Back Road to Sacramento: Breakfast, Farm Stands, and Art

Road Journals Blog—When you live in the immediate Bay Area, as I do, you can easily develop a severe case "backyard vision"—being so into things to do nearby that you forget the great stuff that lies just beyond. Like in and around Sacramento.

A group of us from Oakland and San Francisco recently decided to visit Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum to see an exhibit of ceramics made by a top American potter, who happens to be a friend of a friend. Only, we didn't want to speed there on Interstate 80, see the show, and then speed back. We wanted a little road adventure.


Putah Creek Cafe, biscuits and gravy, imge

A plate of biscuits and gravy at Putah Creek Cafe will last you all day. | Putah Creek Cafe

We started out on Sunday, around 9 a.m., but the fun really began when we veered off I-80 and onto Interstate 505. I love this highway, which runs along farmland stretching west to the mountains forming one side of the Capay Valley. And only one hour from my front door.

Hopping off I-505 at the exit for Winters, whose historic core has the look and feel of a classic American small town, we made a quick stop to buy corn and peaches in an old barn (just to the right as you exit) before heading to one of my favorite breakfast spots in Northern California, the Putah Creek Cafe. After plates of fluffy biscuits, eggs, spicy house-made sausage, and gravy, washed down with multiple cups of strong coffee, we were fortified.

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, image

The old and new wings of the Crocker coexist peacefully. | Brian Suhr

Using country roads, we cut east across Davis, passing many farm stands—including Impossible Acres—hooked up again with I-80, and in 15 minutes were at the Crocker. The ceramics were terrific, as was the museum's new, light-filled wing that we happily wandered for an hour.

Before leaving, I splurged on a $5 work of art from an old cigarette vending machine—a Barcode Ozzy Osbourne flip book, made by artist Scott Blake entirely of barcodes from the heavy metal performer's CDs. Great souvenir of our Sacto road trip. And, I have to say, I've never seen a machine like that in San Francisco.

What are your favorite back-road routes?

This blog post was first published in July 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.


Love your Barcode Ozzy Flipbook, Scott. Can't wait to scan and hear a song. Thanks.

Thanks for showing an interest in my Barcode Ozzy Flipbook. You can scan the barcodes and it will play a song from that CD. Watch video on my website.

There is also an ART-O-MAT machine in San Francisco at the Rayko Photo Center on 428 3rd Street.