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Posts Tagged ‘California’

We’ve been traveling the past two weekends and I haven’t had time to post anything here.  I notice my blog-buddies whose writings I follow also have been mostly silent over the past few weeks, so I don’t feel too badly.

Perhaps, like me, they have been off traveling.  In my case, it was all new territory the last weekend of June, as a roadtrip took us through amazing country in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, to hot springs on the Pit River, through Susanville and the Plumas National Forest, Lake Tahoe, Carson City, Virginia City, and the dusty, sage-filled deserts of the country south of Alturas.Then over the 4th of July, it was the old familiar, camping with friends on the South Fork of the John Day river near Dayville. 

It’s been a long time since I road-tripped with someone else– my meanderings over the last 10-15 years have mostly been solo endeavors.  So, these trips had their moments of tension and crisis that don’t happen when you’re alone.  And, as I get older, I wonder if it’s really worth it to cover, say, 700 miles in 4 days, or if I should just stick closer to home.  Traveling with a 13-year-old dog often inspire these questions more urgently.  But yesterday as I prepared to run some errands in town for a few hours, Joda hung close to the car, and when I attempted to get her into the house so I could leave, she snuck behind me and leapt into the passenger seat.  Even in her old age, she seems to have wanderlust!

Joda, on the way home from Nevada

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Stop #1 on our vacation trip,  about 2-1/2 hours away by plane, was an historic town in gold rush country.  Literally, the town consists of a California State Historic Park, and it includes commercial entities that must abide by rules of the historic district.  So the mercantile, bank, saloon, and hotel all conform to the appropriate time period (the prices on the wares sold inside are appropriate to modern times, however).Columbia airport

It was a good first stop, in part because it was so close, but also because the airport was so close to town; in fact, the two are connected by a “nature trail” (more on that later).  One thing about doing a “road trip” by airplane is that you have to consider your destination stops carefully.  Some really cool places have a landing strip but no airport, gas, or car.  Others have an airport but car rentals are either non-existent or prohibitively expensive.  On the other hand, some airports are either within walking distance of someplace you want to go, or there is a courtesy vehicle available for limited trips in the area, or there is a business owner or airport manager who is willing to give you a ride into town.  Doing a successful air trip means figuring all these things out, which is one reason I was so squirrelly for the first few days while Bo figured those things out– by finding a wi-fi signal and tapping away at his laptop, or having  conversations with airport employees or other pilots, or making phonecalls to various businesses or airport offices.img_1553

img_1563So, our first stop was a success.  We walked all around the park and had some great mexican food (outside the historic district), and figured out where to stay that night.  My favorite part, though, was the hill on the east side of town with the schoolhouse and the cemetary.  I felt like we were getting closer to a sense of the real history of the town.img_1565

My second favorite part was the boulders strewn about town.  At first I thought they were just strange.  Then I realized that the whole area has been subjected to placer mining, which in some places means that the ground has subsided 10 feet or more due to being washed away by high-pressure water flows.  Some of the boulders are tailings, remains of this highly destructive form of mining.  This was certainly the case with the scene along the “nature trail” between the airport and town.  And finally, my copy of The Roadside Geology of Northern & Central California informed me that much of the rock in that region is composed of limestone that is highly reactive with small amounts of acid, even the amount that is present in rainwater.  That’s the explanation for the oddly eroded shapes.

Note: all the photos in this blog are linked to my online photo album.  If you want to see larger images, or peruse the whole album, just click on the photo!

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