Alvin All-Star Railroad (AASRR)
A restored Santa Maria Valley Railroad (SMVRR) caboose sits at the Amtrak station in Guadalupe. The class got to check it out relatively close-up.
Amtrak Train 774 (southbound from San Luis Obispo) approaches the Guadalupe, CA station as the Alvin All-Star Railroaders watch from the platform. [Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner Timetable as of this day, PDF, 37kb]
The 2-hour ride from Guadalupe to Santa Barbara was barely enough time to do everything! There was the trip to the Cafe car for a breakfast snack (the train left Guadalupe at 7:21am), and the trips to the restrooms, the drinking fountains, and other cars. Much of the trip was through Vandenberg Air Force Base, for which we had a scripted guide sheet thanks to a very excellent friend of the AASRR. This fit in well with the local history aspect of the AASRR program. In fact, one of the students did his final report on the Navy ship disaster at Honda Point in 1923. The whole class was very excited to see the spot.
And safely and soundly we get back to Alvin Elementary. The teacher has collected all the name badges and bandanas to assure availability for Open House in just two short days...
The budget for this trip was about $425 ($300 in family/friend donations plus contributions from the students and the school). This included the Amtrak group fare for 28 people (9 adults and 19 children), bus transportation from the school to the Amtrak station in Guadalupe and the bus return to school from Santa Barbara, and snack on the train. Lunch is not included in that budget as we hauled sack lunches with us which were provided by the school cafeteria.
Above, the entire class poses before the Amtrak train #774 at Guadalupe, CA. Each and every student has already completed their Final Report, and thus has their Alvin All-Star Railroad bandana with AASRR patch to wear on the trip!|
The class regroups after detraining at the station in Santa Barbara.
While riding on Amtrak is (in our humble opinion) an end in itself, it does help to have a destination in mind. Today's destination in Santa Barbara was "Art from Scrap", a nonprofit materials exchange program, an environmental education program, a community outreach program, and an arts program. Above, the class circles through the downstairs store portion of the facility located at 302 East Cota Street in Santa Barbara. It took us about 25 minutes to walk from the Amtrak station on State Street to Art from Scrap (plus a snack-and-play stop at a park on the way).
Our "Art from Scrap" hostess shares recycling information with the class in a very interactive way.
The Alvin All-Star Railroaders dive into their chance to build art from the materials at hand.
The room was surprisingly quiet as they focused on their "Art from Scrap" masterpieces! We then walked from "Art from Scrap" to Ortega Park (about 4 or 5 blocks away) where we had lunch and met the bus for the return to Santa Maria.
Because Amtrak only issues a single group ticket, we produced individual "tickets" (pictured above) for the students which we punched enroute.