Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Taking It Easy

We got to Sacramento with plenty of time to spare, refueled the car, returned it to the Hertz Local Edition long before they closed, and were duly delivered to Sacramento's Amtrak station with over 90 minutes to wait before our train. We thought we'd have a stroll around Old Sacramento, but we didn't want to have to haul my rolling bag around with me. There are no luggage lockers; however, they will store bags for $3/day. As bad luck would have it, the luggage attendant was "working a train" (the arriving San Joaquin from Bakersfield when we wanted to check our bag, so we had a bit of a wait, but by and by we had our bag checked and about an hour before we needed to be back at the station.

After a five minute walk from the station, we rounded the corner in front of the California State Railroad Museum and found ourselves transported back in time to the 1850s. It was Sacramento Gold Rush Days, with the streets filled with horse-drawn wagons, gunslingers prowling around looking for a fight, vendors selling gen-u-ine Sarsaparilla Soda, and all of the other things you might expect of such an event. They really went to town on this one, including dumping tons of dirt on Old Sac's cobblestoned streets to recreate that gold-rush experience (and probably make things easier on the horses to boot).

With only an hour to spare, we really didn't have enough time to take full advantage of this festival, and merely did one lap of Old Town, briefly looking in to a few stores but not actually buying anything. The places we might have wanted to eat would have been okay if we'd had an extra hour, such as Fat City or maybe the Indonesian cafe we saw near the Delta King.

After our stroll through the past, we returned to the train station with there still being 30 minutes before train time. I'd previously confirmed that I'd be able to pick up my bag at 2 PM, so we went around the corner to Quizno's and got sandwiches, and we even had time to eat them there rather than have them get cold before retrieving the luggage. As I observed to Cheryl while we were eating, if we were flying, this would be about the time we'd be queued up to be getting on the plane, maybe, but in any event we'd dare not leave the boarding area because things could change on a moment's notice. Here, we simply claimed our bag and walked out to the platform, where they were doing first call for our 2:15 departure.

On an ordinary weekend, this train would have been quite full, but with the long holiday, it was relatively quiet, and we had a four-seat table to ourselves for the whole trip. We left on schedule and stayed right on the dot (sometimes a minute or two early) the entire trip back to Fremont. Cheryl composed articles and dozed. I dozed and read the latest issue of Trains magazine, when my still-not-fully-straight eyes would let me.

While this train+car trip costs more out of pocket than driving, I think we got home a lot more relaxed than we would have driving -- particularly as Cheryl would have had to drive my van, which doesn't exactly handle all that nimbly, through busy Bay Area traffic. I'm not saying we'll do this every time -- after all, sometimes we're transporting stuff to or from my low-cost-but-inconveniently-located storage locker -- but it's certainly a viable option for future consideration. The only way the Hertz Local Edition car rental could have been easier would have been if the agency desk were at the station itself, and to be honest, there's just not enough demand for it. It is reassuring, however, that they have a dedicated telephone in the lobby of the station with a direct line to the local agency twelve blocks from the station.
Tags: cheryl, trains, travel

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