|Sittin' on the boardwalk in the sunshine.|
We finally got on the road on our way to the sun. The day we left home it was cool and rainy. By the time we arrived in Redding, CA the sun was, indeed, shining and the 85° temperature was perfect for my Mexico-thinned blood. The ability to sit at the picnic table with a glass of wine enjoying the dusk with Chris was just plain luxurious.
|Downtown Old Sacramento|
We have been moving very slowly on the southbound trek with our longest day involving only about 5-1/2 hours. The object of the exercise is to take enough time to visit the people we want to visit, see the sights we want to see and avoid being frazzled at the end of the daily drive. So far it is working pretty well.
We decided to hang out in Sacramento for a couple days so we could do a little exploring and it was well worth it. A foray into Old Sacramento was too much fun. Founded in 1839 by John Sutter, Sacramento (now the Capital of California) was home to the western terminus of the Pony Express as well as the transcontinental railroad. The buildings in Old Sacramento date back to the 1860’s and have wooden boardwalks instead of a sidewalk.
|Look at the size of these wheels!|
|Chris with the Sonoma train.|
The California State Railroad Museum was a real highlight. From the outside it looks fairly unassuming. Just an average sized brick building with a sign painted on one corner. What a wonderful surprise inside! The construction of the railroads is depicted in numerous 3D murals along with lots of interesting written information explaining everything from how they built tunnels through mountains to the history of all manner of railroad employees. Note: Train conductors are also called captains (as in ship captains). In addition to all the historical information, the building is filled with trains! REAL, huge, trains! Some of them you can only walk past and look in the windows but there are several that are set aside for walk-throughs. We climbed up into the cab of a huge steam powered oil locomotive (#4294) to discover it is all levers and valves and complicated looking equipment. It was the very last “cab forward” which means the engineer is at the very front of the train (instead of sitting in the back of the engine). The dining car was set up with each table displaying place settings of a different china pattern…all original designs from the different trains. Each train on each run had a different pattern that depicted something about the destination. For example, my favorite was the California Poppy pattern which was used on one of the Santa Fe runs to California. The sleeper car was pretty interesting. These were set up with a top and bottom bunk (just like the ones you see in old movies) and each bunk was supposed to sleep 2 people. That was, of course, for people who were considerably shorter and leaner than present day Americans! Walking through the sleeper car was like being on a moving train since they had it set up with hydraulics to make it rock from side to side. It was even making that clickity clack noise that trains make as they move down the track. After touring all the big trains, we went up to the second floor to see the exhibit of toy trains. This part of the museum brought back a lot of old memories for me. My Uncle Paul has always been into trains and when I was a little girl he would sometimes run his train set for me. He had a whole country setup on a big piece of plywood. I used to love watching the trains traveling through the tunnels, over bridges and past stations where miniature people were waiting.
|Catching a ride on the cowcatcher of the 4294.|
|The "Greeter" at the River City Saloon.|