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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Historical Tour of California

    A number of years ago, our daughters were in elementary school. One had just finished fourth grade here in CA, and the other was about to go into 4th. We decided to take our girls on a geographical and historical tour of the state, which would fit very well into their social studies curriculum during the year.

    Our first stop was in the Central Valley. As some of you know, that's the bread basket for our state. We drove slowly past some of the fields, and finally parked our rig near a river. We couldn't stay more than a day - the river attracted mosquitoes that drove our puppy crazy all night. It was also HOT and our rig had no A/C.

    The next stop was up at Shasta Lake. We were in search of a good beach, which we discovered could only be found if you took a boat out. We didn't have the budget to rent one, nor had we had any boating experience, so we moved on a couple of days early.

    Our next place was Lassen Volcanic. We were fairly lucky in that the road was open all the way through it. We stayed northwest, outside of the park, so that our puppy could stay in the campground while we were gone all day. We spent two days going through Lassen. Another day, the campground owners suggested going up to Burney Falls. We didn't quite make it - - we stopped at Hat Creek State Park and spent the day there instead. There were lava bed fields, and a lava cave that was just begging to be explored. Our children loved this, especially the younger one who loved hiking and climbing around.

    Our pop-up back in tow again, we headed down a very beautiful scenic byway to Truckee. There, at Truckee, we took the girls to Donner State Park. This was the site where the Donner Party, back in the mid-1800s trying to get to California, got stuck during the winter and had to resort to cannibalism. As we always do when we visit a park, we go to the Visitors Center and see the movie. The oldest child knew the story, and had figured out that Mom was up to something....school stuff during the summer! (Mom!!!!!!)

    The next day we headed down to the shores of Lake Tahoe, then over the pass and onto US 50. We ended up staying at a membership park (thanks to my parents) called Ghost Mountain Ranch. That was the central RV park for us, for the tour of the California Gold Country. We went to Sutter's Mill, the state park, down Old 49, and found a fruit stand that sold the biggest and tastiest peaches you ever saw. We also were able to take them to a pick-your-own berry patch. The girls liked it at first, then found that picking fruit was hard and hot work!

    From there we made our way over to Bishop. My husband wanted to see the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Back then, the Internet the way we know it was in its infancy, so we had to rely on information from our library to find out anything more about it than what he'd seen on a TV show. Also, AAA came through for us - it was listed in one of their books. We had no clue that we were going to be climbing to 10,000 ft elevation to get to the forest! Even back then, the road was paved up to the forest, but within the forest, it was all dirt road. We went to a couple of the groves, but decided that another grove, with a 13% grade DOWN (and then back up again to return) was not worth the wear and tear on our tow vehicle. (We got to the top of the hill, saw the downgrade and said, "nope!" OK, we're chicken.)

    At that point, my husband's vacation leave was up and we had to head home. We did so by going straight down US 395 to I-15. We stopped for lunch in Four Corners. I can say that the lunch stop was the reason that this was our last trip in the popup. We'd had to wait for a long time to find an open restaurant. Eight months later, we owned a 5th wheel.

    Later that summer, separate from our trip, I took the two girls up to San Juan Capistrano and to Mission San Luis Rey. Those are short day trips from our place.


    Donna

  2. #2

    Default Gold Country Memories

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    We went to Sutter's Mill, the state park, down Old 49, and found a fruit stand that sold the biggest and tastiest peaches you ever saw.
    I grew up in the area and remember those peaches very fondly. While I was in college, I paid for the tuition by working the graveyard shift at a factory that made Formica during the Summer. (As you can tell, this was back before tuition skyrocketed.) Often, my food for the night was a bag of those peaches.

    I can't find anything like them in Missouri, hard as I try.

    Anyway, thanks for the memories - sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I love Truckee and Tahoe. Depending on which route you took out of Tahoe, you may have passed by one of my favorite parts of the Gold Country - through Grass Valley and Nevada City. There's a wonderful back road cutting off to Grass Valley from Colfax off of I-80 that's a very pretty drive. It takes you right to the Empire Mine historic site and, from there, into Grass Valley.

    When I was younger, Grass Valley, like a lot of the U.P. of Michigan had retained quite a bit of its Cornish heritage and so Cornish pasties were readinly available around town. I imagine they still are. It also may be due to my golden-tinted memories, but I happen to think they blow the ones I tried up in the UP out of the water. Don't know if y'all would agree with me, but I think y'all can agree that it's worth checking if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Our routing past Lassen

    Leaving Lassen, we took CA 36/89 then just 89 past Lake Almador and lots of small towns before getting to I-80. I believe we stopped at Mill Creek for breakfast. We never went through Grass Valley.

    From Truckee, we took CA 287 to the route that goes along the western shore of Lake Tahoe, then on US 50 to Pollock Pines. We had to retrace some of our route to head for Bishop by taking US 50 again to CA 89 again over Monitor Pass. We hit a terrible traffic jam between Walker and Bridgeport due to an accident, so we got into Bishop rather late.

    Yes, I do keep journals of our trips, but that one was memorable for the great time we had with our girls.



    Donna

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Leaving Lassen, we took CA 36/89 then just 89 past Lake Almador and lots of small towns before getting to I-80. I believe we stopped at Mill Creek for breakfast. We never went through Grass Valley.
    I suggest it if you are ever back up there again. Nevada City and Grass Valley are a few miles apart. Grass Valley is very lived in and Nevada City very touristed up (but still pretty). Galena, IL sort of reminds me of Nevada City on a bigger scale.

    From Truckee, we took CA 287 to the route that goes along the western shore of Lake Tahoe, then on US 50 to Pollock Pines. We had to retrace some of our route to head for Bishop by taking US 50 again to CA 89 again over Monitor Pass. We hit a terrible traffic jam between Walker and Bridgeport due to an accident, so we got into Bishop rather late.
    That's a great ride up over Monitor. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

    All the best,
    Jon

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