Day 49

Do you remember how I said I wanted to end my trip with comfort and dignity? Well, here I am alone at PF Chang's family style low-wattage hotspot waiting on my almond chicken. I am in Sacramento. I think I must have insulted the 'concierge' at the hostel because this was his recommendation when I asked for an unassuming place nearby where I could eat by myself.

The hostel is surreal. It's in a 19th century flour magnate's mansion. The downstairs is kept immaculate and in period dress. The concierge sits behind an oak dress and blasts thin Britney Spears through his computer speakers. Two separate sets of young couples, bankrupt, are eating noodles in testy silence. Upstairs, dance halls and dining rooms have been converted into barracks. I am in room 2, bed 10. A Spanish guy was sleeping off what looked to be a bad case of ebola.

I'd rather describe Sacramento. This is the state capitol. It seems to be on the up and up. There is a summer concert that has gotten everyone from the surrounding area into the city center. Half of them biked in on these chopper-style beach bikes that are quite neat. Everyone is good looking and poorly dressed. I saw a couple of drug deals on my ride down 12th. I saw many more families, some of which were headed to what sounded like a Beach Boys cover band in a downtown cathedral.

I started today in minor redwoods. In hours I was down in the valley. I rode along fields of strip malls. In one mall, I saw an ad for a smoothie bar/tanning salon which actually seemed popular. How? Perhaps for miners to keep up with everyone else. Everyone is tan here. Everything is tan: the grass is bronze, the paint is faded, the road is faded. And everything looks hot.

I rode on a fairly long bike trail today down the American River. There were wild turkeys and deer. There were powerlines. There were riders in all kinds of leotards. It was like the procession before the Palio.

I'm back at the hostel. There's a nice painting of the Matterhorn in front of me. As I am braindead, I'll leave you with the Mark Twain quote hanging from the entrance:

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it solely on these accounts."

Sounds nice.

No comments: