Our trip was amazing in every way. As usual though, we packed every minute with fun, so we’re exhausted now. All pictures are here.
Day 1: Flights, errands, food.
The night before we left there was the most wicked storm ever, and the sound of water smashing onto the tops of our AC units kept us up, as well as multiple leaks inside the house. I’m glad the garden got some water, but I got barely any sleep. So at 3:30am I got up and started getting ready, and around 5:30am the Fishers came over, and Silas picked us all up and took us to the airport. I don’t think there’s ever been such a merry band of airport-goers so early in the morning. We parted at our respective gates, the Fishers to attend a funeral and we to attend a wedding.
When we arrived in Sacramento, the rental car people kind of messed up our order, so they “hooked us up” — meaning they gave us a way bigger, tackier car than we asked for. ::sigh:: This kind of thing is always happening to us.
But anyway we took our monstrosity straight to Thunderhorse Vintage, our friends’ shop in Midtown Sacramento. I was blown away by their selection of vintage dresses and boots, and happy to see that Jen and Marilyn’s store is really as cool as they are. I bought a great purple dress for $10, which I was complimented on many times when I wore it.
Wish I could have spent more time at Thunderhorse, but we were starving. We headed to the Old Spaghetti Factory, which is probably Dan’s favorite left-coast chain (Red Robin being his right-coast fave). It’s pretty good. I can heartily recommend the Garlic Mizithra, minus the bacon of course. But their standout is seemingly just a detail: the pesto ranch dressing. Holy smokes. I can see why there are many conversations on the internet with people trying to copy that recipe. It made my salad memorable.
After that we ran errands, picking up Dan’s tux for the wedding, as well as replacing a camera lens (I don’t even want to go into this right now), and getting some cold medicine for Dan. We met up with Andre at the Roseville Galleria, the mall I thought was crazy last time because they have teeth whitening kiosks right in the middle of the walkways. He took us to his and Kat’s town house in Rocklin, where we briefly met Kat and her family and their dogs. We were installed in the guest room, which was so comfortable, and I was super happy to be staying there. Then Andre, Dan, and I met Andre’s BFF Kari and her boyfriend, Tony, for dinner at Orchid Thai, which was delicious and sufficiently spicy.
Back at the town house in Rocklin, we walked the dogs and enjoyed the chilly night. Ahead of us on the path, jackrabbits scampered around — the first time I’d ever seen them. Later I struggled to stay awake until sometime after 11pm, at which point I had been up for 24 hours and I passed way out.
Day 2: San Francisco, old friends, bachelor party mayhem.
We got up early and headed to San Francisco. The drive there was beautiful.
Since we were looking to replace some of Dan’s very thrashed shoes, we headed to Haight St. and checked out some shoe stores. This venture was a great success, thanks to the Doc Martens store as well as Villains. The most amazing store we found, though, was a new one called Loved to Death. You guys would walk right in and go “This store is for Tess!” It’s stuffed full of taxidermied knick-knacks, optical toys (I played with an old stereoscope while we were there), shadow boxes with tiny morbid scenes inside, and super goth fascinators. Dan and I decided that if we ever had a bricks-and-mortar shop, it would be something in the same vein. Luckily they do have a blog and an Etsy shop, so that we right-coasters can keep up with them from a distance. The kicker? The shop clerk saw me flipping wistfully through Peter Beste‘s True Norwegian Black Metal, and he asked if we were going to be around the next day (we weren’t). Bummer, because Peter Beste was having a reception and book signing there the next evening. I freaked out. It would have been amazing to meet him and get a signed copy of the book! So maddening that we had to be back in Sacramento. But I got my laments out of my system and put on a happy face, because we were on our way to see Beth.
Beth is my best friend from growing up. We met when we were four and have been friends ever since, except for that one time in late 4th / early 5th grade when we fought over a Bart Simpson notepad. She now has her doctorate and does research at UC Berkeley, trying to learn about the manner in which the universe expands. No biggie.
We drove to her pink house in Berkeley, and the three of us went to Zachary’s for pizza. Beth tried to transfer some of her knowledge about the cosmos into our heads, but I think our understanding was imperfect at best. Where’s Carl Sagan when you need him? The pizza was as decadent as ever. I ate too much of it and I’m glad we went for a walk around the Telegraph area afterwards, though the whole neighborhood smells like weed. I slew 485 hippies with my bare hands. It was great.
Next we met some of Dan’s friends at E.J. Phair Brewing Company in Concord, CA. I think Dan has known these guys since his Mission Year stint in Oakland in like 1998, and it was so cool to see how similar they all are. Dan has a very distinctive sense of humor that sticks out in some crowds, but his banter fits in so naturally with these guys you’d never know they’d been separated by so many years and miles. I really enjoyed talking with them as well, their conversation being just the type of thing I look forward to: plenty of wit without being mean, asking all the right questions, and genuinely listening and encouraging. I can see them enjoying the heck out of Richmond, so hopefully they will come visit soon.
Finally we headed to the Old Tavern in Sacramento to meet up with Andre’s bachelor party. This place was nasty in an old-world, dark ages kind of a way. Not just a grubby dive, but an active type of dirty, like they’re trying to make the place unappealing. Weird layout too…the words “haphazard” and “disarray” come to mind. But we discovered why people meet up there — the drinks are deep and cheap. So we salute you, Old Tavern.
When our friends got there, Andre had donned his special bachelor outfit (a child’s cowboy costume, duh) and looked pretty sharp.
I was also delighted to meet Dan’s friends John and Anissa, who made the effort to come out for a drink even though they have kids. Troopers! It was much appreciated, and meant a lot to Dan.
The group then migrated over to the Townhouse Lounge for more drinks and dancing. I don’t know how the electro band that was playing usptairs felt about Andre joining the band for a while with his tambourine, but we all laughed a LOT. It was certainly the evening’s pinnacle. We danced until a ridiculous hour, and had a blast with all of Andre’s friends. I really enjoyed this group, not just because they’re great dancers, but because they’re all super genuine people. There’s nobody being hard-to-please or condescending, nobody getting TOO crazy so that everyone has to take care of them, and nobody using shyness as a (pathetic) excuse to be miserable. I love that getting together and having a good time is so simple and straightforward with sincere, fun-loving people. It’s fun to travel and find other pockets of people like this in the world.
After we left, a few of us went to Pieces for pizza, which seems like Sacramento’s version of Aladdin Express, minus the whole middle-eastern theme. The pizza was amazing, and we also happened to run into our friend Mar! She came in and said “Of course I’d find you at the best pizza place!” Such a nice treat to see her, though strange that I would manage to run into somebody I know in Sacramento, where I barely know anyone.
When we finally got back to Rocklin it was sometime after 3am, and I was exhausted but proud of myself for sticking it out, jet lag and all.
Day 3: Old Sacramento, a 2-year-old’s birthday party, wedding rehearsal, and more reuniting.
I love Old Sacramento, and was excited to walk around taking pictures and popping in and out of shops on Saturday morning.
At 11am we went on the Sacramento Underground tour, which takes you below the city to what used to be the surface. Due to lots of flooding, they actually jacked the entire city up a story in the 1860s. Problem solved! The tour was fascinating, blending general city history with the mechanics of raising the buildings up. The real standout, though, was our tour guide, “Ms. Odessa.” She was in character as an 1860s widow from the eastern south (not many people were really from Sacramento at the time, she explained), and her colorful quips at the end of every tidbit of history were hysterical. Dan and I are both in agreement that she’s the best tour guide we’ve ever had, and that’s saying something. I love that she kept referring to herself in the third person, such as “Ms. Odessa knows you ladies don’t want to be out in the sun, so she’ll just take us under this big shade tree right here.” Truth.
As soon as the tour was over, we headed to Owen’s birthday party. Owen is one of our favorite kids on the planet — super expressive and agonizingly cute, in that oh-my-gosh-I-want-to-eat-you-up kind of a way. His parents are lovable as well, and it was so refreshing to see them. Owen lit up as soon as he saw Dan, and gave him a high-five immediately. I took some photos, helped make cookies, blew bubbles for the kids, and enjoyed the pizza and goat cheese-stuffed figs. Such a beautiful day and a beautiful backyard.
Next we were off to McBean Park in Lincoln, CA for Andre and Kat’s wedding rehearsal. Though the afternoon had gotten hot, I set up camp under a shady tree and was quite comfortable. They ran through the ceremony a couple of times, and then everyone went about a block away to Old Town Pizza. Yep, we ate a LOT of pizza on this trip.
After that it was back downtown to meet up with Dan’s friend Andy, who was in town from Fresno. When Dan found out he was in town, he got really excited. Yet another person he hadn’t seen in years. We met up with him and his friends Shaun and Luke at Java City, and went to Shaun’s house for a couple of drinks. We were served moonshine, which I always suspect is not quite the same as it used to be because it’s too tasty. Then we went to the Townhouse Lounge again, and saw some interesting things at their hip-hop night (gin n’ juice specials!). The big chalkboard at the base of the stairs had “hide yo kids hide yo wife” scrawled upon it, haha. We mostly ended up talking outside, until Dan and I had to go so we could get some sleep. I wished we could have hung out more though. I feel like we’d see a lot of this crowd if we lived in town, biking and walking everywhere and trying to find out where the best dance party is. Anyway, more Richmond visitors, perhaps!
Day 4: Wedding!
We got up and got ready, and helped Kat and her family bring a ton of stuff to the wedding venue, so we were there at like 9:30 or 10am. The Flower Farm Inn is a lovely place, quite a distance from the beaten path, and full of flowers, chickens, pumpkins, etc. Since I was the only one there not in the wedding party or having a specific job to do, I got to help out with random tasks like decorating the rows of chairs, and I also walked around and took a bunch of photos. Everyone kept commenting on the bizarrely cuddly-looking chickens, which are called silkies and are quite cute.
The wedding was simply beautiful. The light was perfect once they got started, and leaves were falling gently from trees all throughout the ceremony. It was conducted in both English and Spanish, but was still pretty brief. As soon as the ceremony was over, a mariachi band walked up the path and serenaded us as we had champagne. Inside the barn there were tearful speeches, insanely crispy eggplant parmesan, and lots of good talks at our table. I held Ellora for a while to give Katrina a break, and a bunch of people came up to admire her and asked me if she was mine. Aw. I got kind of sad when Ben and Katrina left, because it’ll be hard to see them now that they’re out in Sacramento again…and we have such an easy connection with them.
After somebody turned the lights down a bit lower (good call!) we danced to such greats as the Police and Portishead until it was time for Andre and Kat to leave. They made their getaway in a limo which carried them to the airport, where they got right on a flight to Mexico. Bam.
We fell into bed, exhausted, at 9:30pm. We were tired, happy, and had to catch a flight out at 6am.
Day 5: In flight.
I got up at 2:30 in the morning so that I could shower and pack without being rushed. We got to the airport around 4am, returned the rental car, rode a shuttle, got through security, found our gate, and had something to eat before 6am. When we got to Dallas, we ate at the Tequileria, which tastes like someone went to Kroger and bought month-old tortilla chips and gelatinous salsa to make “Mexican” food. The silverware was also plastic, which did not match up to their prices. We DO NOT recommend.
Our flights were good though, and it was a great day of traveling overall. I was even able to sleep! I can almost never sleep in a moving vehicle, including a plane. I must have been tired enough to just pass out.
As we landed in Richmond, the elderly lady sitting next to Dan told us she was born and raised in Richmond. She was in the air force for 35 years, and today she was returning from a visit to Dallas for her daughter’s 65th birthday party. Her first plane ride cost $5 and was in a biplane, back when the airport was still called “Byrd Field.” What an awesome lady — so full of sweetness and interesting conversation and descriptive memories. She was lovely, too…I couldn’t believe she had a daughter who was 65. I hope to turn out something like her.
The Bonkovskys picked us up from the airport, and we squeezed into their minivan with all three kids. Raynie wailed with horror when she saw Dan’s beard, and the rest of us laughed. We had dollar burgers at Capital Ale House, and we talked about how many people are getting engaged or having babies in the church and the fact that a record number of kids showed up to Children’s Worship on Sunday. We listened to the kids talk about all kinds of things, some of which didn’t make any sense but were hilarious anyway.
Finally back at home, we were greeted by a cold house, and we got under the covers and watched Tommy Boy. The cats curled up between us and we drank tea and Theraflu and laughed a lot.
The trip was wonderful, but it’s good to be home.