Carey and Debbie above Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring

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"Sacramento Choo Choo"

    Sacramento, CA

    November 30 through December 3, 2004

Story by Debbie


We continued our leisurely pace with a 100 mile trip from San Francisco to Sacramento, where we stayed for three days.  The Cal Expo RV Park is actually in (and some would say part of) the parking lot of the Cal Expo grounds, where they hold the state fair and other huge events.  Some parts looked like a real RV park, with pretty fall-colored trees and whatnot.  Our part looked like a gravel pit with light poles.

Parts of this glorified parking lot actually looked pretty nice with some fall colors.   Our assigned spot was a rather utilitarian gravel pit surrounded by other high rollin' big rigs.  

But we knew that going in--people unanimously said it was merely a good place to stop for a couple of days and its location was convenient.  They were right.

Our neighbor had an internet satellite dish like ours, but his was tripod-mounted, while ours is permanently mounted on the roof.  To deploy our kind, you click something on the computer and everything happens automatically.  To deploy his kind, you get out there and move it around manually, and the dishes for internet are substantially pickier about their aim than TV satellite dishes.  He spent about an hour fiddling with it, going back and forth into his RV.  Don't know if he ever got it working, but it was packed up again by dark.

Aiming a tripod-based internet satellite dish.

Ours is much better.  No worries.  Well, unless your highly-paid professional installer mounts it where the TV antenna runs into it from certain angles.  Grrrrrrr.

Of course, our automatic satellite dish isn't perfect either, thanks to super-installer Bill Adams positioning it where the TV antenna can run into it.

The tripod users do have an easier time if parked somewhere with a lot of trees around, since they can just move the dish around to a clear spot, while we'd have to move the whole RV.  That wasn't an issue in this particular site though, being a gloriously satellite-friendly sea of gravel.

And by the way, if you see one of these tripod mounted internet satellite dishes, don't stand in front of it because it can burn a hole in your head.

Carey took the bike for a ride on the American River Bike Trail, which had an access point right at the RV park.  Fortunately, we were there after the rash of robberies and before a convicted murderer and a convicted armed robber escaped from the California Youth Authority and were being sought on the part of the bike trail behind Cal Expo.  That would be the "here" in the picture below:

American River Bike Trail.

Despite these minor vexations, it really is a nice trail.

Rather nice path that went for quite a way along the river.   Pedestrian version of the Golden Gate bridge.


We took a day to look around town, including Old Sacramento and the California State Railroad Museum.

Old Sacramento with non-vintage cars.   Historic row of semi-restored buildings.   The really fancy California State Railroad Museum building.

We blew the entire afternoon looking around the museum, somewhat to our surprise.  But it's incredibly well done, with interesting and informative exhibits and lots of real train cars inside.  Both of Carey's parents are train aficionados, and my only uncle was a train engineer.  So now that I think about it, I guess we had some interest already programmed into us.  And the whole story of building the railroad across the country, especially through the mountains, is pretty amazing.

Impressive.   Early steam engine about to enter an early version of the snowsheds along the route through the Sierra mountains.

The post office car in the photo below looks like a model when viewed from the second level.  The white pole thing is where the mail bag was hanging, for the guy on the train to snatch it at a station where the train didn't stop.  The mail sorters would live on the train and do all the sorting while en route.  Pretty efficient.

Mail car seen from above looks like a model, but it's full size.   They sorted the mail while the train was in motion.

Below is the inside of a private car.  Back in the days before million dollar custom motorhomes, these were the way to travel cross-country in luxury.  Swank.

Interior of a "private car," which was kind of like the custom motorhome of its day.


This will give you an idea of the size of the building; Number 4294 below is an enormous cab forward engine, which was designed with the sensible goal of keeping the crew from being asphyxiated by their own smoke while traveling through the endless snowsheds and tunnels through the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The museum's big attaction, one of the giant "cab forward" engines.   No. 4249 from the other end.


Our resident train geek posed for a snapshot, and we bid adios to Sac town, following basically the same rail route we'd just learned about through the mountains over to Reno.

 "Shaka choo choo"



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