Twenty six people made history as they were the first to purchase individual tickets that booked the Sunset Dinner package, on the “World’s Grandest Limousine,” The Midnight Rider. Normally only private groups of up to 40 people can book The Midnight Rider for custom excursions, tailored to fit their choice of destination and special requests.
Storm clouds were casting shadows across the hills and the valley that day. The beauty of it was reminiscent of a western film setting. The green of the valley popped in the shadows, the hills in the background were a soft brown. The scene was being set for 26 happy travelers to board The Midnight Rider, which boasts three lounges, a full-service bar, multi-TV screens, and plush comfortable interiors, all fashioned after the late 1800s Pullman Presidential Railroad Car. It was a feast for the eyes, body and soul. All came to the experience for different reasons. For some it was a gift, a secret, a birthday wish, or a night out.
Friends and acquaintances were surprised to meet, chatting happily as they were watching and waiting for The Midnight Rider to arrive. It was something they had heard about or read about, but had never seen in person. The long sleek black tractor-trailer pulled slowly into the parking lot from the highway; the crowd was hushed by its presence alone. Its beauty and size was very impressive, seventy feet long and thirteen feet eight inches high.
Staff gathers outside the door to welcome the passengers inside. There was a crew of four; two on-board specialists, Pamela Machado, and Jenifer Sandoval, served the passengers in route while the driver, Mike Machado and conductor and head of security Jeff Walls, made sure everyone would reach their destination in safety and comfort. People began to file in and settle down in a spot. One group in the Upper Lounge was full of family and friends celebrating two birthdays. One group in the Observation Lounge was surprised by the trip given by a father who wanted to give them a special gift. They were told nothing—just to show up. They were very surprised their trip was aboard The Midnight Rider. After boarding they still did not know where they were going, they would have to wait until arriving at the destination. Some in the Pullman Lounge were friends surprised to see each other there, excited to share the journey. All aboard, all were waiting in great anticipation to experience something they never had before—a journey aboard The Midnight Rider.
The friendly staff made the rounds; Jeff Walls explained the safety rules, his position, and the onboard amenities before we got underway. Owner/Designer, Pamela Machado was onboard this event and answered many questions about The Midnight Rider. When asked questions about the Sunset Event, Pamela was very careful not to let the secret out, especially to the people in the Observation Lounge who did not know where we were going exactly. Before leaving on the trip everyone was encouraged to mingle and see the different lounges, and to get a drink. The safety light glowed red telling the adventurers it was time to sit and enjoy the ride. Our Hostess Pamela was making sure everyone was comfortable. She stopped to point out that the windows were specially sized, built, and placed not only for climate control but for the beauty of the view, to give the adventurers’ the feeling of true train travel. This proved to be true as the view was un-obscured by the sights of streets and other vehicles. It gave the feeling of being alone, traveling through the unencumbered countryside just like on a train.
Time went by quickly as new passengers boarded at another stop, Rancho RV Park in Aguanga. This couple had heard about the Sunset Dinner from his mom who read about it in the paper. They had traveled from a town near Julian called Descanso, just to catch The Midnight Rider and go on the journey. They sat in the Pullman Lounge and quickly felt at home with the group of friends along for the ride. There were also a couple of ladies from the RV Park who joined the event. They sat in the Upper Lounge and had a good time visiting with the friends and family group. The red light went on as The Midnight Rider pulled out of the Park and the travelers continued their journey to the Sunset Dinner. A green light came on as they reached the freeway and the travelers could get up and move around and explore the lounges and Jake Brake Bar. The chairs at the bar were very comfortable as were the seating in the lounges. There was one unique feature to the bar chairs, they were air-ride and the height could be adjusted for one’s comfort. Guests enjoyed talking, sharing, laughing, enjoying music videos, excellent adult beverages, and hors d’oeuvres while travelling in comfort. Now the sea could be seen to the right, out The Midnight Rider windows. The ocean waves were crashing along the beach below a gray veil of storm clouds that kissed the sea. Would there be a sunset? The Midnight Rider had safely carried the travelers to Cardiff by the Sea.
There it was “The Beach House.” The happy travelers had reached their “Sunset Dinner” destination. Excited, everyone departed The Midnight Rider. “The Beach House” door was held open by our Hostess Pamela and the happy travelers were welcomed inside. An indoor patio was awaiting the happy and now hungry group. The sunset alfresco seating arrangement had been moved indoors due to rain. Everyone was excitedly looking over the choices for dinner, while watching out the large picture windows. The storm clouds suddenly parted; as they rose a ribbon of light could be seen. Would there be a sunset? They were watching, talking, laughing, and waiting for the sun to shine through, while dinner was served.
Crab stuffed Filet of Sole, Angus Top Sirloin, Sand Dabs, Hoisin-Glazed Salmon, Blackened Pork Chop, Linguini Pomodoro, and Sunburst Clams and Black Mussels were the choices offered to the travelers at “The Beach House.” The food was scrumptious and thoroughly enjoyed by all. As the group dined the sun dipped down out of the clouds. Is this the moment that the travelers had been hoping for? The storm clouds parted, blue sky begun to show and a rainbow could be seen. Then the sun in all it’s glory set, sizzling into night, as if just for the happy travelers.
Dinner was a very special time and now the travelers were happy and well fed. They re-boarded The Midnight Rider, bathed in the neon light of the Beach House sign. Departing for home, there was a feeling of ownership, of belonging, and a bond had been formed between the people and the experience. The experience of knowing one could just kick back, relax and have fun, enjoying the good company and the comfort and safety of the ride.
On the way home the party had just gotten started, and they say what happens on The Midnight Rider stays on The Midnight Rider. Just a hint, singing and dancing may have been involved. The ride home was packed with fun. As The Midnight Rider pulled into the RV Park to return the first group of travelers the skies were clearing and the stars came out. Sad good-byes were said to new friends and promises of visits were made. Back on the road the stars could be seen through the windows as the clouds had parted. The gentle movement of the ride through the hills reminded the travelers they were almost home. Reflecting on the journey it had been a very special time spent with friends old and new, and a time that would be fondly remembered aboard The Midnight Rider, truly “A Ride In Time.”
Coming soon The Midnight Rider is proud to offer another history making trip. You too have the chance to experience the Ride of a life time this June 23rd. Call (951) 763-4790 or Email: Reservations@themidnight
rider.com. To learn more about this one-of-a-kind record holding limousine, The Midnight Rider, and how it was conceived, engineered and built and by whom, plus other interesting facts visit