Marion & Bill Miramontes Interview (1980) Part II

Bill Miramontes: My father–being that he worked on the highway–used to commute from Half Moon Bay to Pedro Valley on the Ocean Shore. On holidays, or Sundays, he didn’t work so he’d take me with him to San Francisco.

Bill: My father was a huge man. He’d take me to San Francisco to see the town. I used to get a big kick out of going down to see the waterfront. Around noon you’d see all those beautiful teams come in. They’d put the feedbags on ’em…All these beer companies that have matched horses, matched teams of fours…beautiful. Their harnesses, all glistened, polished.

Bill: When we’d go to San Francisco, I couldn’t stand looking in the ocean over Devil’s Slide. I used to jump across the train and look out against the hill….You’d look right over the water, oh brother….I couldn’t bear that…we’d go round, in through the tunnel and around….

June: How long did it take?

Bill: About an hour.

Marion Miramontes: Oh, longer than that, honey. They used to make all those stops every mile or two.

Bill: About two hours. Every time we had a little rain we had a landslide…rocks on the track around Devil’s Slide. During the latter part of the life of the Ocean Shore they used a gas train… it didn’t pay them to run a big steam engine down here. They’d bring down 30-40 people…had this gasoline bus…it was really a bus….on the tracks and could hold 40-50 people.

gas train.jpgPhoto: Gas train at Moss Beach

Bill: [The Ocean Shore Railroad] failed because these farmers who were so close to San Francisco started using trucks–people from Half Moon Bay started buying trucks and cars and doing their own hauling and riding into San Francisco in their own cars. be continued…