Tuesday, July 8, 2014

All Faces West

We didn't stay home long after our trip to the east before we headed west. Diane has always wanted to see the Shady Ladies of Tent Town in Columbia, California so off we went.

May 27
We left on Tuesday and drove as far as Carson City, Nevada. We took a brief stretch on Highway 30 which passes through northern Utah. It is beautiful countryside and cuts off about an hour versus going through Salt Lake.
View along Highway 30
We decided to stop in Virginia City. Last time we went through there it was early one morning when everything was closed. It was nice to walk around the shops in the town.
Diane picked up a new fella in Virginia City
How can I pass up a waterwheel?
And another one
We went on and found a place to stay in Carson City.

May 28
We left Wednesday morning to drive over Sonora Pass to Rich & Ginny's cabin near Long Barn (the GPS had no idea where Long Barn was). We passed a marine training camp and a group of marines hiking along the road. Sonora Pass is very beautiful, with granite peaks and streams. It takes longer to get there, but is worth it.
Sonora Pass road
We arrived at the cabin about noon. Sure enough, Richard had jobs for us to do - change the filters for the furnace vents (after 75 years it's about time, ha, ha, it was more like 28).
This vent has never been so clean!
May 29
We fondly remember the time we took Dad to Calaveras Big Trees State Park so we wanted to see it again. 
New visitor's center
We got there in time for a picnic lunch.
Lunch time
We're almost as big as the trees
 We stopped by the visitor's center and Diane started feeling sick. We let her lie down in the back of the car and in a few minutes she was feeling better and ready to go on our hike.
Portable bed
 Meanwhile, in the visitor's center we saw some of the wild animals in the park. Richard said he had seen a bobcat near the visitors center so we took off trying to find it. Sure enough, there was a bobcat.
The Bobcat
 We finally were ready to take the trail through the big trees. It is a very nice trail (about 1 1/2-miles long) with a lot of good views of the trees.
Start of the trail 
Rest time
That's a tall tree
 As we were going along the trail we encountered a family from Sweden from the same town Hulda Amelia Johnson (Dad's grandmother) was born. We had a nice visit with them.
True Swedes
A good time in the Big Trees
We were tired and hungry by the time we got back to the cabin, but sure enough, Ginny had a good supper ready for us.

May 30
We decided Friday would be our rest day to lounge around the cabin. We could only lounge so long before we noticed the pine needles on the cabin decks. We decided we would quickly sweep them off, but it isn't that simple. First they need to be swept off the roof, and as long as we are up there we may as well be a chimney sweep. 
Watch out below - here come the pine needles
Chim, chim, cheree
May 31
Today was the day for Tent Town (or the Diggins as they call it), an annual event in Columbia State Park. Just outside of Columbia they set up an old mining town. As you enter the town you have to exchange your money for the local currency - "eagles" that you can use throughout the town. The people around town are in costume and character, which makes it interesting. 
Cook making red-flannel hash
Diane makes candle lighters out of wood strips
Lunch time brought red-flannel hash (potatoes and onions with beets) and tamales (too cold).

Lunch time
Tent Town street
Two old-timers
We went to the theater show to see the Shady Ladies. There were only two of them (compared to many in the past), but the show was amusing.
Shady Lady singing
 They set up a boxing challenge that collected bets then took off (with the money) as soon as the sheriff came.
Put em up!
Overall it was a lot of fun; smaller than envisioned, but worth seeing.

Jun 1
We had a leisurely morning with Diane playing old MIA songs on the piano. We went to Sunday meetings at the Sonora 2nd Ward. 

Jun 2
Today we went to Jamestown to look at all the antique shops (which were many). Richard found several things he was looking for (including an old soldering iron). Diane bought a cute button-flower knickknack. We had lunch at the Willow (which could have been better).

Jun 3
We started the day with a short hike up the mountain to look at the valley below. It had some nice views and some interesting granite boulders. 
Don't take this hike for granite!
Break time
In the afternoon Diane and Ginny went to Twain Harte for some shopping while Paul and Richard stayed at the cabin investigating various USB connections.

Jun 4
Today was another travel day. We packed up and headed north toward Washington. We stopped in Donigan for a lunch at Wendy's then continued on to Lassen Volcano National Park.
Lassen Volcano NP
 This is a beautiful area with steam vents and mud pots along with beautiful streams and meadows and snow-capped mountains.
Overlooking a thermal area
Frozen lake
Mountain lake
Snow-capped mountain
a stream through a meadow
This was a beautiful park. We found a motel in Mount Shasta for the evening. It is a pleasant little town (but touristy).

Jun 5
We headed on north, stopping at Lava Beds National Monument. This is a park of lava flows and lava tube caves. 
Lava Beds NM
 We took a short walk through Mushpot Cave, a small lava tube. The monument is full of many such caves that require flashlights and hard hats to get through.
Mushpot Cave
This one is lit
 We then took a trail to Black Crater to see lava flows.
Black Crater trail
Lava flows
 This is also an area that the Modoc Indians were able to hold off the whites for an extended battle. We saw the battle site along the Captain Jacks trail.
Hideout for Modoc Indians
Modoc Indian monument
 The road took us along some nice water reserves.
Pelicans on the water
there is also an area of old petroglyphs.
After we left Lava Beds NM we started the long, slow (55 mph) drive through the middle of Oregon, arriving in Kennewick, Washington about 9 pm. 

Jun 6
The main purpose for this stage of the trip was to help Mom & Dad Mitchell (Diane's parents) to get their house ready to sale so they can move to Spokane to live with Blair and Janae. We took a load to 
Goodwill, went through books and wall hangings in the sewing room, ironed curtains, and took down curtains in the living area to shake off the dust outside. We decided to go to the Old Country Buffet for dinner.

Jun 7
Mom was really worn out from the work yesterday, so today was a bit slower. Paul managed to wash the outside windows, however. A neighbor came over and let him borrow a squeegee which really made the job go faster. We took a load of things to Don & Nadine's where they have a shed for storage until the things are needed. Don and Nadine came over in the evening for a visit.

Jun 8
We stayed most nights at John and Karen's. This morning Karen made some delicious gluten-free waffles with strawberries on top. We went to church with Mom & Dad (meetings starting at 9 am). We went to Don & Nadine's for a very delicious dinner. We don't know how much we accomplished while here, but we really enjoyed the visit. This may be our last time to visit the Tri-Cities.

Jun 9
We decided it was time to get home since we have been away so long (including our trip to the east coast and Canada). We drove all the way, listening to a book on tape as we traveled. We arrived in Logan about 6 pm. We really enjoyed the trip, but are ready to stay home for a while.

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