Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day after Turkey Day Adventure

Went up to my parents house again this year for Thanksgiving. They live near the town of Placerville east of Sacramento. The drive up was done after work the night before Thanksgiving.
We got to listen to Christmas music on the way up. We all sang to most of them.
The Friday after Turkey Day we like to have an adventure around the area.
The hills above Sacramento are or full of gold, so there are lots of old towns and some Ghost Towns hidden in the trees around My folks home.
I had read on the Ghost Town website about a place up there called Volcano, so I Google Earthed it and we set out to find it. I'm usually pretty good with getting around once I have seen a map of the location. Up there though a lot of the roads run up along ridges or down river valleys and you end up way off track. It took us a while but I got us there the long way. Looks like the early miners thought that the bowl shaped valley and the sometimes fog that rose out of it was a volcano. So the town was named. A good name compared to some of the other town names in the area. Like Pokertown, Fiddletown, or Hangtown.
It was rainy that day and we pretty much got to view the town by ourselves.

When you pull into town there is this rather nice looking old 3 story Hotel. It is still in business and looked like someplace we would love to stay.

Some of the old buildings have gone but the rock faced fronts are still there.

We walked around the town with the rain falling on us. It was quiet as we walked. It was nice to see some of the old building still in use even if they were homes.
The old School was now someones home.
An old Brewery was now someones home.

There was even this old cannon there that according to the literature was smuggled into the town during the Civil War to Intimidate any Rebel sympathizers. The gold there was used for the Union it looks like. Click on the blue link above there is some interesting things about Volcano.
More pics of the town.

I recommend this place as a stop.
We left Volcano, or so we thought, and headed up a road that in my head took us to a place called Fiddletown. Wrong. This road took us up a hill and up in altitude until we found snow starting to fall. I'm actually glad we happened that way. The snow falling in the forest was gorgeous. We had Christmas Music playing in the truck and it made it perfect for the season.
This road ramble around for a while and spun us around back onto a Highway we had already come down. We headed back down towards Volcano again. Before we got back in to the town we thought we would go to a place called "Black Chasm Caverns"
We didn't have the money for the tour but we did buy some, of all things, rocks.
My son Alex was with us and cute fiancee wanted me to get him this bag of sand and rocks that you could sift semi precious stones out of, in this sluice they had outside there store. It was fun.
We were standing in the rain and had our hands in cold water but we had a good time picking out the little colorful chips that were left in the sifting screens.
We left Black Chasm an rolled through Volcano again and took the other road up and out of the town. At this time I was thinking I should have grabbed the map my dad offered me, but then we never would have gotten to see the snow falling or gone to the place we ended up next.
I was intending to get back to Placerville to walk the old streets there and watch their town lighting of the Christmas Tree.
We came to a place that the road forked and there was a Highway Patrol cruiser there. I stepped out of man character and asked directions. The officer was trying to call on his cell phone and was not very informative., but we went the direction he pointed and we wound up in the town of Sutter Creek.
Sutter Creek is a very cool old town. A real Victorian look to it. Getting lost is much better than a map any day in my book. We ate a late lunch at a Mexican food joint in this old building. Walked the Antique shops. Cute fiancee found an old book in one of the shops and a nice Craftsman style lamp shade in another. Serendipidy.
After a while we left so we could make it to Placeville in time.
I guess on The day after Thanksgiving some of the people in the Sacramento area come up to the many Christmas Tree farms and get a tree and head back down the hill with it strapped to the roof of the car. We started counting trees on top of cars. ( this counting has started a tradition now, I just know it, when a Christmas Tree is on top of a car someone says "one"
We walked the shops of Placerville and were still counting trees on top of cars parked in town.
Placerville closes off the street on this night and you can walk in the middle of the street.
There was little kids choirs singing carols, small band playing Christmas music, Santa's, Elves, cool Christmas hats and some people in Victorian costumes.
Unfortunately we had to leave the next day to get the cute fiancee back to work.
Maybe next year I can stay one more day.
Thanks Mom and Dad for having us.
Kris aka

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