Road trip!

The Pacific Northwest.

Oregon. Washington. British Columbia. Sacramento?

I’ve spent the last week and a half driving north from our fair hamlet. But even as I leave Sacramento in my rear view, the city has been on my mind frequently.

It began, as my trip did, at High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy over Fourth of July weekend. I watched a parade of bands whom I’d recently seen perform in Sacramento: Zach Deputy, Chris Robinson (twice), Yonder Mountain String Band, Animal Liberation Orchestra, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers (twice), Tim Bluhm, Dawes (Davis, but still), Orgone (twice), the Nibblers (86 times) and couldn’t help but be struck by what a great music town Sacramento has become.

How blessed we are to have such wonderful venues like Harlow’s and Marilyn’s and Old Ironsides.

The highlight of the festival for me was my Friday-afternoon run of the Pimps of Joytime, then Zach Deputy, then Delta Spirit, then My Morning Jacket, then Dr. Dog late night, then Silent Frisco, then Dawn Kickball.

The first five names on the list are bands, each and every one of whom was phenomenal, with MMJ being “mind-blowing” and Dr. D “life-changing.”

Silent Frisco was a dance party on a lawn that started at 3 a.m. and featured several deejays and several hundred pairs of earphones. If you weren’t wearing the earphones, you weren’t hearing the music. With the headphones on, it was a legitimately amazing pre-dawn dance party. Without them on, the spectacle was absolutely ludicrous.

And that was before Dawn Kickball started.

Kickball, at dawn, on the same lawn as Silent Frisco.

The deejay booth and main “dance lawn” were in center field, and more than once an unsuspecting dance partier was knocked ass-over-teakettle by a scorched line drive off the foot of a cackling wook.

More than once this dance partier attempted to make a play on the ball only to take a tumble and end up on his keister.

We all fall down; it’s about how you handle yourself once you’re down there. I turtled it up and kept dancing on my back; I think I handled myself pretty well.

Sacramento was also thrust upon me when I arrived in Chico and found myself at Madison Bear Garden. I sidled up to the bar, ordered a Sierra (natch) and found myself directly beneath a poster for Fanny Ann’s Saloon in Old Sac.

I can see why, the Bear is like Fanny’s on PEDs.

I was also invited to smoke a bowl with a street kid, something that has also happened to me while walking the streets of Midtown.

In Eugene, I was asked if I had “any part of 78 cents.” I was once asked the same question (different denomination) out front of the Safeway on 19th Street.

Portland was next. Where young people go to retire, and I go to be reminded of Sacramento. The rivers, the bridges, the bookstores, the microbrews, the handlebar mustaches, the basketball arena, the bicycles—they were all reminiscent of the City of Trees.

Well, maybe not the basketball arena, but the rest.

Even the giant street-food pods featuring eats from every corner of the world reminded me of Sacramento, the Sacramento that could, and should, be.

And, that Sacramento has a couple distinct advantages over its brethren to the north: less rain and way, way fewer hippies.

Put a bird on that.