Friday, September 8, 2017

The Folsom Blues

Due to events beyond our control, our Memorial Day weekend in Lodi has become a weekend in Sacramento instead. Finally getting some quality sleep on the comfortable beds in the real suites of the Hyatt House hotel just east of the capitol in Rancho Cordova, we head downstairs to the bountiful breakfast buffet offered here.

It’s a nice hotel. The suite is big, spacious, comfortable and accessible (note: we opt for the bathtub equipped room but roll-ins are available). The beds are truly sleep inducing and, incredibly, it’s very quiet.

Incredibly, because the hotel is full of 8 to 14 year olds in town for a Little League tournament. Those hungry boys and girls do their best to decimate the hotel’s breakfast serving ability but we’re able to get a very decent breakfast before heading out.

Watch the Video!

The pool and spa have lifts for those who need them but we didn’t try to…after a night of heavy use by the kids, the spa is a deep green and surrounded by yellow tape. The pool looks better but the water’s cold and it’s still full of the kids who turned the spa green.  Better safe than sorry…

Our plans are scrambled so we look around for a new plan. Just up the road is Folsom.  Could it be?

Not well advertised but finally finding it is infamous Folsom Prison. Just inside the outer gate is the prison’s museum.

We park at the visitor’s reception center. Since we’re not going into the prison proper, there’s no need for us to go through the metal detector and be searched.

I notice a limping deer behind our car. I follow him to the gate where a prisoner-trustee mans the booth. He feeds the deer and tells us it’s part of a family that comes down from the surrounding hills for a free handout.

In the small museum, the exhibits run from the gruesome...a well-used hangman’s noose and a collection of shanks…to the kitschy…we documented pictures, CDs, and even dolls dedicated to the two concerts performed here by Johnny Cash.

A replica cell is located in the back and the volunteer on duty points out to a visitor, “you know my uncle Chuck that works here? He was stabbed in the neck one time by an inmate. That’s the knife up there,” she points out on the wall of prisoner-made shanks on the wall.

The docents also point out the best spot where we can legally take pictures of the prison’s imposing stone walls, gates, and tower. Another engages me in a long conversation about earlier prison industries and entertainments…most of which are long gone. The only industry left is the metal shop that makes all of California’s license plates.

Out of prison, we continue back up the road to Amador County and follow the maze of backroads until we get to Story Winery.

Sitting on a hillside at the top of Consumnes River Canyon, the winery is having special tastings and live music for Memorial Day weekend. We’d stopped at Andrae’s Bakery in Amador City on the way up to pick up some bread and cheese for a picnic.

The band, 30 Years After, is playing a selection of Credence Clearwater Revival, Beatles, Eagles, and other 60s and 70s music. Someone in the crowd heckled up that maybe they should be called 40 Years After.

It’s very relaxing sitting on the deck, enjoying our picnic with the winery’s outstanding zinfandel.

Down the hill, it’s back to Lodi for Saturday night in downtown where I find this perfect Austin Healey.

A stroll around the area, doing a little window shopping, before ending this evening with another dinner at Lodi Beer Company, having some samplers and comparing notes with the table next to us.

Tomorrow, we’ll conclude this trip by doing some historical touring before heading down into the capital for some candy. We’ll see you then.

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Copyright 2013 – Darryl Musick

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