Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sacramento, California Capitol

After a day around the old home place yesterday, we were ready for an adventure today.  Up early with a quick breakfast of cereal an toast, we were in the truck by 7:15 for the 130 mile drive to Sacramento.

We took US 50, winding up and over the mountain.  It was definitely scenic, but there were too many curves and too much traffic to really let your eyes wander from the road.  The road was in good condition and the mountains beautiful, so it was a pleasant drive.  Pleasant, at least, until we got to Sacramento County.  It is a big city, after all, and there were all the big city issues--lots of lanes, lots of traffic, lots of merging, and lots of folks driving far faster than the posted speed limit who know exactly where they are going and we seemed to be in their way.  By the time we got off at our exit downtown (US 50 turns into a limited access freeway in Sacramento), we were pretty stressed, especially Gene since he was driving.  This was the most traffic we’ve seen since San Antonio.

We had discussed how to spend our day, finally settling on just touring the Capitol Building.  With the long drive over there and back, we didn’t want to overdo it like we so often do.  We always get irritable and grumpy when we try to do too much.  We had also checked to be sure the capitol building would be open today.  We like visiting state capitols on Saturday, because the downtown traffic and parking are so much easier to deal with.  We found a parking spot on the street right in front of the capitol.
Very ornate interior

Sacramento was not the first capitol city of California (or even the second or third), but it has been the capitol since 1854.  This building has served as the seat of government since 1874.  It has been added on to a few times with a 6-story annex building extending from the back and a new Supreme Court building across the street.  The original building was restored in the late 1960s so it looks almost like new.  Today the Governor’s Office, the Legislature, and a Museum occupy this building.
Arnold's office

Assembly chamber
While we waited for our tour to begin, we walked around the museum area.  The first floor offices of the original Capitol Building have been restored to the way they looked in the early 1900s.  Our tour included the Senate, Assembly, Rotunda, and Governor’s Office.  Actually, all we got to do at the Governor’s Office was stand outside the door.
Looking through the rotunda on the second level

Senate chamber
We decided to take I-80 back to Reno rather than wind along US 50 again.  It was 30 miles farther, but a faster drive.  We were still going over the mountains (the highest point be Donner Pass at 7200 feet) so the scenery was nice, but the road surface was awful.  They are working on it and there was all the road construction equipment, narrow lanes, and concrete barriers that are the signs of tax dollars at work, but it looked like most of the work had been done on the westbound lanes.  Our eastbound lanes were almost dangerous to drive on.

We have no plan as yet for tomorrow, but I bet it won’t involve heavy traffic.

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