Friday, October 10, 2008
California's Gold Country
Last weekend, I traveled up to the Gold Country to teach a class at Kelsey's Needle Krafts, in Placerville, California. It all came about as a result of meeting so many nice stitchers from the Placerville area when I taught this summer at Asilomar, and they in turn, asked their local stitchery store (Kelsey's, which is owned and run by Sue Rees) to invite me up to teach a one-day class.
I asked my mom to come with me, so I'd have some company on the trip. We traveled down from Healdsburg (in the Northern California Wine Country), across thru Sacramento (the central valley of California), and then up into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains - which is generally known as "The Gold Country". [Travel time from Healdsburg to Placerville, including a stop for much-needed iced coffee and several unbelievable traffic slowdowns: 4+ hours.]
On Saturday, I spent the day teaching a specially-designed California Poppy project to a wonderful bunch of Placerville ladies. It was a large group: about 20 stitchers in the back of Sue Rees' shop. And boy, did we have a good time! It's always fun to share your passion with like-minded people, isn't it? (It just makes stitching all the more fun, when you get to share it with others....) In any event, the day went by very fast, and by the end of the class, I was pleased to see that all the stitchers had their projects started and well underway (which always makes me feel good, too).
The next day, Sunday, Mom and I decided to take the scenic route back home and headed down Hwy 49, which meanders thru lots of charming Gold Country towns.
Our first stop was Coloma, where gold was first discovered, on the banks of the American River.
[ASIDE: Every Gold Rush town seems to have its own self-proclaimed title, and Coloma is no exception. It's called the "Golden Stepping Stone to the Gold Country". Which makes perfect sense, since it WAS the start of the whole Gold Rush. Other town titles I recall are: Nevada City - Queen of the Northern Mines" and Sonora - "Queen of the Southern Mines".]
Anyway, above is a shot of the American River, and then about 100 yds above it, Sutter's sawmill, where James Marshall found the first pieces of gold glinting in the water that had been diverted up to the mill.
After wandering around the site for a while (it's a state park now), looking at the various small and primitive buildings, we decided to go up in the hills above the river to see James Marshall's cabin, his burial site, and a REALLY BIG monument commemorating his discovery.
Here are photos of his monument (presumably Marshall is pointing down to the river and his gold discovery..."Yessirrree, that's where it allll started, folks... That spot right down there...")
You can't tell from these up-close photos,
I TOLD you it was a REALLY BIG monument!!
And then we got back in the car, and traveled down, down, down, along the twisty turny American River, thru the tiny town of Cool (which was actually very hot) until we finally arrived in Auburn. [Since I was driving and had BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL AT ALL TIMES, I wasn't able to take any more pictures, but trust me, it was a very windy steep road down and then back up to Auburn.] Back to Hwy 80, the big major highway that turns east - up to Lake Tahoe - or, in our case, west - back down to Sacramento, and ultimately, back home to the San Francisco Bay Area.