Summit (Seven)

(continued from 7/17, “Sacramento Summit”)

I had reached The Summit in Sacramento, but had no map, no address, and no phone number for my hotel. I had to laugh at myself for this gaping omission in my detailed plan. It wasn’t like the hotel was miles away. I could probably wander around awhile and find it eventually. But wandering with luggage in tow would not exactly be a relaxed, enjoyable stroll.

In the conference registration area was a table manned by the local STC chapter. Two Sacramento members sat ready to help hapless travelers like me with information about their city. Surely they would know right where I needed to go. Nope, they’d never heard of the Sterling Hotel!

The small map they had showed no indication of it either. But one of the members had an Internet-enabled phone. He found the Sterling’s address and was able to point me in the right direction. So I descended the Summit, escalator by escalator, to make my way back outside to J St.

That’s when I glimpsed a familiar face from my home chapter of STC, the Lone Star Community. Louellen Coker was headed for sightseeing at the Old Governor’s Mansion, in the same direction as my hotel. Like me, she had brought along her rather weighty camera. But I knew hers was state-of-the-art digital, because she’s known for her skill in manipulating digital photographs. I told her I’d catch up to her at the Mansion after I stowed my luggage at the Sterling.Sterling Hotel

And soon, there it was. The Sterling Hotel did not disappoint in its promise of 1890s charm. And the staff were welcoming even though I was too early for check-in. The receptionist was happy for me to leave my luggage with her until later when my room was ready. But by the time I rearranged items in my suitcase to trade my travel bag for the camera, she had decided to put me in another room that was ready. Even better!

My room was in a corner of the second floor. The Sterling seemed more like a really nice boarding house than a hotel. In fact, it had been built as the family home of “affluent, successful department store entrepreneurs.” I looked forward to it being a quiet place to sleep. Each room was different, but each room had a double-wide Jacuzzi tub, obviously part of the “21st century modern luxury” advertised as “intertwined” with the 19th century architectural charm. (

The tub tempted me to test that promise right then. But the day is still young and other adventures await.

I soon reached the Old Governor’s Mansion where I caught another glimpse of Louellen already on a tour. I also greeted another Lone Star member as she came out the front door of the mansion. Strange that the last time I saw Kay Walker was at last year’s STC Summit in Dallas, though we both live in the Fort Worth area.

Governor's MansionI bought a ticket for the next tour and waited for it to begin, while the sky turned dark again with rain that threatened my ability to take good pictures inside with available light. The sun came and went during my tour, and after developing, most of my exposures provided something I could work with in Photoshop to get decent digital images of that fascinating historical space.

So by 3:30 or so, I had accomplished the single sightseeing component of my Summit sojourn. But I still had not had lunch. The opening session of the conference would be at 5:30 with a reception (food) afterward. I decided to just have coffee and biscotti at Starbuck’s on the way to my hotel. Actually, that was the only option I could find. It seems that Sacramento restaurants are not open on Sunday. Who knew?

I returned to the Sterling to get ready for the evening. The Summit was about to officially begin!

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