Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gold mining, Train Memorabilia, and Beautiful Country

We added a day to our Yosemite visit, as we were unhooked from the moho, we headed to Jamestown, CA, via  Chinese Camp and ended up at the Railtown 1897....this is a great place to visit if you enjoy railroad memorabilia or even if you just like history!

The Sierra Railroad Company Engine #3 was the star of the show, and was really interesting in that it was in soooo many movies from our age....Rawhide, Lassie, Back to the Future III, the Unforgiven, Little House on the Prairie, Finnegan's Rainbow, and Petticoat Junction!! We took a ride on the rail there and heard the history of the gold mining in the area....what a grand history our country had when the gold rush was on!   There was a population of 6000 within 6 months at Jamestown in the 1850's due to the gold rush.  We couldn't stop thinking about the way the potential miners found out about the gold stakes....amazing!   And the devastation to the environment as a result of placer!   

The state of Calif has come in and made a park out of the Jamestown area and it really is super interesting, with a working roundhouse and blacksmith shop plus the ole #3!   There are a million (probably 20) volunteers and in talking to a couple of them it is SOO interesting to hear about the clubs that people belong to....there was probably 40-50 motor railcars stacked up outside the roundhouse and a man came up to us to try to recruit us into the motor railcar club!  There's a club that each couple owns a motor know, the things that seat two people and go on the rails that are for repairs, etc.  These people are addicts!  This guy said he traveled 75,000 miles in the first 6 years of his club membership!   These guys are crazy!

Also, we met a volunteer that belongs to a Art Deco club that dresses up in 1920's attire (his wife makes their clothes) and they attend great parties dressed in 20's clothes!   This is a club!!! Who knew all these unusual clubs were out there!

After this we went through Sonora ,which as a great small town that was also a historic mining town and then on to Columbia State Historical Site.   They were having several "do's" going on and it was hard to find parking, but we did it, walked through the area and found a great spot for the picnic lunch we brought.  What a beautiful day (72, clear, sunny and no wind!).   We really are enjoying the area and the weather.  We need to enjoy it now, because tomorrow is lower temps and a wild drive.  We have decided to unhook the car from the moho and drive through the rest of the park and out to Fresno (about 3 hours) unhooked--I'll run in back of the moho as Jeff drives through the tunnels (where I will get ahead and do the flashing lights) and in back during the slow up and downs (this is about a 6% grade everywhere, and very hairpin-y) and will reduce the drag up and the push down.  FUN!!!  Actually, we're having a ball.

If any of you have suggestions for us to see or do during our cross-country adventure, email us or add on to the blog...all suggestions are welcome!

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