My trip to Sacramento: Capitol crimes, pizza & the #38 bus
Editor's note: This article is a relatively long one, hopefully designed to eventually become a chapter in my future book about traveling dangerously in times of COVID.
January 20, 2021: "Why are you going to Sacramento?" asked my neighbor as she watched me lug a suitcase over to my wonderful little 1990 Toyota. Damned if I know why. Maybe to have a nice little chat with Governor Newsom and finally set him straight?
"Stop being such a brat," I would tell him. "Go to your room. And take all those freaking face masks with you. We're done here." But will he listen? Probably not. Hell, I'm 78 years old -- far too frail to wear a freaking face mask, especially since the nano-particles in those ugly blue ones are in the same fiber family as asbestos. Definitely not a good look!
Now I'm all settled into my Sacramento motel room, watching reruns of Golden Girls -- and I'm older than any of them.
So. The drive to Sacramento took about two hours because I stopped in Vacaville to visit the famous Rock Shop. Around 200 feet square, it's as big as the ground floor of Macy's -- and filled with geodes and amethysts and crystals and all kinds of cool stuff. I bought $25 worth of cool stuff. Totally satisfactory. Rock on!
As I drove by the state capitol building on my way to the motel, the National Guard had just finished packing up. About 30 Humvees were about to roll out. Guess Newsom didn't get his big chance at quelling a riot today after all, poor guy. No big photo-op for him. Only about 50 or 60 dispirited protestors showed up and just wandered around a nearby park for a few minutes. Dressed in black camo. Guess they thought it was Halloween, saw that no candy was involved and just melted away.
Then I walked over to Trader Joe's from my motel room, about a mile away. Damn. That U.C. Davis Medical Center across the street from my motel is huge. Every sick guy in three counties must go there.
The rest of my stroll to Trader Joe's featured residential streets -- seriously reminding me of the American Midwest. Hometown feeling. Wide front porches. Maple trees. Stuff like that.
"I used to live in San Francisco," said a clerk bagging my groceries, "but I could no longer afford the rent. Sacramento is much cheaper." Yeah, I've heard that before too.
Back to the motel. Microwaved some low-grade tamales. Called my college roommate. Made a plan to meet her for lunch tomorrow. Drank a glass of Two-Buck-Chuck. Turned on the Hallmark channel.
I hate to say this but I don't think there's going to be any huge late-breaking news stories to write about here in Sacramento. This isn't exactly Iraq.
What is it about motel rooms that keep luring me in? Could it be because their walls are so bare and empty -- while the walls in my apartment look like a million little things are hung on them? Good grief. What if I took everything off my walls? 'Your apartment would look like a motel room," is the short answer. Oh. But in the long run, that might not be a good thing.
January 21, 2021: Got a lot of sleep but had a rather weird dream that involved me spending time with one of the world's greatest cancer experts and he was in conversation with Chairman Xi, the head leader of China. But. I have no idea what they talked about. I tried to discretely eavesdrop but no luck.
Pulled open the drapes this morning. First thing I saw was the medical center's massive oncology building. No wonder I'm dreaming about cancer.
7:00 pm: Today turned out much better than I thought it would. That lunch with my old college roommate was fun. She's (still) a real sweetheart -- and interesting too. Good to know that she hasn't turned into a fussy little old lady like so our age many do. Plus tacos were involved. And a cross-town ride on the #38 bus. And a lovely walk across the historic Tower Bridge spanning the rather-wide Sacramento River.
Then things got a bit more interesting. While walking around looking for a bus stop, I got lost. 25 long blocks later, I finally located the #38 bus back to my motel. But that's okay. I got to walk around the Capitol building and talk to the cops there. "Can I take a tour?" I asked one.
"Sorry but the building is closed."
"The employees are working from home until the pandemic is over?"
"No, it's permanently closed." Oh. So I walked around the building's exterior and read the labels on all the trees in the park surrounding the Capitol. Who knew that a sycamore looked like that? Moving on.
My hunt for the illusive #38 bus stop continued. I asked another cop. "Sorry. I never take the bus." And that was the standard answer from the next five people I asked.
Then this strange young woman all dressed in black with safety pins holding her clothes together and bright yellow eyeliner and a belly button ring and a thong-top showing through and black nail polish and steel spikes everywhere was kind enough to google the bus schedule, bless her punk heart.
I still couldn't find the bus stop but ten blocks later I did find a Goodwill store. And a belly-dance studio selling used books. Walked past even more old-fashioned Victorian homes. Past an upscale wine bar in Mid-Town. Past an upscale pizzeria. Pizzasaurus Rex. "Got any pizza by the slice?" No. Their pizzas were huge.
But the nice lady behind the counter did tell me where the bus stop was. I could have just taken it from there, sure, but now I gots pizza on my mind. "Nobody is on the bus but you and me," I told the bus driver. "Let's hijack this bus and go off to get pizza!" She laughed. But I still ended up getting a slice at the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op. "Stop the bus! I bet they sell pizza!"
That was a fun day in Sacramento.
What to do tomorrow? I could go over to the U.C. Davis Medical Center across the street and have a sore tooth pulled at their dental school? I already visited Sutter's Fort back when I was a Girl Scout.
Perhaps visiting Old Town?
I like Sacramento. It's unpretentious and low-key. Perfect place for a stay-cation. So far. And I'm still enjoying my motel room. "You could go visit the zoo," said my college roommate. "I hear it's still open." All the museums are closed.
And the evening news kept bleating that "the coronavirus has killed 440,000 Americans by now." No it hasn't. Day 314 of the lock-down and they are still lying to us. And people still believe them. Downtown Sacramento was a ghost town today. Everyone (except me) was staying home, huddled in fear next to their TV screens, terrified of a disease with a 99.9% recovery rate. I had the place all to myself.
But there is also some good news-slash-bad news. Within 24 hours after Uncle Joe Biden's inauguration, the W.H.O. announces that they are finally getting their PCR tests under control and cycling them down to a more believable amount of cycles -- so hopefully no more false positives now.
And suddenly it's now okay for doctors to use effective treatments such as Ivermectin, Vitamin D and even the dread HCQ. What does this mean? That suddenly a miracle happens and Biden miraculously gets COVID under control just by getting sworn in.
And the Trump/Biden/COVID circus goes on. America loses. Globalist oligarchs win. But then who am I to judge.
January 22, 2021: The Nanny State has failed me! Woke up this morning with a tooth ache, looked out the window, saw the U.C. Davis Medical Center across the street, thought "why not" and called up their dental clinic.
"I'm visiting from out of town, have developed a sudden toothache and would like to see a student dentist today," I said to the person who answered my call.
"I'm sorry," said the receptionist, "but we only have one provider on duty and are booked solid until March." March! Only one provider! What kind of a dental school is that! Guess I'll just have to take an aspirin -- which reminds me of that old joke about the woman on a bus who drops her aspirin.
"My aspirin! My aspirin!" she cries.
And of course the bus driver replies, "Lady, if your ass burns, stick it out the window." As a kid, I thought that joke was totally funny and risque.
So. No trip to the dentist. What else is there to do today? Sacramento during the lock-down has very few options for tourists. "The Governor's Mansion is closed and is now a private residence," said a helpful cop. I googled around. The Crocker Museum is closed. The Indian Museum is closed. The Gold Rush Museum is closed. The Railroad Museum is closed. All the senators and assembly members are working from home. Sutter's Fort is closed.
The cemetery is open!
I don't want to go to the zoo.
Dream report: Dream #1 was post-apocalyptic. I was wandering through a deserted supermarket, trying to convince some young woman to take care of an abandoned baby but the young woman kept levitating. Dream #2 involved an anguished young pianist with dark eyes and unruly curls. Chopin? Beethoven? In any case, he was slowly starting to go mad -- and not in a good way.
I had plans for today. Honest. But then it started raining. Back to watching TV in my nightgown. Later on? Still raining. Puddle-jumping? Sure. But thanks to the #38 bus, I had a very small adventure today anyway. Small. But it was still an adventure. Sort of.
First I found beaucoup books-on-tape at another Goodwill store. This one appeared to be the Sacramento mothership of Goodwills. My 30-year-old Toyota's sound system only plays cassette tapes, right? No mp3 players for me. And yet books-on-tape are as rare as hens' teeth these days. "Score!" They had three love stories, two adventure tales and even one Louis L'Amour.
Next? Comfort food. Hot mac-and-cheese. Sitting at the bus stop in the rain, gobbling it up with my fingers. Couldn't wait until I got back to the motel. Simple pleasures. Two kinds of cheese.
But, wait, what? The next #38 bus didn't even stop for me. It just drove right on by. "Stop! Stop!" I cried but nobody heard me except for the rain and the dark and a couple of homeless old men. I ran after the bus -- half-eaten mac-cheese, groceries, Goodwill bags and all. No use. Sigh.
But then the #62 bus driver, bless her heart, picked me up, called the #38 driver on her dispatch phone, the #38 circled the block again and then actually returned to pick me back up. Sacramento, I love you. Please never lose your small-town allure.
Meanwhile, back at the motel. Watching the news. Disgusting. Isn't it enough that Biden won (or even stole) the presidential election by shoving COVID nightmares down our throats? Now he's got to extract revenge on anyone who didn't vote for him? Now he's comparing anyone who doesn't fall in lock-step with the Davos Boyz' party line to cult members and fans of bin Laden? Everywhere on TV you hear about "domestic terrorists". I'm totally not a fan of The Orange Man -- but the Biden-slash-Fasci-slash-Pelosi gang are really sore winners.
Now they are calling for real Americans to hunt populists and conservatives down. Be careful what you wish for, Uncle Joe. Even more divisions between Americans. He and Trump deserve each other -- and only the Davos Boyz win. GlobalCap does not want America strong. Job well done, World Economic Forum. As one famous neo-con once said, "It's a lot easier to kill a million people than to control a million people."
Right about now, all I can say is, "I'm so glad that I'm old." I won't have to live through the Fourth Industrial Revolution and watch my grandchildren turn into cyborg robo-bots.
Time to bury my brain and go watch the Hallmark channel again. But wait, what! The Matrix is playing on AMC! "Don't take the blue pill, Keanu!" Oops, too late. Now here come the Bad Guys. Perhaps the blue pill might not have been such a bad idea after all. Americans might actually be onto something here by keeping their heads in the sand. "We now live in a world of A.I." sez Lawrence Fishburne. "Artificial Intelligence." They suck out our energy and bombard our minds with 5G? Sure, why not. "You're The One, Keanu!" Go for it. Fight the power.
Good grief, I love motel-room life!
January 23, 2021: I'm thinking of staying another day here. Why not. What else have I got going on? Plus the state legislature will be in session on Monday and the bed here is totally comfortable. And there are free movies to watch! And it's going to rain tomorrow. Who wants to drive 90 miles in the rain.
Plus today was nice. I'm beginning to like Sacramento's hometown feel. And the bus drivers are so nice. It's like having my own private Uber. "Door to door."
Only two bus transfers to get to the zoo -- and the first bus trip landed me right in the middle of an election-fraud car-protest rally in front of the state capitol building. Not only Trump supporters were demonstrating but also a few "Justice for All" signs were being waved as well.
Election fraud is election fraud no matter who commits it. Election fraud probably put Trump in the White House in the first place -- so how ironic would it be if election fraud got him booted out as well. Karmic justice. He shouldn't have crossed the World Economic Forum. Trump kissed more Swamp arse than Hillary Clinton -- but apparently kissed far less Swamp arse than Uncle Joe Biden. Bernie didn't even stand a chance. He only puckered up slightly.
Next stop? The zoo. Basically they had two lions, two kangaroos and an alligator that looked like it was dead. And a magical snow leopard. Took a selfie with the snow leopard. Worth the whole bus trip out there.
Then on the bus ride back, I remembered Pizzasaurus Rex. "Stop the bus!" But the Rex-sized pizzas were just too huge for me to even consider getting one. But one kind customer saw me looking so hang-dog-disappointed about not getting some that he gave me his second-to-last slice. Yummers! I gotta starve myself for a week and then go back.
Those pizzas are huge. "That's because they're from the Crustaceous Period," said the waitress.
Back at the motel. "Can I please get a break in your rates if I can stay another night?" I asked the desk clerk. He gave me 20% off. Who knew that I would be pining away to spend another night in freaking Sacramento.
But I still need to visit the historic cemetery, binge-watch cable TV and go lobby some legislators on Zoom. Picket the Governor's Mansion. Be open to other stuff.
Dream report? About punk teenagers hanging out at a gas station in wheelchairs. And about a woman who had witnessed a murder when she was a child. And then about meeting an insane man on a bus who kept staring at me with wild crazy eyes and muttering about how sick and tired he was of living with his mother. Why did my subconscious come up with all that?
January 24, 2021: Did I mention that I had left my green watch cap by accident on the miniature train at the zoo yesterday? And the conductor guy had searched all over the zoo for me in order to give it back? That's the kind of small-town niceness that gives Sacramento its charm.
At 10:00 am this morning, I needed to watch an Amazon movie on my laptop. Why? That's part of my job description. As a member of SAG-AFTRA, the actors' union, we are required to watch a whole bunch of movies and vote on who is the best actor, right? I did this last year too but this year is different and weird because no theaters have been open for the past 318 days and all the nominations that we're spozed to watch have been put forward by Netflix, HBO, Amazon and them. But I don't have cable at home so I haven't been able to watch any of them at the time they were released.
I hate the New Normal.
And even at the zoo yesterday, all the little kids seemed so depressed because everyone's smiles were concealed behind their masks. So I gave all the little kiddies a nod and a finger-wave. It was the least I could do. So sad.
But now the motel's wi-fi is broken. So much for watching more of that Amazon thing. So back to being a tourist. The #38 bus dropped me off right next to the historic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart -- just in time for the liturgy. Held outside in the cold, sure, and totally in Spanish too but I'm loving it.
At first I tried to pray for the priest and congregation but was totally not feeling it. They apparently did not need my prayers. But you know who did? Just two blocks away, shining in the last of the morning sun, was the state Capitol building. "Pray for me," whispered the Capitol. "These freaking legislators need all the prayers they can get -- not to mention our power-mad Governor. He obviously needs all the prayers he can get too."
After the liturgy ended, I got lost. Again. That's what I do. "Where is the Governor's Mansion?" I asked a little old Jewish lady wearing a Star of David beanie as well as two homeless guys and a customer at Mike's Bikes who googled it for me. There it is! Beautiful. Amazing. But I can see why Governor Newsom refused to live there. Drafty-looking. Probably didn't have an elevator either.
After that, there was more waiting around for the #38 bus which only comes once an hour on Sundays. Here we go. More sitting around in the cold. "I'm hungry." Again. And back at the motel, the wi-fi was still broken. I pirated the U.C. Davis Med Center's wi-fi for a while but then got caught out and was banned. No wi-fi? Too bad for me. Guess it's time to practice the joy of spending time with my own self. Again. Eat, sleep and get lost. Story of my life. Is there life after one's wi-fi goes down and there's nothing good on the Hallmark channel and only junk food is available? I'm having a motel-room existential moment.
And did I also mention that the streets of downtown Sacramento were mostly deserted this Sunday? Except for a handful of characters who looked like they had no place else to go, the place was a ghost town. Windows were all boarded up. But guess what else? The downtown area looked exactly this empty during the weekdays too. I hate this lock-down.
January 25, 2021: It's my last day in Sacramento. Pizzasaurus Rex is closed on Mondays so no need to hang around this town any longer. I have my priorities straight. But this trip has been a great success anyway -- even if I only had one slice of the world's best pizza.
Dream report: I was attending a party at a fish market when i saw a small boy out playing in traffic. I rescued him from certain death. Is that imagery supposed to mean something? Who knows. I've long ago stopped trying to interpret my dreams. They have a life of their own. I am no Sigmund Freud -- and I am no lucid dreamer either. If I was, I would have sneaked into Governor Newsom's dreams, become his worst nightmare and given him a severe wake-up call. Then California would still be the world's fifth-greatest economy and not just some burned-out shell of its former self, terrified beyond reason that 0.01% of us would die. [Later on, approximately 0.06% of us will die from Pfizer-Moderna experimental injections including deaths 1524 between December and March alone -- but that is a story for the future.]
I have explained all the dangers of this experimental injection to her. That's all I can do. Sadly, at some point you just have to let people go their own way. If 2020 has taught me anything, it has taught me that.
Maybe I should stop by that historic old Sacramento cemetery and get used to hanging out with the dead. Lovely place, acres of statuary monuments and grief expressed in stone by people from a hundred years ago. Sat on a memorial bench under a spreading oak tree and ate lunch. Got in the car and started driving home.
But wait! I just drove past the site of where that old Nut Tree plaza in Vacaville used to be, where I used to go as a kid. Now it's a newly-developed mall -- but with a sign for Fenton's legendary ice cream sticking up high above the freeway! Tires screeched and brakes squealed once again. I bought a hot caramel sundae. Good grief, that was yummers. However. Once you open that door to empty nutritionless carbs, it stays open. So I stopped by Fat Apple's in Berkeley too and bought a slice of its famous olallieberry pie as well. "With lots of whipped cream, please."