Today was Mountain View and visiting with marypcb, diony, and tamago and their other halves and families before heading out to Santa Cruz.
I discovered that I could plug my keyboard into the netbook and be comfortable while typing into the little machine. I could see just enough to know that I was on track with the words I was working on and I managed most of a 3000 word story on the drive between Reno and Sacramento. It's a teaser for the novel, a quick short that just had to be written because my character had to do it and had to have me write it out. I wasn't quite sure how well I'd rendered my co-author's character until she got to read it in the evening and she assured me that I'd done well. That was very nice to have.
Yay for the Internet and being connected even while away from home.
Our only plan for Sacramento was to go to the train museum as all three of us love trains and railroad memorabilia, and being able to see the cars, engines, and history of the railroads in central California was very nice indeed. The Train Museum in Sacramento is well worth doing. I was very impressed that all the exhibits and pieces of trains were all housed indoors! Dozens of engines were there along with cars from most of the major lines. We got to go on a Canadian sleeper car that was on a sort of track that simulated the motion over tracks with sounds and lights and things going by the windows. There was a "conductor" on each of the walk-thru cars that would tell you about the history of the car or engine and what they were used for when they were in use.
The sleeper car had upper and lower bunks, the upper could be folded away during the day and the lower could be made into facing seats. There were curtains to cut the light as needed. But the motion of the train was so soothing.
There was a mail car and engine that were linked together with a working model of a mailbag catcher, and the conductor told of how they'd throw the bags of mail out for each stop and have to catch a bag from each stop and sort as they went. Lunches were a full 15 minutes, and they were working nearly all the time as the mail train never stopped. There was one clipping that showed them brewing coffee over a steam jet directly from the engine. that was pretty cool as a heat source.
We wandered through and up and down and around and went through some of the more fascinating cars twice and then went to the area that talked about the Chinese work crews and the blasting jobs and the record 10 miles of track laid by one crew that refused to give up their places to the replacement crew of that day. There was a bet between the two railroads that were heading west form the East and east from the West as to who could lay more track in a 12 hour day and it listed the tons of materials that crew used in just that day. And the half Chinese, half American crew laid 10 miles of track in one day and that still stands as the record for manual laying of track in a day.
I really need to look into the Chinese history in these lands some more. There's so much.
Jet and I shared a crepe as well, and at 5 we headed back toward Roseville as they weren't going to be there until 6, and we were amazed by how big all the trees had gotten in the seven years since we've last been there. I know, I know... I have lots of friends that I don't see for half a dozen years at a time, and it's all right. *laughs* It was great when they got home and we just started in as if we'd never been apart, and got to talk and talk and Jet played with Robert, Katie, and Josh like they were fast friends for forever, and it just really really worked out well.
The timing was wonderful as it was an evening where they didn't have anything, all the kids were there, and we could just hang out, have take out, and talk. I managed to take advantage of their tremendous bandwidth and get all my pictures up and talk with Darkprism for a while and still stay social with everyone. They'd cleaned out their library for us and all three of us slept really happily and really well and woke up to bacon and waffles that Al made and Jet got to just run around and play and play and play for a while. He needed the kid time.
I tried to get things coordinated for the day and I think we managed, and then left at 11 to hit the post office and get to Sugar, Butter, Flour by 2pm.
We managed to meet marypcb and sbisson there and it was great to just sit and talk with them about all their adventures of the last few weeks traveling between conferences and just exploring all around the world between them. They've seen quite a lot of the US as well, and it was great getting their stories of Florida, the Southwest, and trips up and down and all around this country along with finding out that there's a very nice sleeper train between London and Edinburgh.
The desserts at Sugar, Butter, Flour were as amazing as we remembered, and I simply had a chocolate hazelnut "Napoleon" that had cake layers along with two French-style macaroons and a Linzer style cookie for my lunch. Jet was mildly healthier with a crepe and John had a roast beef baguette sandwich with a salad. They were quite nice, and we were able to watch a bride and groom choose between a dozen slices of cake for their wedding cake. That was just beautiful.
From there we went to diony's, carrying macaroons with us, and got to meet her and Julia together. Julia was wide awake and a very happy baby girl who was just watching and taking in *everything* and everyone. That was lovely to do, and we got to talk for a good hour as she amused herself with us and trying to crawl. Jet seemed to like watching her as well, which was very cool.
marith arrived before too long, and I was able to give her what I keep calling "the ruined" plum blossom and sparrow painting and everyone else seems to like it for various reasons, and for my own reasons I gave her another painting that *I* didn't think was ruined at all. *laughs*
Daiso was a quick stop between, and we were able to find the two things that we really, really needed. One was another multi-tier lunch box for Jet, and one was a smaller onegiri mold for me, as I really wanted mildly smaller rice balls than the mold I'd had from two years ago. I can make them by hand, but they're never as neat as I want them and the mold always seems to do it right. We also found transparent origami paper, and a few ink cartridges for the Sailor/Platinum fountain and brush pens that I have. It's so much cheaper to buy the cartridges from Daiso and not have to pay shipping.
The stop was relatively quick, and from there we went to tamago's to meet up with her Teo and Chris and it was really fun to catch up with them, play a couple games of Fluxx to entertain Jet, and then the six of us went to a Turkish restaurant named Bodram that had really lovely food. I had half a roasted eggplant with ground lamb, tomatoes, and sweet peppers. It was delicious with rice and vegetables. Jet had an enormous plate of pasta with butter and cheese, while John had a lovely huge slab of salmon. It was a wonderful meal, much lighter than a lot of the diner food we've been surviving on.
That was very nice indeed. And in the parking lot we finally found a hotel in Santa Cruz that was both affordable and easy to get to, and we got a nice reservation for both nights, so we can actually unload the car and settle for a full day. *laughs* We'll be on the move again, soon enough, but we wanted to enjoy Santa Cruz for a bit. We made it by 9 and now we're good and tired and the high speed internet is high speed enough for me to get this up.
Not a lot of pictures from today, but that's all right. *laughs* Most of them were of the people we were with and those are simply for us to remember. *grins*