Went trainriding yesterday with katchoo_too, tnalpgge, crobderg, si_anenome and family. It's the Niles Canyon railroad, run entirely by volunteers, on the route of the original Transcontinental railroad. Though not on the old tracks -- those were torn up for scrap years ago, so the volunteers laid new track, and apparently are laying more for an extension. I imagined a conversation with their 19th century equivalents, the chinese workers and the like practically enslaved to build the rails: "You lay track for FUN?" Those are some hardworking folk, and they run a fine railway.
It's a lovely ride, with the poppies, lupine and wild mustard out on the canyon, and on the way back we were pulled by a steam locomotive. It's strange -- I've ridden quite a few trains in my life, nearly all diesel, but the moment it started up, with that puff-puff sound, I said "that's what a train is!". Yes, I know, movies, but I haven't actually watched that many movies with steam trains in. And the diesel's horn is but a pale imitation of a true steam whistle echoing from the hillsides. I definitely recommend it; apparently they run special wine-tasting and wildflower viewing trains too.
Alameda Creek is frighteningly low, considering it is spring. As we passed over one bridge, I watched a pair of ducks, who would paddle for a foot or so, and then have to waddle through too-shallow water to get to the next pool deep enough to paddle. It's going to be a hard, hard summer.