pier; she was holding a green parasol. This woman and the child she seemed to be in charge of were just enjoying a pleasant day on the beach. They looked like they were having fun so I decided to ditch the surfers and instead, follow these two around.

Green Parasol And Woman Imperial Beach Pier

Walking On IB Pier

    My original plan was to walk onto the pier and ask the lady if she would pose for some photos for me. It took a few minutes for me to get to the pier and walk out to where they were. Something happened in that interim because the lady was yelling at the kid and marching him off the pier. Ok, new plan; try to get some photos of this woman and her green parasol without getting yelled at myself. I don’t know why I wanted to but once I saw she had a green top on too, it just seemed like the natural thing to do.

Green Parasol Imperial Beach

Woman Walks Up Imperial Beach

    The ironic thing is that when they walked off the pier, they turned to the north and walked right past where I had been standing to begin with. Whatever the kid did earlier seemed to be forgotten as they continued walking towards Coronado. Anyway, this was a pleasant little diversion in a pleasant day that I wanted to share. Cheers!

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