A week with family in the Central Valley

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I left San Francisco and took the 'Amtrak' train over to my sisters house at Bakersfield in the Central Valley of California.  The trains in America are very comfortable but also very slow.. and my journey was delayed even further just 4 miles short of my destination.  Initially the train stopped for half an hour with no reason and then we were eventually informed that a 'suspect package' had been found on the track and as they thought it was a bomb we couldn't go any further.  Eventually the train reversed back down the track to a level crossing where we transferred to some buses for the last few miles !!  With that scare behind me I had a great week staying with my sister Michelle, her husband Austin and my four nieces & nephews - Bethany, Eleonore, Samuel & Joshua.  On the Sunday we went to the 'Buck Owens' country music restaurant - it doubles as a tribute to Buck Owens the country music singer who put Bakersfield on the map.  The restaurant has lots of memorabilia and photos and the food is good too.  I had brought Samuel & Joshua football kits from Colombia and when they wore them to soccer practice they both scored two goals.. they were easily the best players but then soccer is an English game and not an American one!  On our last night we headed out to the Bakersfield Zoo - but not to see animals.  At Xmas time it is decorated with thousands of lights and they also have a train ride and a ferris wheel - very Xmassy and great fun, especially with the biggest bag of popcorn I have ever seen (enough for seven people and some..)  When you are away travelling for two and a half years you appreciate family and friends that little bit more and so it was great to be able to spend my last week with my sister and her family.  So for now that is it.. all that is left is a 2hr bus ride to Los Angeles and then a flight back to Manchester for my first Xmas at home in 3 years.  Mandy and I have had THE most amazing trip and you can guarantee it won't be long before we are both getting itchy feet again......
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