Sunday, September 30, 2012

DAY 39-Sonoma, Napa, to Sacramento…

I took another final drive through Sonoma and continued on Hwy 12 over towards Napa.  Just FYI if you are on your way to Napa and as you go along out of Sonoma a few miles I would not recommend taking the Napa Road at the light.  It will take you right back to Sonoma.  Ooopps!  I didn’t make the mistake twice. 

Its wonderful scenery on the way over to Napa but the traffic is another story all together.  It’s mostly stop and go, or at least it was on this Friday morning.  Come to find out that Sonoma County was having a HUGE Fall wine festival and that’s why I couldn’t get a room for one more night in Sonoma.  That might explained the traffic but I couldn’t really stop to get any beautiful scenery pictures along the stretch because of the traffic and there were no turn outs.  Though, I would not blame them for having no turn outs or parking along the road.  It would’ve been packed with picture takers.

I decided to take the turn to go north for a quick refuel and to check out the actual city of Napa.  The downtown area of Napa was very busy and very cosmopolitan.  Some parts almost felt like a Rio Dio Drive.  Parking was definitely an issue and I had hoped to be over to Sacramento by late afternoon.  So I didn’t stop and visit Napa city, but it was a nice little place to drive through.
Photo- My first experience of  heavy traffic just a mear 40mi outside Sacramento.

I worked my way over on the interstate towards Sacramento.  It was about 40 miles out that the traffic in all four lanes came to a complete stop.  Then, it would start for a bit and then stop.  It was interesting because drivers would put on their blinkers to get over and other drivers would let them right on over.  THAT would never happen in Utah.  In Utah you would have to head over towards the other lane, put on your blinker.  Then, you usually get honked at and yelled at too.  A great deal of the time there; if you are not in the right lane then you are just screwed.  Here in California, so far, the mentally is like… Sure, come on over, we’re all in the same boat now.  Or at least that's what it seems like so far.

When I got to Sacramento, I took a quick drive by the house where I would stay for the night.  It was a place that I had found on site.  It was still earlier than what I had told the host and so I decided to explore a bit.  I found the local mall and checked it out.  I was hoping to find something food wise that would appeal for a late lunch.  It was some interesting people watching but didn’t find any food places that appealed.

Next, I drove on a levee road that ran along the river.  At first, there were marinas, restaurants, and bars.  As I went further along, on one side there were nice homes with really nice landscaping.  On the other side, there were farms and later on a larger area that had construction crews grading a high raise area.  It looks like they were planning some kind of development.
Photo- People relaxing and sunning on the sandy beach of Sand Cove Park.

I swung by a park along the levee road called Sand Cove Park.  There were people swimming and sunbathing along a sandy section of beach.  You could see a marina down the river and the other way the river turned a corner.  It was a nice little area to relax.

Later in the early evening after a quick change of clothes and asking directions from my host and his girlfriend, I went down to Old Town Sac.  It was a Friday night and of course, Old Town was packed.  I drove around looking for an off street parking for a bit, but no luck.  I ended up parking in a pre-paid parking lot but had to go out on to the road and do a U turn at the light.  Check this out they had a U Turn Only Lane with a sign.  I was thinking that we could use more of these in the world.
Photo- Old Town Sac in the evening.

Old Town Sac is about a 4 to 5 block area in downtown Sacramento that has an old western town feeling.  The sidewalks are boardwalks and the buildings look like older brick or painted wood from a bygone era.  It’s a very touristy place to visit but it was rather fun people watching and there are quite a few restaurants, pubs, and eateries in the area.  I checked out the menus to several as I walked around.

I ended up eating at the Bar in Fat City Pub and Restaurant.  It had a wonderful interior of a highly polished old wooden bar with mirrors, tin stamped ceiling with a stained glass area, and light wooden floors.  There were several other details that just made it a fun place to sit and look around.  The food was pretty good too.  I had a Cajun pasta dish that was nice and spicy flavorful combination.  I also enjoyed a couple of mixed specialty drinks from their drink menu.

I ended up talking to a married couple, Lisa and Ray, who were up for a romantic weekend from a township that was about 45 min drive away.  Lisa was teasing Ray that it was to distract her from some painting that need to be done in their house.  Awe! I said is it working?  She laughed and said no but it was nice of him to try anyway.  It was fun talking with them.  I finished my lemon drop martini and told them to have a wonderful weekend.

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