Happy birthday to me (yes, in Pacific time). Love, the Sacramento Amtrak station. :-\
After Salt Lake City, I spent the most awful night so far on the train. Between a car attendant who announced quiet time and then didn’t stop talking herself for literally 30 more minutes, to her next comment that she wasn’t going to prevent people from listening to music/movies without headphones on, to the girl in the seat next to me who “would just prefer to have both seats to [herself]” and then preceded to argue with me when I complained that she was half in my seat, I barely got any sleep last night and ended up hiding out in the cafe/lounge car most of the ride after breakfast and even sleeping there during the day because I was so exhausted and fed up. (Waiting for Amtrak to reply to my tweets about this…especially about the car attendant…we shall see.)
We passed through Nevada overnight and through the early morning, and I got off the train briefly enough in Reno to snap a photo and touch the ground…which counts at least as having been to NV, if not having visited.
Not long after that, we crossed into California, and learned about the history of the railroad in NV and CA from staff from the CA State Park system who narrate what we’re seeing out the windows as we pass by. There’s a lot of history about the Transcontinental Railroad that has landmarks along the railways used today, and there’s even a glimpse of the former Lincoln Highway, a road that connected NYC and CA. (I missed the best photo op for this, unfortunately.)
This was one of the shorter train legs of my trip, especially since I got on and went right to bed (ish). We got to Sacramento a few minutes early and before 3 pm PST I was off to explore.
I’d found out about the California Railroad Museum while doing some research on things to do for an afternoon here, and then realized that the museum is only a couple of blocks away from the Amtrak station, making it an ideal stop this afternoon. The exhibits at the museum share the history of the Transcontinental Railroad and its impact on the state of California. A lot of what I learned rings a bell like I’d learned it once back in school, but now having actually traversed the continent by train, it sticks a lot more. There also was an exhibit on the future of rail travel (high-speed trains! We need these in the U.S.!), and one on model trains. Entry to the museum was a bit pricey, I thought, for the size of it, but I enjoyed the exhibits nonetheless.
The Amtrak station and the Railroad Museum are (apparently) in what’s known as Old Sacramento- a State Historic Park. Aside from the museum, there are a lot of shops and restaurants, which I was able to walk through. I got fresh donuts (topped with pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles, because why not) and Minion socks (because I always need more of those!) and also walked through a mini museum on Sacramento history, housed in the Visitor’s Center.
I’d planned on eating dinner in Old Sacramento, too, but once I’d finished everything else I realized I still had 5 hours until the scheduled departure of my train, so I ventured a little farther out and ate at what’s probably a better restaurant than where I’d found in Old Sacramento. This place was a hipster-ish modern American restaurant that served, weirdly, really awesome green beans! And I also got a s’mores skillet (pictured below); I’ve always wanted to try one and I finally did and it was everything I wanted it to be…especially since underneath the s’mores was a Valrhona chocolate brownie!
After dinner, I went back to the Amtrak station, where I found out that my train was delayed. At the time of writing this, the delay is about an hour and a half…which is how I find myself still in Sacramento on my birthday, instead of en route to Portland. The delay was getting longer and longer for a while, but has since plateaued at the hour and a half mark, so I am hoping it stays there and doesn’t get any longer! I want to get to Portland!