Today, we descend the Sierra Nevada and head for the outskirts of the Californian capital of Sacramento, where we are meeting a friend of my son-in-law. He has offered to show us round the historic town of Folsom. It’s an early start as we attempt to get through the sections of contraflow before the traffic is too heavy. And it’s definitely a day for layering, as it’s minus 3 degrees as we depart Lake Tahoe and 17 degrees by the time we reach our destination two hours later, rising to 26 degrees by mid afternoon.
We meet our host who takes us on a walking tour of the old town, along Sutter Street – these buildings, dating from the 1850s, were once the hang out of gold prospectors and a stop on the pony express. The museums haven’t yet reopened post Covid, but it’s still an interesting place to take a wander round.
We stop at the top of the street for lunch at the Hacienda del Rio which does amazing Mexican food and even more amazing cocktails – I choose an orange sherberita (orange sherbert margarita) which is really good!
Then we walk back down Sutter Street to the Crystal Basin Station for some wine tasting of produce from the Crystal Basin Winery situated some 30 miles east in Apple Hill in the Sierra Nevada foothills. We select a white wine flight; a selection of really good wines, but she throws in some equally tasty rosé and some Pommie (sparkling pomegranate wine) too.
Full to the top with burritos, margaritas and wine, we take a drive across the Rainbow Bridge to Folsom Prison, California’s second oldest prison, made famous in a song by Johnny Cash. From here, you can access the Johnny Cash Trail (more inspirational than actual – the trail connects various places connected with the singer’s life. There are plans to install public art along together route).
We finish our tour off walking off our lunch at Folsom Lake, created by damming the American River, which flows down the Sierra Nevada. It’s very pretty and we also spot plenty of wildlife, including ground squirrels (I did even know they were a thing) and a coyote.
The remainder of the day is spent visiting our host’s toy store and then back to his home for a barbecue with his family.