explored places

1200 Miles Home


In complete opposition to the spirt of my summer odyssey, I was dreading my drive home to Seattle this week because of that notoriously barren and unfriendly stretch of I5 from the Grapevine to Sacramento. But my car loves to go 80 and I have Sirius Satellite radio so the road under my wheels actually passed pretty quickly. Not to worry, either, I speed responsibly and never did incur the wrath of the highway patrol who station themselves all along the way.

My mother had insisted that I stop every two hours, but I was naughty and defied her, driving three and a half hours before stopping for In-N-Out and another tank of gas in Kettleman City. Then on to Sacramento, California’s understated capitol, laughing out loud at Howard Stern for a good long stretch.

Happily, Olive and I landed at the jazz age Citizen Hotel on J Street in Sacramento where we were lavished with attention, a luxurious room, and no additional charge for the dog. Just around the corner was the city’s coolest coffee house, Temple Coffee, where I was asked by the engaging barista if I would like to have my Americano traditonal or non-traditional? Turns out, according to this fellow anyway, that a six ounce Americano is traditional, not the usual ten ounces I am usually served. Naturally, I opted for the traditional, thrilled by learning this new espresso lore.

Sacramento is a pleasing place centered around the California Capitol Building and Capitol Park where Olive and I had a good long meander. Though I am a California native, I had never seen the Capitol. It impressed me.

I also liked walking around to Midtown and back over to the Wednesday farmers market on Cesar Chavez Plaza across the street from our hotel. I didn’t buy one but was fascinated by the enormous Walla Walla onions I saw there.

Sacramento also has some pretty architecture. I am a sucker for a perfectly preserved turret.

And Sacramento is progressive with light rail that runs right down K Street.

I would have loved to have stayed a while longer but was hoping to make it to Eugene to see my cousin Mecca by day’s end. She has an enormous house in the country so I would have another night of luxurious accommodations. Along the way, I stopped several times – in Cottonwood, Weed (heh), and Ashland – to get out and enjoy the 98 degree summer day which was especially awesome at the rest stop overlooking Lake Shasta. Truly breathtaking and pine-scented.

The final day of our road trip was also quite beautiful; I love traveling through Oregon. For lunch yesterday, Olive and I braved the heat in Portland’s Pearl District before heading home into Seattle, just in time for Olive’s long overdue grooming appointment this morning. While we were away, summer finally slipped in and took its place here, so Olive was glad to be shorn of her heavy black fur coat.

We hit the road again tomorrow for Camano Island. We loved our trip so much that we are becoming inveterate wanderers.

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