California’s Capitol Corridor by Matthew Gerald Vurek

The “Capitol Corridor” is the name of the Amtrak passenger train route between California’s capital, Sacramento, and San Jose, the state’s first capital upon admission to the Union in 1850. The scenery between these two areas highlights vastly different land uses; examples include an industrialized shoreline covered with a forest of petroleum refineries, urban areas transitioning from industrial to residential use, and a wildlife refuge disturbed only by the passage of freight trains. The Capitol Corridor is now an integral part of the transportation scene in Northern California. Since 1991, its equipment and infrastructure have evolved to keep pace with technology as well as the area’s dynamic economic and social environment. 

The author is retired DEA Intelligence Research Specialist Matthew G. Vurek, a past president of the Central Coast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Book: Dark Canyons

Eric Norway’s Dark Canyons is the story of two young Border Patrol Agents, Sergio Duran and Tom Harding. Sergio and Tom meet in the Border Patrol academy and quickly become best friends. Both had a rough upbringing and suffered personal loss, and while both have secret reasons for joining the Border Patrol, one’s intent is sinister. The two become inseparable through shared experiences of Border Patrol tradition, adventure, frustration, and danger. Sergio settles into the Border Patrol with his young family. Tom’s life, and that of his girlfriend Liz, spin out of control with drug use and growing conflict with influences from his childhood. Sergio and Tom unwittingly and unwillingly find themselves pitted against the other in the gritty dark canyons south of San Diego, in a scenario where there is no winner, and the loser faces prison or death.