S: Road Trip 2010: California Gold...Country!
FC: Road Trip October 2010: California Gold Country! | Road Trip October 2010: California Gold Country!
1: In October of 2010 I decided to travel to California's "Gold Country" for the perfect fall getaway. beautiful rolling golden hills, wine, history...it was like going back in time to 1850. | Buzzards! Dozens of them! | First Stop: the 1864 Knights Ferry Bridge, the longest covered bridge in California at 330'. Behind it the Locke Grist Mill, 1866. | 1857 Locke mill office | McHenry Mansion 1883, Modesto
2: After exploring Knight's Ferry and Locke Mill, I passed through what's left of Chinese Camp on my way to Jamestown and Highway 49. | Little remains of Chinese Camp, which was home to 5,000 Chinese by 1856.Post Office (1854, left) and Wells Fargo (1848).
3: On to Jamestown, established as a settlement in 1848. Here I connected with Hwy. 49 and wine country as well, especially a Modesto local, Apothic Red. Yummy! | Grapes waiting at Irish Family Vineyards | Jamestown Emporium 1897
4: Spent a few hours exploring the yards here. These engines are well known in Hollywood since 1919, starring in Westerns like High Noon, Petticoat Junction, Back to the Future 3, Wild, Wild West and Unforgiven
5: ADVENTURE! Spent a day at Moaning Caverns doing a zip line 40 mph down the mountain 1500'. Then I rappelled into the largest vertical room public cave in CA. I went down 165' alone into the cave large enough to fit the Statue of Liberty! What a RUSH! | Disclaimer: since two hands are required on these activities, no cameras are allowed. I "borrowed" some photos (the cave, and zip line to the right) so you can see what it was like! | I had to climb 234 steps on this iron spiral staircase with my climbing rig to get out!
6: Columbia State Historic Park, 1850. This town is truly locked in time. The only modern features are pavement and electricity. | Papeete Fire Engine 1859 | Wells Fargo Stagecoach Express, 1858 | Chinese Herbalist Shop, 1850s | Nelson's Candy Kitchen, here since 1890s | Johnson's Livery. Built in the 1990s for "The Young Riders" TV series, filmmakers donated it to the State Park at the end of use.
7: My first night was spent as the only guest at Harlan House B&B, built 1899. The lovely owner Sam and her four cats entertained me at breakfast. | After breakfast I strolled across the road to explore the old schoolhouse, built 1860.
8: Murphys Hotel, 1856.Mark Twain, John Jacob Astor, J.P. Morgan, and Ulysses S. Grant all slept here. You can see their signatures in the hotel registration books. But don't think the hotel is too refined. The iron doors that protect the saloon windows in front still sport bullet holes. | Always loved Ironstone wine, but a visit was a step back in history with replica gold equipment on the grounds, and this gem: the largest Crystalline Gold Leaf specimen in the world. Weighing forty-four pounds, it's 90% pure. | Lavender Ridge, awesome winery!
9: The next night was spent in Angel's Camp, 1848 | The next night was spent in Angel's Camp, 1848 | Lovely stay as the only guest at Cooper's House B&B, an early 1900's doctor's house. I went for a morning jog and found the remains of the Lightner Mine (1896-1915, total production $6 million) | Mercantile turned coffeehouse, 1860 | Lovely stay as the only guest at Cooper's House B&B, an early 1900's doctor's house. I went for a morning jog and found the remains of the Lightner Mine (1896-1915, total production $6 million)
10: Mines and Caves! Mercer Caverns, discovered in 1885, is famous for it's "snow algae," while Sutter Gold Mine offered a ride/walk into a real working gold mine. | Mines and Caves! Mercer Caverns, discovered in 1885, is famous for it's "snow algae," while Sutter Gold Mine offered a ride/walk into a real working gold mine.
11: Haunted Hotel Leger, Mokelumne Hill, 1851
12: Sutter Creek, 1854 I really loved this place with it's friendly, hometown feel, Knight Foundry (the last water-powered one in the US) and Monteverde Store, family owned from 1896-1971 and then frozen in time.
13: Amador City, another favorite spot | National Hotel in Jackson, 1852
14: Placerville (or"Hangtown") was the hub of the Mother Lode and county seat. It was the third largest city in CA when inc. in 1854. | My favorite spot: The Pearson Soda Works, built in 1859 over a defunct mine shaft as a ice house with 22" thick stone walls. Later a soda bottling plant was added with a water-powered dumb waiter. Now an awesome coffeehouse, the old tunnels into the hill house study tables
15: The Gold Bug Mine, c1900s, is a hand-dug hardrock mine | The Gold Bug Mine, c1900. This small hard rock hand-dug mine is not large, but you have to admire the 2 or 3 men who worked this claim and the Hendy Stamp mill.
16: Apple Hill outside Placerville boasts more than 50 ranches including fruit farms, Christmas trees, bakeries, farmers markets and wineries.
17: GOLD DISCOVERED! | January 24, 1848. The west is forever changed here at Sutter's Sawmill on the South Fork of the American River. Nearly overnight, the discovery of gold made this tiny Indian village of Coloma explode with 49ers. Although the mill is now a replica, many original building in Coloma still stand, including the blacksmith, Grange, Post Office, and Wah Hop's herbalist store...even most of the stone jail is there and on weekends it becomes a show of living history with a period-dressed community.
18: The Swan Levine B&B was built in 1867 and eventually became the county hospital. | My room was the second story turret window and was used as the surgery, hence the tiles, many windows, and bathroom scrub sinks! | The owners are artists, so it has a funky edgy vibe. And cats! | GRASS VALLEY, 1848
19: The Empire Mine is the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. From 1850 to its closing in 1956, it produced 5.8 million ounces of gold. The grounds, which were a showplace in the mining world, include not only the mine buildings but also the residences of the mine owner, William Bourn. The formal gardens alone cover 13 acres. | The Empire Mine
20: The largest bellows I've ever seen | A manskip for 20 men ready to descend. | Mine machine shop | The Empire Mine | WELCOME TO THE SHAFT | It's hard to tell here, but this seemingly bottomless shaft descends at a 45 degree angle!
21: Nevada City, 1849 | One of the oldest settlements in the Mother Lode, Nevada City was not only where the famed Pelton Wheel was invented but also where PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric, still ruling California) was established. I just know they have awesome wines and an interesting cemetery! | The Pelton Wheel | Oldest building left in Nevada City, the Assay Office, 1855
22: Bridgeport Bridge, 1862. The longest single-span covered bridge in the world! And on my long and winding way from Nevada City, I found this Pony Express station from 1853!
23: The Northstar Mine Powerhouse sits along rushing Wolf Creek. Built in 1895 to house a 30-foot Pelton wheel, the largest Pelton in the world at the time. Now a museum, the building enjoys a picturesque park setting in Grass Valley
24: Auburn, 1849. The majestic county courthouse (1894) sits on a hill above town, while the beautiful Baumbach winery (1874) was my all time favorite wine! I even helped crush grapes.
25: Northstar Mine Powerhouse, 1895 | Northstar Mine Powerhouse, 1895