San Francisco to Sacramento, Published 10 July 1945Sometimes, in your travels, you get a satisfaction in small journeys. My trip from San Francisco to Sacramento was one of those things. I got off to a good start, with a bow to the Canadian Pacific. Yes, I know, the C.P.R. doesn't run into San Francisco, but their office does.
Thanks to Mr. Corbin and associates, they took my portable typewriter off my hands, thus leaving me only two pieces of luggage with which to cross the continent. Trying to lug three pieces all the time makes you as mad as when, with each hand full at a tea party, they start to pass the ice cream.
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I caught one of the Southern Pacific electric cars, and we crossed over the big Bay Bridge, high over the magnificent harbor, to Oakland. Then I pushed on to Berkeley, and lunched amid wisteria, palms, sky-piercing eucalyptus, and tropical foliage.
It was a satisfaction to me also, when after a miserable tram ride, I reached the University of California, there to take point blank shots with kodachrome at the dazzling white shaft of the famed campus campanile, limned against a beautiful blue sky. At the base of it, U. of Cal. gals in form fitting sweaters (I forgot to look to see if they wore bobby sox) were boosting Mexican Friendship Day. I gave them a short spiel about Canada, then had the worst street car ride in 10 years back to downtown Oakland, where I found the weather, that day as traditionally, ten degrees warmer than it had been in San Francisco.
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Actually, I was to start east via Western Pacific Railway as far as Salt Lake City, a journey of 928 miles. But the trouble about the W.P. at this end is that it winds from San Francisco to Sacramento via Stockton, which is like going to Montreal from Ottawa by Brockville. I could thus give myself the luxury of missing my train by an hour and a half, catching a Southern Pacific flier, and then getting to Sacramento an hour and a half ahead of my Western Pacific train. This I did.
Before I left Oakland I finally got in touch with the Dick Finnies, of here and most other places, and it did seem funny to be talking about their home out at Carp, as I looked out at a palm tree over my Oakland pay telephone.
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My train, the El Dorado, whipped into Oakland about 5.30 and, I settled down for an interesting ride up to Sacramento. First of all, with something.of a pang, I ruefully watched my hotel, the Sir Francis Drake, disappear across the Bay. Then baleful Alcatraz slid away too, the Golden Gate spider web bridge became invisible, and outside, the shipyards of Richmond were finally left behind.
The train here follows an arm of San ; Francisco Bay for miles, until it gives place to dreary marshes around Suisan. The local yokels call it Soo Soon. This is a paradise for duck hunters, and you see miles and miles of shacks along this dreary world, of reeds and swamp. I hope I make no friends among duck hunters when I say they must love to kill things if their idea of fun is to spend their holidays sloshing around in a miry duck blind. Chaque a son gout, and I suppose an afternoon at the round house is no treat to a duck hunter, eithcr.
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In due course I arrived at Sacramento, our El Dorado whipping us up state in quick fashion. Already, as I stood in a taxi on my way to the S.P. roundhouse at Oakland, I had been held up while my Western Pacific train went by. There she was, behind big 486. It gave me a funny feeling to see my berth in my car going by empty, yet knowing I was going to catch that train comfortably, well after dark that evening.
So the S.P. 2482 (about like 2582 of the C.P.R., approximately 37 years old, and of the 4-6-2 class) dropped me at Sacramento, and I rushed out to see the state capitol in the cool of the evening. The big dome was colored with a brilliant orange, as it seemed to stick its bald head up above the fringe of palms. The grounds were adorned with beautiful flowers, while this setting sun, wherever he could break through the fragrant foliage served to remind the world how beautifully a day can die.
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There was one beautiful odor I could not place. Finally, I found the tree it came from, and after half a dozen enquiries, discovered what I should have known before, that it was an orange tree. I look off some blossoms, and rubbed them in my hand. I stood around under the orange tree, sniffing the ozone a la Ferdinand the Bull, as I watched the legislators loll up to the capitol for an evening's wrangling. Then I thought of our own Parliament Hill, and mentally remarked on the contrast. Imagine orange blossoms perfuming our M.P.'s as they walked up to the house for a night session.
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Then there came the problem of getting myself and bags to the Western Pacific station from the Southern Pacific station, in a town that was taxi-less, for all practical purposes. I discovered that the street car at the S.P. station was about to take off for the W.P. station. The motorman agreed to wait while I ran and got my baggage. Then I urged him to step on it, and gave him 25 cents. You never saw a toonerville fly the way that one did. Soaring a little low, we finally made a three-point landing just outside the W.P. station. That was the best value I got for two bits, the whole trip. In my next, across Nevada to Utah