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to the story's beginning            back to Sutter Creek / Big Trees

We stayed in Old Sacramento so we'd have more time to walk around and enjoy the city. This part of the city has kept the board sidewalks, which were once necessary because the streets weren't paved.

Sacramento was the western terminus of the Pony Express. This monument commemorates the 1966-mile run between here and St. Joseph, Mo.

One of the convention's off-site activities was a visit to the California State Railroad Museum.

Sacramento was at the western end of the first Transcontinental Railroad, joined by continuous track to Omaha in 1869.

Because we had time, and because it was right next to the railroad museum, we also visited the Sacramento Discovery Museum. This museum has exhibits to chronicle Sacramento history from the beginning (barely 150 years ago) to recent times. It includes some food processing equipment for dining by mass production: a walnut sheller, butter cutter, and - of course - a wine press. The walnut sheller separates the nuts from their shells by simply tumbling them in a drum.

Another exhibit is a typical Sacramento kitchen from 1928, and the wagon that would have carried that family's goods a generation before that.

The Discovery Museum also has exhibits to explain the people who lived here before John Sutter arrived.

One of the big attractions in the Discovery Museum is the Crespi Gold Collection. Charles Crespi managed the Bank of America's branch at Angels Camp (home of the celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County). In the heart of Mother Lode country, prospectors sold nuggets for a grub-stake.

Ordinary gold was sent to the US Mint, but Crespi bought the rare and exceptionally beautiful specimens for his personal collection. In 1959 he sold this collection to the Bank of America.  

This is the Meteorplane, which was completely manufactured in Sacramento beginning 1919. It was made by the Irwin Aircraft Company, who were eventually located at Sacramento Executive Airport. This plane could cruise at 60 MPH on 1½ gallons/hour (fuel) and one pint/hour (oil).

Dunlap's Dining Room.
Adapted from signs nearby in the Discovery Museum:

In 1929 the stock market crashed, plunging America into the Great Depression. During this time of uncertainty, Louise Dunlap suggested to her husband George that they convert the ground floor of their Oak Park home into a dining room.

Three months after the crash, the Dunlaps and their two daughters opened Dunlap's Dining Room, launching a business that endured for 38 years and saw business leaders, politicians, and a host of community diners come through its doors.

Famed for its fine food, excellent service and homey atmosphere, Dunlap's Dining Room was a landmark for generations.

Dunlap's never used a menu - most of their diners knew the entrees by heart. If someone needed help, Audrey would announce the menu: Chicken, fried or smothered; Baked Ham, served with candied yams; T-Bone Steak served with a pin-wheel fried potato.

All orders were served with a fritter on the plate and a side dish of green vegetables.

The soup was always the same - looking much like tomato soup, but having a unique and pleasing flavor. The recipe was a well-kept secret that was lost to present generations with the passing of George Dunlap.

Desserts and salads were the creation of Louise Dunlap. Bavarian Creme, Lemon Icebox Cake and Angel Food Supreme were standard desserts. Salads were made to order and consisted of green vegetables that were in season.

Yes, we ate at Joe's. There's a shark on the ceiling and the table help are also dancers. The girl with the butterfly wings was being hazed because it was her birthday.

We picked a lucky week to be in Sacramento. The local pro ball team, the River Cats, sponsored a series of concerts and fireworks.

My convention coverage is pretty sparse. The AYA maintained complete daily coverage on the organization's web site.

There were just over 100 Grummans at the convention, plus a couple of oddballs.

John Brouillette's Tiger is easy to spot with that paint job.

Ned Thomas flew this AG5B from Oklahoma. I wonder how smooth the engine is, with that 3-blade prop.

Larry Haas flew this AA1B from Kansas.

We can't ignore Ni Thomas (not related to Ned) with his usual passenger. He claims the chicken flew in that location, but nobody believes him.

Paint-em-yourself airplane models on the registration table.

The "jail cell" was part of a promotion to raise money for the AYA's scholarship fund. If you got "arrested," there were "fines" to pay.

Despite temperatures that topped 100 (38C) every day of the convention, some people chose to camp out. Looks like the camper with the tent on the left got here first.

Among our neighbors at this busy airport were a squadron of Coast Guard transports.

Tuesday's lunch was a catered buffet at the convention hotel, the Lions Gate.

Roscoe had some special prizes for the younger set:
Eric Peach won a Tiger,
Adam Rossi took home a Cougar, and
Cameron Aro won a Cheetah. He was later spotted showing it off in the hangar.

Our insurance man, Norris Hibbler, had a few awards of his own to present. Bob Arnold always wins the Oldest Pilot award, but he also got some well-deserved applause for long and dedicated service to the organization. Bruce Skaggs of Ft. Myers, Florida, claimed the longest-distance award, although a couple of New Englanders had actually flown farther than he did. This was corrected before the end of the convention.

The convention group spent an afternoon touring Old Sacramento, followed by a night out on the Delta King riverboat restaurant. The evening's entertainment was a murder mystery meal. After cocktails, we all got settled in, but our hosts got us up and walking around a few times. "Searching for clues."

Our hostess was Prudence. If anybody forgot her name, it was on a sign around her neck. She also reminded us, "you can call me Pru, but don't call me Dense." There was foul play afoot here - people were about to end up "dead." So Pru Dense recruited several pallbearers before the meal, supplying each with one rubber glove.

One of the actors played Anita Mann, who tried to pick up a couple of teenaged boys before being shot to death. The detective told her to put down her gun slowly. Or was it to put down her gum? Too bad she couldn't tell the difference.

To the great relief of contestants and judges alike (HOT, remember?), the broken towbar competition was held in the shade of the hangar. The competitors try to push a two-place Grumman backwards through a marked course in the shortest time.

After the mandatory safety briefing, we served as volunteers for the flour bombing contest. As the pilot flies over a well-marked target, the bombardier drops a small paper sack full of flour. The safest place for the judges is usually on the target. This year's winner only missed by about 16 feet (5 meters).

As usual, the convention ended with a banquet. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Leroy Chiao, astronaut and Tiger owner. He kept us spellbound with his stories and photos from space.

The day after the convention, we went to San Francisco and did all the standard tourist things there: cable cars, Lombard Street Hill, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, you name it. I also left the camera in the airplane. Nuts. You can find plenty of pictures of San Francisco on the web, so nothing's really lost. It's a great city for walking around. And after a week of temperatures in the 90s and low 100s, it was a relief to spend a little bit of time in a place where the daily high was mid-70s. They say it's easy to spot the tourists there - they're the ones wearing shorts and brand-new sweatshirts.

on to Lava Beds

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