Saturday, December 5, 2009

Capital City

Okay, so I didn't make it that far from where I was the night before. I took the regional transit from Folsom back to the Sacramento Valley Transit Center wondering where I might go next. I looked at the large map of the Western United States posted on the outside of the building and trailed the multicolored lines with my index finger hoping that one particular city would jump out at me. My finger tip hovered over Reno, NV and while I don't particularly like this city, I thought that it might be fun so I stopped there. Plus, because of the gambling there the rooms would be super cheap. Disgusting, but cheap. No sooner did I convince myself that this was where I was going to go did I change my mind when I realized that I didn't have any warm clothes and would freeze my ass off there if made the attempt. Scratch Reno.

Instead, I walked outside and was amazed at how quiet downtown Sacramento is on a weekend. The sky was completely clear and the sun was warm and calming. I'll stay here for a night or two I thought, it might be nice and quiet yet still have the urban culture that I so crave.

I wandered around the streets of city center and around the capital building for a few hours, scoping out a spot to either get some cheap eats or find a place to sleep. But damn, my pack was getting heavy and my back was throbbing. I am going to need to get rid of some things if I am ever going to make it very long on this path. I guess I am pretty much the only bum on the streets who is carrying around an iron just in case I need to smooth out my clothes. Sheesh, I am a bourgeoisie bum. I think that might have to be the first thing to go.

After finding a cheap meal I needed to figure out where I was going to go. It was still warm outside and there weren't really any people on the streets. Plenty of hiding places where I could bed down for the night. It wouldn't be that bad. Honestly, I really did want a bed to sleep in tonight so I tracked down every hotel in town that I thought that I might be able to afford. Much to my disappointment, however, this was the weekend for the California International Marathon and every room was completely booked or way too expensive. After my last attempt which I thought would be a positive omen at the Vagabond Inn because, well...I am a vagabond of sorts and I was denied a room, I was pretty sure that I would be sleeping on the streets tonight. My other option was to go back to the train station and ride back to San Francisco but it was already beginning to get dark and I feared that I wouldn't have much luck finding a room at this hour either. Plus, I was exhausted and it was beginning to become much colder outside.

Remembering the days when I used to live near Sacramento, I followed back roads in what Sacramentans call the River District until I could see Interstate 5 heading North. There were always hotels lining major exits so I was confident that I would be able to find something there in my price range. 3 miles and 2 hours later (Hey, it took 2 hours because of the damn backpack okay?), I finally found a place to stay and I was shocked to see how nice it was for such little dough.

So for the night, I will be resting my back, deciding which items aren't crucial for me to carry on with, and enjoying a salad from the only restaurant nearby, McDonald's.

P.S. The photo above shows downtown Sacramento where I started and ultimately where I ended near the hotel.

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