I turned 31 last Thursday, so naturally I had to spend the following weekend with trains. Indeed, it was a very trainful weekend. On Saturday morning Jeff and I took the streetcar to the BART to Amtrak to Old Sacramento State Historic Park
. Three different trains, folks! Old Sacramento is the older part of our state's capitol, near the river, with lots of buildings from the 19th century now filled with taffy shops and tattoo parlors and gift stores. It was loads of fun.
Of course, the highlight of a trip to Old Sacramento is a visit to the California State Railroad Museum
. I'm not a train fanatic, really, but I do love a good train, and the museum is chock full of them. Big, big trains. Inside the museum. It was fantastic.
Our day at the museum included:
*gorgeous old locomotives from the 1870s, restored to their former glory. My favorite was painted a rich chocolate brown with yellow and red pinstriping and super shiny brass fittings. Unbelievable. When did people stop making utilitarian things so beautiful? Can we do this again?
*a sleeper car from the 1930s. They had it on some kind of hydraulic thingie that made it pitch and sway while you walked through it. They blacked out the windows to heighten the "in another place" feeling, and had a sound system playing train noises. To top it all off, a very old gentleman who "only worked on the trains for 38 years" was sitting there in full conductor gear, ready to answer any questions one may have about the old days.
*many, many 8 year old boys and 65 year old men. Apparently, these two groups are CRAZY for the trains. I was in good company.
*I told one docent that my grandpa and his father (my great-grandpa) both worked on trains, but that I'd never really had a chance to speak with either of them about their experiences before they passed away. I was roundly chastised (in the kindest way possible) so I resolved then and there to get the complete scoop from my dad, who knows the whole story. I guess I'd never thought a whole lot about it, it was just one of those things I knew about my family - but now I want to know how, when, what they did, etc. That's what a good history museum does, it brings it alive, and makes you proud of your own family's past.
So last year, longtime readers may remember, I spent my 30th birthday at a local cemetery. This year I spent my birthday with trains. Any thoughts as to what these choices may represent?
If you're in the Sacramento area, do check out Old Sac and the Railroad Museum. A great way to spend a birthday.
Photos of my trip are on flickr - after the Thanksgiving holiday I'll have photos of other recent stuff (new toys, great birthday presents, etc). Have a fun weekend, y'all!