Expedition 29: Sacramento

March 20, 2024. I was in the mood to get out of town. I really wanted to take the train, but that would involve a lot more walking and I don’t want to push myself. My PT told me if I walked a lot and felt sore, I needed to take two days off! So, I’m still slow, trying to be patient.

I had Barbra to listen to so the drive felt quick (I’m enjoying listening to Barbra Streisand’s memoir). My first stop was to see a photo show called The Missing Pictures. All the pictures were shot in the same old house over several years. The same family has owned it for 145 years. No one lives there but they hold family gatherings and the house still looks the way it has for over 100 years. Very evocative; gave me an idea for a project of my own.

The gallery is in midtown, a funky, trendy neighborhood. But the next gallery on my list was closed (contrary to posted hours) and empty. Another is now a tattoo parlor. This neighborhood has plenty of them, along with brewpubs. The last place on my list, the Flophouse, is an old apartment building with a gallery inside the ground floor parlor window. The house itself is decorated on the outside too. 

I had lunch at Chando’s, a local favorite taco joint, and it was pretty good. It started as a catering business for backyard parties and now they have merch! Next was the Museum of Medical History, which is part of a medical society so, like the black history museum, it’s under-curated. In this case, it’s just stuffed with items. 10 nearly amputation kits in cases on one shelf. 20 microscopes jammed together on another. Most items are donated so I guess they feel like they have to display everything. Still worth a visit, but sort of chaotic and overwhelming. If the subject matter is your thing and you find yourself in Philadelphia, definitely visit the Mutter Museum.

At the entry, a smiling doll lies in an iron lung, a victim of polio. I’m grateful the knee immobilizer I had to wear wasn’t as uncomfortable as this wooden contraption! The museum has a section of quackery devices that was pretty Interesting. 

I didn’t see any other art museum shows that intrigued me so I went to the California State Railroad Museum. I wasn’t expecting much but it turned out to be pretty cool. There’s a dramatic life sized scene of Chinese railway laborers bringing supplies up a nearly vertical rock face. The main train hall is gigantic, with 21 train cars. 

The highlight was the sleeper car that you can walk through. It sways, there’s a railroad soundtrack and you see flashes of light in the darkened windows. Some compartments are facing sofas and some are made up as beds. It’s very realistic and fun. In the 80’s I rode a decommissioned American train like this one from the Texas border to Mexico City. I loved sleeping on the rocking train and spending the day watching the desert landscape pass by. Passenger service stopped in the late 90’s, but Mexico is currently building new train routes. Future expedition!!

There’s a dining car set with place settings from various train lines. The third car you can enter is the mail car. The place is full of enthusiastic volunteers in period costume who are happy to talk to you about trains. 

My last stop was a public artwork called Subtile that looked from a distance like some trees draped in shimmering webbing. As I walked from my car to the River Walk trail, I saw that it’s made from hanging metal discs that glittered and moved in the wind. I think it’s meant to look like a clump of trees. I liked it.

Before I got on the freeway, I stopped at Southside Park to refill my water bottle. For some reason, the park has a sci-fi theme. This space ship sculpture was created from an Airstream trailer. 

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