By Ken Martin

RIDING THE RAILS: Everybody loves trains, the possible exception being when you’re in a hurry and you have to wait for one to clear a crossing.

Patty and I have ridden trains in Europe, South America, and clear across the US. We enjoy eating on the train. Watching the scenery go by while enjoying a nice meal is a double treat. We enjoy sleeping on the train. The rumble and the soft swaying motion certainly beat any stationary bed for a good nights sleep. Recently we were discussing how long it had been since we had been on a train and decided that we needed to go somewhere on the iron road.

Our current activities precluded a long trip so we decided on something short, like out and back in a day with a lunch destination. I checked the local Amtrak schedules to see what destination would fit, one that had restaurants near the station and had trains running about two hours apart. Two places fit the bill.

Modesto and Davis filled both criteria. After checking out the restaurants near the stations in both cities on the internet, we decided that the Caffe Italia in Davis was just right.

Leaving Oakland at 10:55 AM, the eastbound Capitol arrived in Davis at 12:25 PM. The Caffe Italia was about a 15 minute walk from the station. A westbound train came through Davis at 2:30 PM, getting back to Oakland at 4:06 PM. Perfect! That gave us about two hours to get to the restaurant, have lunch, and return to the station in time to catch the return train. So off we went!

We knew nothing about the Caffe Italia except that it fit our plans. It turned out to be a charming place within an easy walk from the station and that serves excellent food. If your every hungry in Davis, we recommend it. And we had plenty of time for a leisurely lunch and walk back to the beautifully restored Davis Amtrak station. We actually had time to spare and had to wait about 20 minutes for the train.

This was a fun mini-adventure. There are other places to go, like Hanford or Sacramento, by taking earlier or later trains and I recommend any or all of them if you’re looking for something a little different to do for a day. The Capitol Corridor trains run several times each day as do the San Joaquins down the Valley. Check the Amtrak schedule on line, check out the restaurants on line, purchase tickets on line, and have yourself a great day riding the rails!