Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Day 73: Amtrak

Today I attended a workshop at the Federal Building in San Francisco, and I opted to take Amtrak rather than attempting to make the trip by car.  I'm actually rather a fan of train travel, perhaps thanks to the great rail system I enjoyed in France during the time I worked for EuroDisney, and I often wish that the US had a better and more convenient train system.

The Sacramento Valley Station in downtown Sac is a beautiful historic brick building that's in the midst of seismic retrofits and other renovations.  The exterior of the station itself and of the adjacent commercial building (with a Starbucks, of course) remains impressive:

Within the past few years, the primary tracks were relocated farther from the Station in order to prep for full development of a true multi-modal station that will eventually be incorporated into the larger Railyards Development (during our lifetime, we hope...).  The tracks are now accessed via a pedestrian path and ramp system:

I'd forgotten about the longer distance to the train when I went to SF a couple of months ago for a grants workshop at The Foundation Center, and I was very glad to be a bit early to make sure I didn't miss the train!  This morning, Mr. E dropped me off with 20 minutes to spare, so I had plenty of time to grab an iced coffee at Starbucks and stroll leisurely to the tracks.

There's no train that goes all the way from Sac to SF, so you have to disembark at Emeryville and catch an Amtrak bus to access different parts of the city.  Although I was going to the Federal Building near the Civic Center, the bus schedule didn't include that stop at a time that accommodated the workshop, so instead, I got off at the Ferry Building at the base of Market Street and made the rest of the journey on foot.  I really enjoy walking along that stretch of Market Street, and it's particularly fascinating to see how the neighborhood character changes once you get past the Westfield shopping center into the Central Market District.

I was especially struck by all of the rainbow flags on the street posts and special rainbow displays in some of the stores in celebration and honour of Gay Pride month. 

However, as much as I enjoy visiting SF, I'm so glad to live in Sacto, as I find the Capitol City to be much more livable and human-scaled.  I prefer the slower pace and less-crowded streets, and at this point, I don't think we lack for anything in terms of amenities, culture, entertainment, or restaurants here in our "cowtown" of the Golden State.  Well, except maybe for a Major League Baseball team... but we love our River Cats!


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