Courageous Travels: Sacramento, California

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Day 1

Good Evening Courageous Travelers,
Excitedly the Sacramento travel team, Emma, Treva and Ashley met me at Camp Courageous.  We set out for Davenport where we were met by Mary Ellen and Dawn. They were introduced to the group and after paperwork, bag weighting, and some good byes to staff they loaded the bus. We were ahead of schedule as we headed to McDonald’s in Coralville where we were joined by Tanna, Becky, John and Brent. Everyone was excited for the trip.
We had a bathroom break and we were back on the road. Our next stop was Marion SuperWalmart. Chris and Pan met us there. They handed over their luggage, we checked for ID’s and counted money, signed the paperwork and loaded the bus, Camp Courageous bound. We arrived about 8pm and we were joined by Katie and Ron.
We checked into Pitlik cabin. Everyone claimed their bed and got ready to sleep. Teeth were brushed, meds taken, extra blankets passed out for the ones who thought they might get cold. One by one the Travelers dozed off with visions of California in their heads.
~The Courageous Travel Team


Day 2

Good Evening Courageous Travelers,

Our Travelers woke ready for the day to begin. Everyone was ready to go almost 30 minutes before schedule. Rolando brought the bus and loaded the luggage and the wheel chairs onto Henry. At a little after 7am the Travelers and their companions boarded the bus excited for this new adventure.

As we were traveling they had a breakfast of bananas, apples, cereal bars and juice. Everyone enjoyed their breakfast on the go, knowing it was getting them to the airport all the sooner. Rolo safely drove the group to Des Moines International airport, with only one restroom break we arrived about 20 minutes before check in.

Seeing our group, the Airport staff came and assisted us with the luggage and our travelers who needed wheelchairs. We were able to check in quickly because we pre checked in the day before. Everyone was checked in and our luggage was sent away to wherever luggage goes before we magically find it on the circle belt in baggage claim.

We easily went through security. Everyone was cleared, well we had a few who I think would be questionable (cough*Intern Emma*cough), but TSA cleared them anyway. We quickly found our gate and decided to get some cold sandwiches to take on the plane for lunch.

Pre-boarding began and we were all situated pretty quickly and easily. Tanna, Katie and Becky sat together talking about all the trips they were on and the future trips they want to or will be going on. This was Ron’s first flight and he was a little nervous but after take off he did just fine.

Dawn and Mary Ellen looked out the window and liked the valleys, mountains, desert and even saw snow on the mountain tops. Pan, Brent and John napped on the flight. Chris couldn’t nap, he was too excited to see Sacramento.

We had a layover in the Las Vegas airport. We spent our layover charging our electronics and visiting about what we are going to do tomorrow. Most of the travelers saw a Wendy’s on the way to our gate and decided they wanted to eat dinner there. Ron and John decided they would rather have Popeyes chicken. Everyone ate their meal and used the restroom just in time to board the plane.

We took a short trip to Burbank, but didnt leave the plane. Then it was back in the air for Sacramento, CA. During our short flight to Sacramento we met several people who lived in the area and gave us great local advice. We landed safely and headed to baggage claim. After collecting our bags we checked in to the shuttle and were on our way to the hotel. We checked in and got settled into our rooms. Everyone was ready to just relax after a full day of travel.

Stay tuned for exciting events from tomorrow’s blog of exploring Old Sacramento!

~The Courageous Travels Team

Day 3

Good Evening Courageous Travelers,
The travelers woke ready for the day about 8am. It was great to sleep in a little after such a long day of travel. Each group came to the hotel dining room and had a breakfast of cheese omelets, sausage, waffles, cereal, toast, yogurt, fresh fruit and various juices, coffee and tea. Each group took their time eating and checking out the hotel.
When everyone was ready for the day we set out for our walk to the Old Sacramento area. We only had to walk just less than a mile. The walk was on a nice paved walking/jogging/bike path called Sacramento Riverfront Trail. It was a nice easy walk. Just about half way we had a great little stopping point. A nice area called Matsui Waterfront Park. We stopped for a couple photo ops and were back on the trail. After a short walk we arrived at Old Sacramento. Our first visit was the Sacramento visitors center. We each got maps of Old Sacramento and heard some history of the area. Next door was the next stop. The Wells Fargo History Museum was small but Martha gave everyone a short history lesson about Wells Fargo and then gave everyone a scavenger hunt item to find in the room. Once they found the item she told the group why it was a significant item and gave everyone a prize. Each traveler received a pencil, a sticker, a post card and a small penny bank of a stage coach. Everyone thanked Martha and we were on our way to lunch.
We stopped at the River City Saloon. We learned the history and restoration of the building, had great food and had a .25 cent draw of Sasperillo. The group was split about like and dislike for the drink. The decor of the place was as close to the original bar as possible. Everyone enjoyed the old piano and pictures. After everyone drank, or didnt drink, their Sasperillo we walked a few blocks and visited the Sacramento History Museum.
There we looked at farm machinery and mining practices used during the gold rush. Each traveler filled out a paper quiz about the 49’ers and as a reward got to pan for gold. Almost everyone who wanted to pan found some sort of sparkling shinny piece of rock. Is it gold? Is it fool’s gold? Who cares, it’s pretty to us. We panned for gold until it was time to go to the Railroad Museum. We watched a short movie about the four men who played a big part in getting the railroad from the mid west to California. We then saw some amazing toy trains from the first to some of the newest. We went to the bottom floor where we were met by some of the biggest and most ornate trains ever built. We got to tour inside a sleeper car, a dining car and even a mail car. The group was in awe of the slick electric train on display. After all the trains had been explored we all headed to the gift shop where we shopped until the shop closed.
We then walked the trail back and stopped on our way at an authentic Mexican restaurant called Nena’s. Here we met Katie’s cousin and her husband who live in the area. They joined us for dinner and visited with the travelers and Katie. The food was delicious,  the atmosphere was great and the service was beyond excellent. Our waiter made each traveler feel like they were the only customer in the place. As we were leaving he told me it was his pleasure to wait on us and said he was grateful for everyone being so patient.  We returned to the hotel room and everyone relaxed, cleaned up and went to bed. Tomorrow is a busy day so it’s early to bed for the travelers.  
More tomorrow……..
~The Courageous Travel Team


Day 4

Hello Courageous Travels!

We are in the middle of our wonderful weeklong trip to sacramento. Our day started out with breakfast in our hotel before we headed to the California history museum. To get there, we used to different exciting ways of travel, traveler Katie and Intern Emma decided try out the Sacramento Regional Transit system on a bus. All of the buses in Sacramento are accessible and have fold out ramps. This made it really easy to get around. While Katie and Emma were on the bus, the rest of the group tried out something totally new for Courageous Travels, Uber! It went smoothly and was an inexpensive and efficient option to get our group to where we were going.

Once we all met up at the California History Museum, Charlotte had called ahead and arranged for us to be able to get in an hour ahead of when they normally visitors in. This was perfect for our group because the first exhibit had all sorts of interactive games and activities about healthy lifestyles and decision making, and we had the whole place to ourselves for all of the travelers to try out each of the machines. Once we had explored everything in the Health Happens Here exhibit, we continued on through the rest of the museum. We learned about early insects, reptiles and mammals in California. There was also an exhibit on Dia De los Muertos. There were many different art pieces by multiple artists from sugar skulls, to altars for the dead, to paintings of the dead. It was a great way to learn about the Mexican culture surrounding Dia de los Muertos. From there we journeyed into an exhibit about Sikhism and the people who are apart of the religion. This exhibit was made up of portraits of Sikh people in turbans and patkas, and featured people from all walks of life. Athletes, artists, business professionals, a man who rides motor cycles, martial artists, and more. Each portrait had one or two paragraphs about the individual depicted and their life.

After we viewed all of the exhibits on the first floor, we headed to the second floor to see what else we could learn. The second floor was filled with Californian women throughout history and their contributions to California, America and the world. From fashion designers to Sally ride, each women had major impact in their field. The travelers loved seeing all of the things Californian women have done! On our way out of the museum, we had to stop at the gift shop. Many travelers found souvenirs to remind them of their visit to the California history museum.

We spent so much time at the museum, that when we were ready to go, it was time for lunch. Chris remembered that on the ride to the museum we had passed a subway, so we set off to find it. When we got to the subway, each traveler ordered their sandwich, chips, and a drink, and sat down to enjoy their meal. This was a good time to rest up before walking to the Leland Stanford Mansion, our next stop.

The Leland Stanford Mansion was owned by Leland Stanford and his wife Jane Lathrop Stanford who lived their with their son, Leland Stanford Jr. After Leland Jr. and Leland Sr. passed away, Jane decided that such a big house should be put to better use, and gave it to the catholic nuns who had taken care of her son before he passed. The Nuns turned the mansion into an orphanage for girls and operated it as such from the late 1800s until 1986, when they turned the property over to the state, who operates it primarily as a museum today. When we walked up to the mansion, the travelers were all excited to see such a large beautiful house. Our tour guide, Megan, took us through many of the mansion’s 33 rooms. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside, but we were able to take some group pictures on the grounds and on the front steps of the house.

From the mansion, we headed to the state capitol.  At the capitol, we met up with Kristina, who used to work at Camp Courageous from 2013-2015 and has since moved to the Sacramento area. Some of the travelers already knew her, so it was a great surprise for her to meet us and be able to visit while we toured. On our tour we learned about the state legislature and their voting systems, and we viewed the portraits of recent California Governors including Arnold Schwarzenegger. We learned about the history and context of some of the art placed through the capitol as well. Many of the travelers asked our tour guide some good questions. Once we had all our questions answered, we headed out side for yet another group photo opportunity, and said goodbye to Kristina.

Most of the travelers and volunteers were hungry at this point, and it was close to dinner time, so we headed to our next destination—House Kitchen and Bar. When we got seated, they got our drink and food orders as soon as we were ready. We ordered some bottomless fries for the table, and it did not take long for them to get eaten. Our meals arrived soon after, and everyone was very satisfied. Some travelers got pasta, sandwiches, or entrees, but no matter what they ordered, everyone left satisfied.

Dinner was over, so we headed to the Golden 1 arena for the Sacramento Kings basketball game! The arena is only two years old and very nice. The arena staff helped us get our tickets and find our seats with plenty of time before the game started. The Kings played a good game and everyone said that it was their favorite part of the day. Ron, Tanna, Pan, Mary Ellen, and Brent all got into the dancing other activities for the fans to participate in throughout the game. Everyone enjoyed sitting and watching the game, and were sad to see the Kings lose by just a few points at the end. After the game was over, we let the crowds clear out and looked at the team store quickly before getting ready to head back to our hotel. Since Uber worked so well this morning, we decided to use it again tonight. This time everyone got to ride in one of three Ubers. Emma’s group got picked up by a Cadillac! All of the drivers were helpful and got us back to our hotel very quickly. By the time everyone got back, it was around 10:30 and we were all tired. Everyone got ready to bed excited for another day exploring Old Sac.

Until next time,

The Travel Team


Day 5

Good Evening Courageous Travelers,

Hello from beautiful warm Sacramento, California. The travelers woke rested from a great nights sleep. The day started with a great hotel breakfast. Everyone had their fill of their favorites and relaxed in the lobby of the hotel visiting with their travel friends. We were joined again by Katie cousin Michelle who lives in this area. She and Katie had not seen each other for about 8 years so it was nice to see them reunited. Michelle planned to spend the day with the group.

We set out for Old Sacramento. We visited this area on Monday, but there was just so much to see we needed another day. The travelers were excited to spend another day in this area. On Monday we focused on the museums, today it was all about shopping, eating and playing. We again walked on the great bike/walking path along the river to the Old Sac area. The trail is less than a mile and didn’t take long to get there. We got there  just as the stores and shops were starting to open. We made a plan to split into smaller groups to shop and meet up to eat lunch. The ladies went one direction and the men went the other.

Each group met up at the Corner Sports Bar for lunch. Each group visited about the items they found to purchase. The ladies visited a store that sold socks, they each picked some unique socks that fit each personality. Katie got some long pink socks that had the word “sassy” , Becky got socks with Pokemon on them. They found some t-shirts for family, friends or themselves, Mary Ellen got a shirt that said Sacramento on it for herself and a mermaid doll. Then the ladies visited the candy store, then another candy store, then a chocolate store then the donut shop. It was really all about the candy for the ladies.

Tanna found some gift items for her family and a t-shirt for herself. Dawn got some socks from the first shop and liked the candy shops. The men were more interested in items that were more from the area. John got a t-shirt from almost each shop he visited. Pan was looking for a gift for his friend but he told his Travel Companion that he had a limit of $5.00. When his companion told him it was going to be hard to find something nice for that price he laughed and said, “I know, I’m cheap.” He was able to find a nice gift and stayed in his budget. Ron got a t-shirt, ball cap and a sheriff’s badge. Chris got a clock at a special store. Brent found a magnetic map puzzle in a store and began putting the pieces (states) exactly where they needed to be.

The group ate their meals when the food arrived. When the group was finished it was time to go to the boat. Before the group left  Katie’s cousin Michelle, the Travel Companions, Ashley and Treva along with Emma and myself, placed pretend mustaches on, that were each a different style from the old west, Wrangler, Sheriff, outlaw, cowboy, farmer just to name a few. We each wore our mustaches as we walked and boarded the boat for our river tour. As we boarded the boat the travelers were al giggling as they tried to pretend nothing was different. The Boat captain and the first mate laughed and even chose the last 2 mustaches for themselves. The travelers laughed and the captain agreed to take a picture with the group, wearing his mustache. The travelers thanked him for the picture. The first mate, Jeff met us at the door and escorted us safely onto the boat. Everyone found a window seat where they all could see the shore. As we traveled down the river the captain pointed out several points of interest. We got to see the river side of the Matsui water treatment area. We were told how this plant has created a much healthier water for the residents in this area. He pointed out a dilapidated boat in the water. The owner had the boat and it took on water but his bilge pumps were able to keep the water out that time. One day the electricity went out and his boat filled with water and sank. At the time there was no way of getting the boat out, so they just left it there. It is now a habitat for the wildlife in the area. I think the highlight of the trip was watching a sea lion peaking out of the water to say “Hi” to our travelers.

When the boat ride was over the group had a decision to make. Go play on the beach, which we saw from the boat tour or to stay and keep exploring Old Sac. All the travelers chose to  stay and explore more except Brent. His Travel Companion told Ron they could wake a little early and go to the beach in the morning. Brent was ok with this compromise and agreed to stay and explore. We agreed to meet at 4:30pm to head back to the hotel. Each group continued to shop, eat samples of candies, eat warm mini donuts coated in warm glaze. When the group was ready to meet we headed back to the hotel. Everyone put their treasures into their rooms and met in the lobby. We decided to have a big pizza party in the lobby. They each got a flavor they would enjoy. Ashely, Becky, Tanna and Dawn all played the Polar Express Monopoly game Becky got the day before. Katie said goodbye to her cousin and then went to her room. Mary Ellen chose to rest in her room as well. Chris was checking the weather for the trip home, making sure everyone knew it was going to be cold when we returned home. Ron, Pan and John visited in the lobby while Brent read a book as they all waited for the pizza to arrive. Once the pizza arrived everyone dug in eating their favorite first then sampling other flavors also. The group cleaned up the eating area and then went to their rooms to start packing for the trip home. The group agreed that early to bed was the best.

We will see you soon, goodbye sunny warm, welcome cold, snowy, windy Iowa tomorrow!

Day 6


4 Responses

  1. Tammy says:

    Where’s the pictures!!!!

  2. Rolando Morales says:

    Hi Tammy!

    We are working on adding some pictures to the blog right now! You can also view all of the pictures from this trip on our Courageous Travels Facebook page. We have an album for each of our trips.

  3. leanne mayhew says:

    glad you are having a good time

  4. Rolando Morales says:

    It was a great time! Thanks Leanne!