Submitted by windupkitty February 12th, 2012
Certifikitsch WinnerClassique d Camembert

I’ve posted about Niles at least once before and I can’t say enough about the place. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could! IN fact, when I win the lottery, I want to buy as much land there as I can so I can preserve it! I’m always a little conflicted about making it more public cause the last thing I’d ever want is for the town and/or surrounding area to be bought and developed. That has happened enough already and seems to be closing in around one of the last nice places left :( BUT, the town relies on tourists and visitors on the weekends. Everyone I speak with when I’m there says they hope I will spread the word…So, here goes…Seriously, Go There and Spend Money. AND DEVELOPERS: stay away or you will have me and a rapidly organized army to contend with!

This past Sunday, I dragged my ass out of bed, dug through the couch cushions for bridge toll, grabbed a box of spark plugs and a quart of oil and headed for Niles in my pajamas. I’ve spent months battling colds with a compromised immune system and was still feeling wasted, but was determined to get out of the house! Sunday is train ride day in Niles, where for a $10 donation, you can ride a vintage train (they sometimes run the steam engine too!) through the canyons to a whistle stop called Sunol (2 more posts about Sunol coming soon). It’s just beautiful and if you choose an open air car, the breeze is so nice and it’s just so peaceful. Well, usually peaceful, since there are often loads of kids on board, but they are usually so excited that it’s pretty funny (one kid last Sunday kept screaming weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! which I had me in tears!).

The trains are entirely operated by volunteers. They wear uniforms, give out tickets, and if you can hear them over the rumbling and cracking of the ride, you will learn something about the journey. They stand in the middle of the train cars and shout out some history, which is pretty cool. Who knew you could still roll over a rail bridge built in 1866!?!

A volunteer engineer deep in thought…

The ride through the canyons is the best part though…The day I went, it was a hazy morning, but it started to clear up as the journey began…You just can’t go wrong spending a good 40 minutes rambling along with this as your view…

Leaving Niles….

Rolling out of town…

And into the canyon….

And now, peace……..

And a view from the other side of the train on the return journey from Sunol…

Doesn’t get much better than that…..OK, that’s kind of a lie….The mode of transportation to the train station is just as good…that’s a separate post coming soon….all I can say is 1957 GM 6 cylinder 2 speed bus…sweet baby jesus, it’s the bus of destiny…GO TO NILES! SPEND MONEY THERE! BUt don’t build any housing developments, malls or McMansions!!!!!

7 Responses to “niles!”

  1. windupkitty

    Wow! Double prizes! Thanks divine QoK! Niles is about half an hour from my place and there are a couple places to eat in town and plenty of antique shops but my guess is that you might prefer to eat at a bar in Sunol where they have a stuffed dead dog that pees beer. He’s a tribute to the town mayor….that’s another post up and coming…honestly guys, there’s not much there but i like that about Sunol and NIles…some people might find it boring, but it’s just my speed and I like the people…

    Denny! whoo hoo! We should definitely plan a trip there! Ya know, we can actually rent the caboose and if we get a big group together, it might be fun! We’ve got the Alameda crew (kids might like this too!) and Pop-UP-yak-scarf-making goddess locally and doesn’t Mark stop in the bay area now and then?! Might be fun to organize something! In March, the train runs on the 4th and the 18th…wait till you guys see the bus that takes you tot he station too! xoxo

    • Allee Willis

      My schedule is so completely crazy with the possibility of getting crazier if i take a certain gig, but if at all possible I’m up for an AWMOK field trip to Niles and to the dead dog peeing beer.

  2. BRBill

    That looks like way too much fun, i’d do it for sure. In fact, 3 of the times i’ve been to the west coast, i took the train. The Sunset Limited out of New Orleans to Lost Angeles then up the coast on the Coast Starlight to San Francisco, actually Oakland. If you’ve got the time, the train is the way to go. From NOLa to LA takes a bit less than 48 hours, 2 nights on board, nothing like arriving in LA at 7am as the city wakes up. Union Station in LA is a fine example of art deco architecture. The ride across the southwest of the US is great, you get to see all sorts of different country and terrain as well as the backside underbelly,the railyards in Houston are huge, El Paso is pretty rough. The sunsets are great. The Coast Starlight goes where no highway dares to go in some parts, thru VanDenBerg AF Base, right along the coast at Point Conception with a huge drop to the beach side. The views are fantastic. Then there’s Oakland…good thing a bus is provided for the ride over to SF, i’d not want to walk out of that area of Oakland. Allee, you ought to take the train up the coast on your next excursion to NorCal. I hear the ride north from Oakland up to Seattle is even better.