The bus trip from Las Vegas to Bakersfield was fairly ordinary. I had some lebensraum in the back row of the bus until we hit Barstow. While there I grabbed some lunch from a Panda Express: chicken egg rolls, eggplant tofu, and way more chow mein than I cared to eat.
After Barstow I shared my trio of seats in the rear with a young couple. While closer to the front some selfish old wimmin' hogged the table seats.
At Bakersfield I traded in the bus for a shiny locomotive, and a solo seat all to myself at the frontmost passenger car. Feeling parched I scored the first adult beverage served, and savored my gin and tonic as the queue for food and drink quickly lengthened.
Four hours later I arrived into the bustle of Stockton station, a hub for many buses offering connections across the San Joaquin valley, including my schedule to Sacramento. This bus too filled up but I was able to enjoy some space all the way in the back.
It was coming on ten o’clock in the evening by the time I was able to check into a room at the Holiday Inn Sacramento-Capitol Plaza. I hadn’t eaten since Barstow and was eager to seek out a meal. And I found that meal a half-mile east at Pizza Rock.
Once seated I ordered a Sacramento, one of Pizza Rock’s Classic American pizzas featuring a hand-crushed tomato sauce on a rustic medium-thick crust, baked in a gas-fueled brick oven. For toppings the Sacramento offered mozzarella, pepperoni, Molinari salami, bacon, Italian sausage, mushroom, red onion, bell pepper, black olive, and cherry tomatoes.
What was laid before me was a topping Goliath, with a thick, gluteny rind. The Italian sausage was tender, well seasoned; vegetables were crisp. Overall a superior build and a fun pie to dig in to.
After a quick caffeine fix at nearby Broadacre Coffee, I gave away the leftovers of my delightful pizza to a grateful passerby. Wandering down J St., some signage on a side street brought to a bar. Not a trendy nightclub, but an actual bar. Move even to be considered a dive. I settled in with a Jim Beam, grateful to find a watering hole worth revisiting. A gaggle of hipsters dislodged me from my reverie.
Shuffling back out into the night I decided it was time to retire to my hotel room before I did something regrettable, like embracing Scientology, or soiling my pants.