Go See the Baby Giraffe Before He Grows UP!

The latest edition to the Sacramento Zoo tower of giraffes is a baby boy Masai giraffe. He was born on April 11, 2016 and is growing up quickly. Today was the first day we could get there and we decided to go early to beat the heat. The zoo opens at 9:00 a.m. on weekdays.

IMG_0372My daughter is expecting my first grandchild so I bought a family membership to save money and support the zoo. At this hour the animals are eating, often behind the main exhibit. By the time we finished touring around we could see the lions sunning themselves and other animals a bit more active.

IMG_0366Of course the baby giraffe was the main draw and he was dining on leaves (and going poop at top). The second photo shows a size comparison with a young adult giraffe. The video below shows the little prince just a few days after his birthday.

 

 

 

Finding Sunflowers in Yolo County

Do you love fields of sunflowers to photograph or to admire? Well you are sure to find satisfaction on your Sunday drive if you first consult the blog at VisitYolo.com. They update the Yolo Sunflower Map weekly.

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If you see fields that are not listed, contact them so they can share your sightings with other sunflower enthusiasts.

VisitYolo’s website has a wealth of information about the attractions of places in Yolo including Winters, Davis and Woodland.

Enjoying a Little Bit of Vietnam

My friend Anita and I were planning to meet up for lunch and she suggested that first wo go to the Happy Day Spa for a full foot massage.

20160530_141731I was not sure what to expect. They accept walk ins but Anita made reservations. We waited a few minutes and then we were escorted into a softly lit room with two long rows of cushy spa beds (like those sometimes uses for pedicures or facials). We sat down and removed our shoes. You keep your clothes on, but for the best experience where loose, comfy clothing. The spa attendant put our feet in warm water (so use the restroom before you start, haha).  The “foot massage” is actually a scalp, neck, arm and leg and foot massage. It is incredibly relaxing. It was just $25 for a full hour so I gave a generous tip.

Then we walked around the corner to the Vietnamese restaurant in the adjacent strip mall. Our expectations rose for the authenticity of the food at Bon Mua when we realized we were among the few non-Vietnamese people in the restaurant. The food was delicious. We enjoyed a great conversation about our mutual mentor the late Pearlie Reed, and ate till we were full.

Anita suggested that next time we save room to go to Vampire Penguin for shaved ice cream. Yum. Could have been a trifecta.

 

Bike Party! Sacramento

I tried out the monthly ride with Bike Party Sacramento tonight. While I did not last the distance–we were riding so close to my house and it was already 10 p.m.–I peeled out early. I did enjoy riding through the Sacramento streets at night. We created a parade of lights. The theme was Good Vibrations Beach Party and most people dressed the part.

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The ride is well organized and includes a trash trailer so you won’t be tempted to litter.

It was 104 degrees this afternoon so while we met up at Suzie’s Burgers on P Street at 7:00 p.m., we did not leave until almost 8:30 p.m. Lots of people bought the $2 beer and enjoyed burgers before heading out en masse.

There was over 200 people at the start and we seemed to grow as we rode. The rules are fairly simple: stop for red lights, no littering, and have fun. The organizers bring trash cans and provide extra traffic guidance for larger intersections.There is a tremendous diversity in bicycles and riders. There are low riders with boom boxes, few fancy road bikes, mostly colorful cruisers; there are tandems and at least one bike with fat tires.

20160603_213454We rode for 1.5 hours before the first stop at Sutter’s Landing Regional Park. A DJ played music and some people danced. Most people gathered in small groups and chatted, catching their breath before taking off for the next stop. The plan was to ride 15 miles total. There was at least one more stop before returning to Suzie’s.

Bike Party Sacramento ride the first Friday of every month. They have a page on Facebook to announce the starting point of the next ride. If you do join the fun be ready to shout “Bike party!” every so often as it will increase your overall enjoyment.

There is also a Davis Bike Party that rides every 4th Friday. People I met at Suzie’s said there is a Bike Party San Jose that attracts 2,000 cyclists!

Amgen Tour of California Returns to Delta

Tour of California is one of the best professional road races in the USA. It is a competition for both men and women and is attracting world class teams.

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Peter Sagan won the World Championship Road Race since winning Tour of California 2015. Will he be back to defend his title?

This year the race will start in Southern California and then conclude in Northern California. Stage 5 will start in Lodi. The final stage (8) will be in Sacramento.

 

“May 19, 2016 – Men’s Stage 5

Stage 5 will usher riders from the beautiful vineyards of Lodi to a long gradual ascent to an uphill finish in South Lake Tahoe, reaching a peak elevation of 8,600 feet – the highest in race history. The ride, essentially a 130-mile climb that gains in elevation from 50 feet to 6,650 at the finish, will showcase California’s diversity, from the rich soil of the Central Valley to the mighty peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.”

The VIP hours for the start are 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. If you want to view from the street downtown–plan for breakfast and watching the controlled start. They will be out of town after a few minutes. You can sometimes see your favorite riders and get autographs outside their team bus.

“May 22, 2016 – Men’s Stage 8

The capital city of California has hosted the Amgen Tour of California Overall Start for the past two years as well as individual stage finishes; 2016 will bring its first Overall Finish. This sports-crazed city is thriving with a new stadium under construction and several national sporting events taking place throughout the year.

The course will travel along the Sacramento River and cross Tower Bridge twice before returning downtown where fans will anxiously wait along the traditional finish circuits around the Capitol building.

Last year was the closest men’s race finish ever with general classification champion Peter Sagan winning by a mere 3 seconds after earning an intermediate sprint time bonus and bonus seconds on the final stage sprint. What excitement will this year’s final race day hold?”

“May 22, 2016 – Women’s Stage 4

The overall champion will be decided after 20 laps of a downtown Sacramento circuit on wide, fast roads. Fans can expect shakeups until the very end — last year, Sacramento saw a thrilling women’s finish when Trixi Worrack’s (GER) general classification win came down to sprint time bonuses and the final sprint for the stage.”

The festival is usually staged on 10th Street in front of the Capitol. The streets around the capitol will be blocked off most of the day. Ride your bike downtown and enjoy a fun Sunday outing. Watch the women’s circuit race and then watch the final laps of the men’s race. Final prize presentations follow shortly after each finish.

I am hoping Peter Sagan returns to defend his title. He is one of the most exciting professional riders in the world. Watch as he avoids a crash on the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix 2016. He’s the cyclist in white on the right who also avoided a spectator on the grass! Mad bike skills.

 

Gem of a Library: Ella K. McClatchy

20160413_174824I only just discovered Sacramento’s hidden gem in the Ella K. McClatchy Library. The Sacramento Public library system hosted a booth at the Midtown Farmers Market and handed out the cards with a list of libraries and their hours. (This is important since the hours have been crazy for some time.)

In the Delta there are some lovely libraries. The Clarksburg library in Yolo County is my favorite. The Walnut Grove library is also fine community resource. I have yet to visit the Isleton library at the Elementary School.

When I heard about the Ella K. McClatchy library at 2112-22nd Street on Poverty Hill, I was intrigued and made plans to visit.

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The children’s section is very inviting. Family Storytime is every Tuesday from 10-10:30.

I cycled over on a Wednesday and discovered a jewel of a library in an circa 1900 home. I picked up a calendar and discovered a knitting circle and a Jane Austen Reading Group. Both are held in an upstairs bedroom converted to a parlour. The calendar also lists a Tolkein Book Club, Lego Mania! (for children), and Shakespeare Sonnet Reading.

You might wonder what relevance a library has in today’s high tech world. It is a meeting place, a source of free books, dvds and books on tape, and a place to use the computer. The best communities have well-resourced libraries. The Ella K. McClatchy library is worth seeking out.

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Knowing library hours are critical: http://www.saclibraryorg for a complete listing.

In Search of Pie on Pi(e) Day

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Happy Pi(e) day with a homemade chicken pot pie.

There are plenty of silly holidays and some may say Pi(e) Day is one of them. I take pie seriously. I brake for pie. I bake pies. I love pie. So I am happy to make a fuss over 3.14 (March 14). Of course you could look at this only as a mathematician might: 3.14159265… and on into infinity. It is a terrific number as numbers go. But even a mathematician needs to eat.

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Nido is in the original Magpie location on R Street between 14th and 15th Streets.

I had a meeting in West Sacramento today so I was limited to finding pie within the Sacramento environs. I went on Yelp and searched “pie”. The most promising entry was for Nido, which is one of the restaurants in the Magpie family. They have a daily menu so I thought if anyone will get into Pi(e) day, this was a safe bet.

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Handheld apple pie at Nido made with a butter crust.

Nido disappointed as they had only a handheld apple pie. It was fine as such oversized pop tarts go, but it was not a real meat pie or a real fruit pie. Heck, we would have celebrated with chocolate cream pie! Or we could have gone to Esquire Grill or Frank Fats and had banana cream pie.

I began to realize that there is a pie deficit in Sacramento. There are many fine chocolatiers in Sacramento, with Ginger Elizabeth leading the way. There is a rebalance in the cupcake establishments with the new Icing on the Cupcake at 18th and J. Cake in general is well represented between Freeport Bakery and Rick’s Diner. Who does pie proud in Sacramento? Or in the greater Delta? Would love your recommendations.

20160313_185105Just to be on the safe side, I made a chicken pot pie and an apple pie on Sunday so I would have homemade pies for today. A good meat pie is also underrated. It is great for using up veggies and leftover chicken. And there is nothing like apple pie for breakfast. Good thing Pi(e) Day is only one day a year!