Leaving the Hollister area we drove to the town of Lodi for a stay at the Elks Lodge. Lodi is a major wine producing region with more than 80 wineries located in the area. The town has nicknamed itself the “Zinfandel Capital of the World”. We enjoyed doing some geocaching and found the people to be very friendly.
Next up was the town of Nicolaus about thirty miles from Sacramento, the capital of California. Even though we drove on major highways, the roads were really rough in some places. California really needs to spend some money repairing their roads!
On Saturday we drove into Sacramento to visit the state capitol building. It is our quest to visit every capitol building in the country. I will start with the bad comments first. You may have heard on the news that California has an alarming number of homeless people living on the streets. That fact was very evident in Sacramento. I am not usually frightened by this, but in Sacramento wherever we were there seemed to be several people arguing loudly, cursing, and in one instance approached me for money. It is common to see people wandering the streets with suitcases or carts with all their belongings or sleeping along the roads and in parks. In and around the city, bathrooms in restaurants and stores are locked and you must ask to use the facilities. Their situation is very sad, very disturbing and a little frightening.
He clearly loves his job. California became the 31st state in 1850 and construction on the capitol building began in 1860 and concluded in 1874. Sacramento was chosen as the capital during the gold rush era because it was located near the highly populated gold rush areas. The capitol is modeled after the U. S. capitol building and has a beautiful 120 foot high rotunda.
We heard an interesting story about the portrait of former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had the portrait commissioned by an artist in Austria, his birth country. The artist chose not to give it an ornate frame or nameplate like the portraits of other past governors and it was hung that way. Not having a nameplate may not be a problem now, but 100 years from now will people recognize the governor without a nameplate?
Next we visited nearby Old Sacramento, a four block area that was the city’s commercial district during the gold rush era and pony express.
The area has cobblestone streets and wooden walkways which give it a feeling of yesteryear. It is very much a tourist area today with restaurants, souvenir shops, carriage rides, paddle boat tours and train rides. We visited the Wells Fargo History Museum.
Watch their train here:
The trip usually took four to six months, but due to mishaps and bad decisions they found themselves snowbound in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the winter of 1846-1947, a record breaking snowy winter.
Next stop: Paradise, CA to see a former co-worker from my teaching days