Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Nevada Christmas, Post # 3

Holiday Train of Lights
In my Nevada Christmas post # 2 I detailed how my daughter Janice Bastani and I decided we would drive back from my granddaughter's home near Reno, Nevada to 
Janice's home in Pleasanton, California. One of my Christmas presents  a ride on the Holiday Train of Lights was given to me by my daughter Janice and her husband Bami. . This train is the Nile Canyon Railway which is celebrating its 30th year of operation. It is located in Sunol in Alameda County, California and has a very interesting past. The ride is 13 miles long and takes about 1.5 to 1.75 hours and goes through some very rugged country of deep valleys and narrow bridges and over rushing streams hugging shear rock cliffs in some locations.. This historic route linked the east and west coasts of the United States by rail for the first time as part of the original transcontinental route. In April 1985 the Southern Pacific Right of Way through Niles Canyon was acquired by Alameda County. In June 1985 the last Southern Pacific train operated over portions of the Niles-Altamount line. The Southern Pacific would not leave the rails in place without payment which was determined to be to much. So in 1985 the Southern Pacific pulled up the rails through Niles Canyon. On December 1, 1987 the Pacific Locomotive Association entered into an agreement with Alameda County to rebuild the historic rail line. Association volunteers  worked over a year to reconstruct the track between Sunol and Brightside. On May 21, 1988 the Pacific Locomotive Association brought railroad passenger operations back to life in Niles Canyon. On November 21, 1988 the Sunol Depot building which was built in 1884 was acquired by Alameda County and later moved to the station site and restored to its original configuration. Over time the individual cars were purchased and restored to their original condition For example the Parlor Car which I was in with Janice and Bami had originally be a dining car with beautiful mahogany wood throughout. Thus when the Association retrieved the car it had been painted inside completely and that had to be all removed to restore it to its original condition. It was beautiful. This car was the only one heated and was considered first class.
 There is an engine and caboose on each end and 15 cars. One engine pulls the train going out and the other pulls it coming back.The cars are all individually decorated inside and out. A lot of work is put into this project by a dedicated group of volunteers. The volunteer in my car indicated most people start decorating their car in July to get it ready for December. It is absolutely amazing what can be accomplished when a group of dedicated volunteers set their mind to do something.
 When we arrived most of the people were scurrying around trying to figure out where to go and most were in line at the depot to get their tickets.
The depot is on the right rear. Some of the people in line waiting time to board the train.
Lights on one of the two caboose
Same car from different angle
Looking down the line of cars
Here you can see the lights on the side of the car and also some of the interior decoration

People in line waiting time to board the train.
This is where we lined up to board our car.
Interior of our car which was originally a dining car. Look at the beautiful wood work.
Janice and Bami seated at our table. Hot coco,coffee and cookies have been served
Interior of passenger car which had no heat but windows were closed. Notice the standard seats. 
Even though this car was totally closed there was no heat and you can see the people trying to stay warm.
Another car lighted only by the Christmas lights
Wooden seats.
Wooden seats
Interior decoration

This car is actually a flat bed with a temporary top. It was cold in this car as it is completely open and you see very few people in it.
Niles Railway logo
Exterior decoration
Exterior decorations
This is the totally open car.
Totally open car.
More lights
People leaving the train after the ride
People leaving the train after the ride
People leaving the train after the ride
These people are boarding the train as the conductor checks their tickets.

Later in the week Janice and I drove through the Niles valley and could see much of the route the train took. In fact we saw the train making a daytime run. In the day light it was amazing to see how rugged this valley is as well as how beautiful it is. I highly encourage you take advantage of this train ride when you are in the area.I really appreciated this Christmas present and enjoyed the ride. Thank you Bami and Janice.  Janice, Bami and I celebrated the new year with a lot of wonderful snacks and food. I told them I was celebrating on east coast time so I went to be bed . This has been a marvelous trip and I say to you as I always close God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Nevada Christmas, Post # 2

This Nevada Christmas posting #2 deals with a lot of pre-Christmas activities as well as Christmas day activities. There are advantages of getting older but some of the disadvantages are tough to live with. Chief among these disadvantages are hurting joints  (especially knees) which preclude you being able to get on the floor to play with a very active great grandson. I told my grand daughter ahead of time to not be disappointed if I did not spend a lot of time on the floor playing with the little guy. The knees just will not let me get down and get back up although I did make it a few times.
Great grandpa Bill on the floor playing with great grandson Carter. Right now Carter's thing is to point to something (anything) and say what sounds like "this". You tell him and he immediately points to something else. Never an end.

Carter on his "growly bear"
 Carter loves to pull things around.
Carter unhappy as he tries to learn how to get out of this chair. It took several tries but he mastered it.
Carter loves any toy that has light and makes a noise.
 This poor keyboard takes a beating and is easy to pull around by the cord.
He loves his blow up reindeer.
 Carter poses for photograph. Isn't that a handsome young man.
 One of Nicku's Christmas decorations
 Some of the stockings hung on the fireplace mantel in anticipation
 Beautiful tree all decorated and waiting for the big day.
I love this decoration on the wall of Nicku's dining room. A declaration of Nicku and Corey's thoughts and belief.
Nicku, Carter and Corey before we go to the Candle Light Service at their church.

 Candle Light Service. I missed the shot with the candles lit.
Leaving Candle Light Service.
 Landscape scene from church
Christmas Eve would not be complete especially if you have children if you do not have to assemble some toys. I am not sure but Parisa is perhaps giving Corey advice on assemble of this toy wagon.
Christmas morning and I think I can safely say Santa Clause has been here. Louie one of the two Jack Russel that live here seems to be trying to figure out what all this stuff is.
 One of Carter's favorite toy seemed to be this toy that he can ride and push around. It has all sorts of lights. things that move and make a lot of noise.
Of course if you can't get to work right you can always pull it around on its side.
Here Corey is instructing his dog Gunter, while Peanut is on the couch and Louie is barely visible.
Louie and Peanut on couch with Carter while Dad takes a picture.
Louie is a very gentle and loving dog who has had a hip operation which has slowed him down a lot. He tries hard but spends a lot of time moving on three legs especially late in the day. He slept with me some nights.

Just so you know as wonderful as Christmas was there was a down side. Janice came down with a stomach bug of some sort that kept her in bed a couple of days and yours truly got it and laid me low for a  period. That made history for me because I have not had anything like that for at least 20 or 30 years. Could it have something with reaching that 85 year old Plato? 

After much discussion it was decided Janice and I would drive back to her home rather fly. We were loaded down with luggage and presents. It was a very pleasant and beautiful drive of roughly 4 hours. Thank you Nicku and Corey for having all of us in your home for Christmas 2016. I know it was stressful and tiring as you near you trimester point in your pregnancy. Again thank you it was most enjoyable.

Posting # 3 will cover activities after returning to California at Janice's home. Remember what I always say. God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill