Lodi & Sacramento, CA APR 12, 2018

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.


Beside the road was this exchange library where we found a geocache hide

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.

California has a lovely state capitol building and we took their tour with an exceptional tour guide. IMG_20180421_111813IMG_20180421_111851IMG_20180421_111919IMG_20180421_115036

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. IMG_20180421_124646


A page boy, Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus

We loved the statue of Ronald Reagan and seeing the legislative chambers. 20180421_11403620180421_121909


George Washington portrait overlooking the State Senators

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? IMG_20180421_121410IMG_20180421_121433

We went into the gift shop and this bumper sticker caught my eye. 20180421_114419

The capitol building is located on a 40 acre park. We always look for the Liberty Bell located at all state capitals. IMG_20180421_130037IMG_20180421_130100

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. IMG_20180421_143245IMG_20180421_143226IMG_20180421_144242IMG_20180421_144304IMG_20180421_145749IMG_20180421_150506


The Sacramento River is crossed by this yellow bridge

Watch their train here: 

We finished the day at Sutter Fort State Historic Park, site of the first European outpost in California. IMG_20180421_155124IMG_20180421_162517

It was established by Swiss immigrant John Sutter with a land grant from the Mexican government and was known as New Switzerland. IMG_20180421_161401

After the discovery of gold the land were taken from Sutter by prospectors. We were surprised to find that the original structures were made by men from Hawaii. IMG_20180421_160405IMG_20180421_160411IMG_20180421_160716

On Monday we made the long drive from Nicolaus to visit Donner Memorial State Park. In order to get there we had to drive over Donner Pass using I-80 and the Lincoln Highway, elevation 7,227. IMG_20180423_12121120180423_143220  

The snow was beautiful on this bright sunny day. IMG_20180423_115410IMG_20180423_122257IMG_20180423_122441

The state park had a very nice visitors center with displays and a movie about the Donner party, a group of pioneers who set out from Missouri for California in May 1846 in a wagon train. 20180423_135733IMG_20180423_135926

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.

Of the original 87 pioneers, only 48 survived. It is one of the most famous and tragic tales of pioneer journeys, which included cannibalism to survive. 20180423_135816

On the state park grounds is a monument to the Donner party. IMG_20180423_144029

Next stop: Paradise, CA to see a former co-worker from my teaching days

One thought on “Lodi & Sacramento, CA APR 12, 2018

  1. carfy

    I LOVE this entry!! So much history and interesting stories. Have only been to Sacramento once, back in the early 60’s. I need to go back to see all these interesting historical sites. Thanks so much for sharing. Am going to forward it to Joey. He and his family may want to take a trip up there for this one.

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