Attorney James Pixton Takes a Bankruptcy Trip from Oakland to Fresno on Amtrak

I had a morning hearing in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case I’m working on in Fresno today. Rather than drive for four hours to attend a short hearing and then drive another four hours back, I did one of my favorite things and hopped on Amtrak. Even though I had to leave at 5:30 in the morning, I slept for a couple hours before taking care of phone calls, emails and case work (Amtrak has wi-fi). I love not having to drive and in this case it was kind of a necessity: I probably would have fallen asleep on the drive down this morning.

Here are some pictures of the ride. Nothing big, but they do cause some nostalgia for me. Fresno is home of the federal courthouse where I had my first job as a bankruptcy lawyer.br />
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One of these days I want to take Jen on a cross country trip by Amtrak. With the wi-fi, we would both stay connected to work and family and would actually be able to enjoy the trip. Funny, I break out in nervous sweat at the thought of not having access to email. Maybe it’s not so funny.

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Isn’t there something other-worldly about train stations. Incredible things happen in them. Sometimes kids get magically transported to Narnia. Other kids go to Platform 9 3/4 and hop the Hogwarts Express. I just got on a train going to Fresno. No magic at all.

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Just like the train sets I used to play with as a kid.

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Plug the iPad into power strip, agree to some wi-fi access legal disclaimer that no one has ever actually read, and it’s just like being in the office–except for the fast-moving landscape.

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I don’t like to admit this, but the iPad has significantly improved my quality of life.

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Fresno is surrounded by vineyards. When we lived there in 1996-97, we went at least once to the LDS Church’s vineyards to harvest grapes. I hasten to add that, being Mormon grapes, these ones were destined to become raisins, not wine.

We each had a harvesting knife to cut the bunches off the vine and then we’d lay them out on a long roll of drying paper that ran down the rows between the vines. I’ve experienced some harvesting in the vineyard–and come to think of it, it was the Lord’s vineyard.

About the harvesting knife, I took it home and stuck it in the bottom of my toolbox for several years. To this day, my toolbox reeks of manure which come to think of it is what the vineyard smelled like. That sure explained the healthy size of the grapes.

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The train doesn’t go through the nice parts of town. This is one of Fresno’s finest graffiti art galleries. Sadly it gets more visitors per day than my websites!

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All the conveniences of the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex except the hot, buttered popcorn.

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There seems to be a connection between train tracks and junkyards, backyards filled with broken-down cars.

By the way, the hearing in Fresno went way better than I expected, making this trip very pleasant. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t hit a cow on the way back to Oakland-Jack London, my origin and terminus of my journey into the Valley–fondly referred to as “the Other California.”