Monday, May 14, 2012

Quick Tour of Sacramento, headed to Tahoe

On Saturday I took Marcia on a short "memory tour" of the Sacramento area, showing her places that I lived, worked, a bit of history of the city....I think she has seen enough, and I know I have.  It is interesting coming back to an area that one lived in for over 30 years, and nearly 30 years have passed since you did live there.  I have visited the area many times during these past 30 years, but had not driven by places I lived, schools, and areas familiar to you when you were growing up.  Things change...some for the better, some not.

For those who are not familiar with the area, well, this next bit will be for you.  The Sacramento river starts way up in Northern California, captured by the Shasta Dam, then heads down to Sacramento, picking up a lot of agricultural dirt and debris over the 170 miles.  The American River comes right off the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east of the city, captured by Folsom Dam just 15 miles to the east, and hence, that water is fresh, and is the major source of drinking water for the area.  The two rivers meet about a mile from the center of Sacramento.  One can see the striking difference between the brown water of the Sacramento River and the bluer waters of the American River.  Below is a picture of this merger, the second a close up showing the drastic change.
Sacramento is the Capitol of California, and there is a bunch of people in the area who are on the take...I mean, on the dole...I mean, members of the State Employee's Union sucking up as much tax dollars as they possibly can.  Ok, I try not to be too political, however, when one sees and reads the news for just a month around here, one remembers why they enjoy not living here anymore.  The state has a budget deficit of 16 billion....yes, that is BILLION dollars.  I just came from a state that had a total budget of around 5 billion, and they are boasting a forecast for a 100 million surplus come June 30th.  Enough said....  Below is a picture of the very beautiful State Capitol building.
I can remember taking school tours as a child of the Crocker Art Gallery.  Well now it is the Crocker Art Museum, a HUGE complex....but here is a picture below of that part which was the Crocker Art Gallery that I remember.  If you wish, you can visit Wikipedia for a recap of this long-time institution.  The Crocker name is huge in California history, associated with the railroad (a Crocker was one of the “Big Four” railroad barons) and banking (Crocker National Bank, which was gobbled up by Wells Fargo in 1986.)
Sacramento was the launching point for the Pony Express headed east to St. Joseph, Missouri for 18 months in 1860-1861.  They could send a message from the west to the east in only 10 days.  There were pony express stations about 10 miles apart from each other, when the rider arrived, they would get a fresh horse to hop onto and carry the mail pouch on to the next stop.  Each rider would go for around 10 hours, however sometimes a rider was known to ride back to back routes covering 20 hours in a day.  Each route was from 75-100 miles long.  Below is a monument to the Pony Express, which is located in Old Sacramento.  Again, our picture did not turn out...so this is from the Internet.

The railroad was very important to California, and Sacramento became a central hub.  Today, there is a very nice Railroad Museum, which opened it's main building in 1976....and I was there for the opening day, to see then governor, Jerry "moonbeam" Brown, talk about the importance of the museum to the community, and to Old Sacramento.  He got that one right, because Old Sacramento is a huge tourist industry.  Oh, by the way, Jerry is again the Governor, married now, has lost the "moonbeam" name from what I can tell.  Anyway, below are pictures of the Railroad Museum and of Old Sacramento.


The longest standing landmark that I can remember as a kid was the silver colored Tower Bridge, which is now a goldish-orange, or officially "yellow-ochre", representative of the gold leafed cupola on the nearby Capitol building.  Wish they would have left it Silver...but that is only my opinion.  Below is a picture of the bridge from the Internet, because it is way better than the pictures we tried to take from the car.
Well, that is the short version of the four hour tour which I am sure Marcia was very happy to have come to an end.  After seeing four or five places I once called home, and seeing two Elementary Schools, Jr. High School, my High School, three places of employment, city parks, malls, church, many downtown sites...it was time to call it a day.

On Sunday we had a wonderful Mother's Day with Mom, Dad, Sandy, Patti and Arny....the latter of whom barbequed Salmon for everyone except Patti and Dad who had steak instead.  Marcia cooked Greek Potatoes that everyone loved, and all had an enjoyable day.  Before the big meal, Marcia and I again went to church at Calvary Chapel Orangevale, and this time we got a picture of the building.


On Monday Arny did two fix-it jobs for us....putting in a new door switch with an over-ride switch so that the electric step will not require a magnate to "hold it in" while Marcia uses the lift, and another switch for the car so that I don't have to pull a fuse when we pull the HHR behind the motor home.  We also had a quick visit from my cousin Donald who lives down by Monterey.

Tuesday we are headed to Lake Tahoe with Mom and Dad.  We are not taking the motor home, instead we are renting a cabin for the four of us, and plan to stay until Thursday.   So the next posting(s) should be full of more wonderful pictures as we continue to cross more and more items off of our "want to see" list on our map.

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