Sunday, June 26, 2011

Last Day in Quincy

On the last day, instead of attending the group meeting, I opted to take a drive up the river to Indian Valley, home of the Maidu Indians, looking for ghost towns and old buildings.  What I found was another area hit by the recession resulting in many businesses being closed.  I stopped in a small antique shop and spoke to the Proprietress, who stated once the gold mines shut down, the lumber mills moved in (hence the town of Crescent Mills), and since the recession, owls and increased cost of transportation, the lumber mills have shut down.  Only small businesses and cattle ranches remain.
This is a huge valley with many small towns .. Crescent Mills, Taylorsville, Greenville ...

At the very end of the valley is Indian Falls, named "End of Valley, Trail End" by the Maidu.  Not quite the falls I am used to, this one being about 8 feet high, but it is surrounded by a beautiful redwood forest.  The rivers are full due to the snow melt and the water is freezing!!!
From here I headed to Greenville which had much more to offer, but ran out of time.  The lunch potluck is a BIG deal, and I didn't want to miss out (or miss providing my share!!).  On the way back through Quincy however, I discovered this abandoned house.  What a beauty.  It is so sad that it has fallen into disrepair.  I would dearly love to restore it to its prior glory ... but having done that, would probably not get any return on my investment, and the yard isn't big enough for my horses.  It was VERY hard to let this one go .....

The last meal in Quincy was with the entire group at Mi Casita Mexican Restaurant.  It is on the main road between West and East Quincy.  If you are ever in the area, please stop in.  The "authentic"food was very reasonably priced, you got huge portions and it tasted great!!  I will definitely stop here again.
That's it for Quincy.  Back on the roads headed home ... interesting that Cal-Trans must be on a four day work week.  It's Friday and all of the road construction has been halted for the day.  It will be nice to get home to Direct TV!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ghost Towns and Rock Races

First order of the day (Wednesday) was a trip to the two antique stores in Quincy.  I can't pass one by, and had done my research.  There are only two.  What I didn't know was one is open Friday and Saturday and one is open Thursday through Saturday.  So to satisfy my craving, I stopped in at this sweet shop.  Trust me, it was well worth it. They had the best raspberry lemon bars I've ever eaten.  If you get a chance to travel through Quincy, be sure and stop here.  It's on main street and you can't miss it.
From here we were off to Meadow Valley.  I'm sure they don't exactly call themselves a ghost town, but this Mercantile Store looks like it was closed long ago.
It sits on the corner of Silver Creek and Buck Lake Road.  There is still quite a lot of snow on the mountains here.  A short drive from this intersection we ran into 3-4 feet snowbanks.
I asked about old cemeteries in this area and was told to head to Meadow Valley where the Pioneer cemetery was located.  Most people probably wouldn't think of visiting the local cemetery, but you would be surprised at the interesting tidbits you can find out about the area.
Surrounded by large redwoods, it was a beautiful location.  It appears this area was settled around the early 1800's.  If you were an original pioneer, your headstone so stated.  Most gave the name of the state you were from ... Missouri, New Wales, Nebraska ...   Some were WWI veterans, but most were aged 5-20.  One family lost four of their children within 5 days.  We assume cholera or some disease.  Several stated tuberculosis  and pneumonia.

One stated a 22 year old died in an avalanche in the mid 1800's.
Probably the most interesting were many ... possibly 12-15 ... only said "Unknown" or "Mother".  No one will ever know who was buried here.

Back to the RV park for food, food and more food.  The "munchie hour" was beyond munchie ... it was dinner in full, following by potluck desserts.  How could we miss that!!!!   To finish off the day we played Rock Races.  For those that don't know what this is (I didn't either) ... you can see the race course in this photo.
You bet on which rock you think is going to win, numbered 1 through 6, and keep your winning ticket number.  Each person betting rolls the dice.  Whatever number comes up, that rock moves one space.  Each dice counts ... so if you roll a 4 and a 5,  both rock 4 and 5 move up one.  Whoever gets to the end first of course, wins.  The pot is split between the winning number holders.  Changes in the rules ensued,  after bets were placed, making it impossible to pick a winner.  Sometimes whoever was last would be the winner.  Pure luck rules this game.  It was a nice way to end the day ..... losing $2.00!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Day in the Life of Quincy

Second Day at the Pioneer RV Camp in Quincy.  When the gold ran out, the town turned to lumber.   A trip to the local museum took me back in time.  Out back was an entire yard full of heavy lumber processing equipment.
The first thing you saw when walking up was this wall of bottles.  From beer and whiskey to cure-all tonics to milk, these made a colorful display.

Then there was this crazy dentist chair.  These two large arms swing over your legs so you can't run out screaming!!
The doctors were mobile back then.  One doctor used this bag from 1826 to 1888.  In the surrounding cabinets were leather cases full of pills, which served as the dispensary and drug store that he carried in this bag.
One of the remedies offered was the "Secret Remedy".  No telling what this might have been!!
The best thing in the whole museum was this actual Wells Fargo Strong Box .. made of wood as you can see ... that was stolen from the Wells Fargo Stagecoach by Black Bart.  Apparently he spent quite some time robbing stages in Quincy.  Having been caught by the local sheriff, he spent some time in jail, then totally disappeared.  This box as well as several pictures was donated by the family of the arresting sheriff.
From here, we walked and drove around town, ending up at the local fairgrounds.  More treasures were found there.
Least we know the Chamber of Commerce has a sense of humor!!
Several old tractors grace the fairgrounds area, as well as very old hand cut log cabins.  It's amazing  what good shape they are in.
Being springtime here, there are loads of flowers everywhere.
As well as the biggest bumblebees I've ever seen.  I got dive-bombed by one that almost hit me in the eye ... time to beat a hasty retreat.  This bee couldn't land on the black flower portion ... it was forced to drop down below that for the pollen.  At that point, it couldn't crawl back out because of some substance on the sides.  Interesting poppy ... least that's what they called it.  
This original conestoga wagon was sitting on top of one of the fair buildings.  Hard to imagine coming to California in this!!!
Lastly, just north of the RV park is this lumber mill.  Incoming logs are stacked in these piles awaiting their turn in the mill ... which, by the way, runs all night long.
So it's off to listen to the grinding and sawing.  Wish I could say I was sawing logs!!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another Adventure (aka "You Gotta Be Flexible!!!")

It's early Monday morning and we are ready to go.  It amazes me that no matter how sure I am that I have everything .... I don't.  But that comes later.  The plan is to follow a map to Quincy that Joe printed out.  And we're off ... except Joe's GPS isn't the same as mine.  After a couple of missed exits and a new scenic route, we finally got on Hwy 70 where we planned to stop for breakfast.  We missed the restaurants (and diesel stations),  so I pulled ahead while Cyndae looked for restaurants on my GPS.  There were none ... we were too far north.  As a last resort, I finally pulled off at a dive of a burger joint .... named .....
Breakfast was pretty good and the price was right.  I have absolutely no idea how long it took us to arrive in Quincy.  I was too busy watching the Feather River Canyon road!!!
We finally arrived at Pioneer RV Park.  The first item on MY list is to check out my newly installed (3 months ago) satellite TV.  Unfortunately, there are three large trees between me and the satellite.  I can still watch TV cuz they have cable here ... except I don't have a cable.   Wait ... I can watch DVD's ... except I don't have any.  Are you getting the picture???  So after munchie hour, the one I didn't know I was supposed to bring something to ... we took a short drive into town.  Here is the Plumas County Bank Building ... built in 1903.
The local dentist's sign caught our eye ..... this being an old gold mining town ...
 We also came across this school built in 1905.  It was in great shape, but not being used.
Tomorrow we are visiting two local museums.  One with the RV Group, and one that we found while driving around.  I borrowed a DVD from Cyndae, so if I can figure out how to set up the TV, I'm going to watch it.  See you tomorrow!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shooting in the Dark ???

Yup ... it's called low light photography and it is one of my favorite ways to shoot images.  Since last night was a full moon, one of the instructors at the college organized a group to meet in Yosemite National Park and shoot by moonlight.  You need to know your camera pretty well to be able to make adjustments in the dark, however many brought headlamps so they could see the minimum four adjustments to make.  Mandatory is a tripod and a cable or remote release.  The shutter times range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes for me ... it depends on the other settings and the type of camera.  These slow shutter speeds demand a "no vibration" scenario ... even the clicking of the mirror can blur the image, as you will see in the last frame here.  This image of Yosemite Falls was shot at 11:30 p.m. and it is pitch dark.  If you click on this image and look at the larger version, you can see the stars in the sky.  The "moonbow", since it is a result of the moonlight on the falls, is reflected in the water below.  This was taken at Sentinel Bridge and the lake of water at the bottom is usually a meadow!!!  Due to the huge late snowfall and now the warm weather, the amount of water coming over the falls and down the river is amazing, as are the 2 inch long mosquitos that dined on my arms all night!!!
From here we moved down the road about a mile, "forded" the river of water across the pathway to get another view of the falls.
This was taken at 400 iso, f4 for 35 seconds.  Focus is so critical that you "lock up" the mirror before you actually push the cable release to take the image.  On Nikon cameras, lock up cannot occur unless you have a fully charged battery .. which I did not!!  Even with the cable release and no one even breathing, vibration occurs as in this last image.  This is called "painting with light", which is new to me. Once you depress the shutter button, you use an external flash either alone or with gel covers to light some object (the tree) in the foreground.  I took this image when the instructor lit the tree with his light.  I love the results and plan to try this again soon.
The down side of this type of shooting is that you get home at 3:00 A.M. and your dogs want to play, play, play!!!  Finally to bed at 3:30, they of course decided it was time to get up at 6:00 A.M.  The good news is that since I'm retired, I can snooze on the couch all day to recoup!!!!!     Here's hoping your mirror locks up ..... 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Motivation! Where can I get some?

My next trip is to Quincy up north on the Feather River.  Since I have this one in the bag, so to speak, I have a few days to work around the house.  So what's the worst household job in the world?  Cleaning the garage!!!  When I moved to my current house two years ago, I moved boxes that had never been emptied from the previous move .. and they are still sitting in a pile.   This space should be where I park my truck.

Nothing motivates you to clean up and get organized like seeing someone else's neat and clean garage, where they know the hiding place of every item.  Wall to wall shelves with clear plastic containers so you can easily see what's there ... labeled with the contents.  Now THAT's what I'm talking about!!!  An hour on the internet later, I spied heavy metal shelving on sale at Lowes and couldn't get my credit card out fast enough.  After assembling (and reassembling) them more than once,  I'm ready to fight off the spiders, clean up years of dirt and sort through all the "stuff".  Except I forgot the plastic bins!  So it's off to Target where I found them on sale.  Many hours and lots of sweat later, I'm done. What a difference!!!  

I can now park both the car and the truck in the garage.  In the third bay I even have room for a photography studio.  

Although I think I could use a fourth bay ... you never have enough garage space ... I'm very happy with the results.  Thanks my friend for the motivation!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Rest of the Story......

Even at my age, there's a lot to learn.  I'm always so excited about the photos that I jump ahead of myself and post some out of order.  So here is the rest of the story of the San Juan Baptista photo trip.  First stop REALLY was Casa de Fruta.  Boy has this place grown since I used to stop here years ago.    The first thing we spied was the Carousel.  Unfortunately it was not only closed down but surrounded by 8 foot tall chain link fence.  Picture two crazy ladies trying to climb up on anything they can find in order to get pictures without the fence (and not get caught).  The Venetian Carousel is a two story beauty, this view only shows the top floor.  It's sad that it stands out in the weather and is showing its age.  This gorgeous creation should be in a building.

We chased two peacocks around for 10 minutes trying to get a good shot before we gave up and headed off to SJB.

Here are a few images from inside the mission.  You can see the detailed painting in the baptismal room. This type of decorative painting is continued through the entire mission.

You can see what's left of the original paint to the left of this door.  We had to duck through most of the doorways.  They were about 5'6" high.  We decided most of these people must have been very small in stature.
I had a request for the Kitty door, so although out of focus, here it is.  This chapel was very dark, and although my camera has a million settings, it doesn't include an automatic tripod that drops from the bottom when I need it.  All of the doors in the mission are made like this one and are painted turquoise.  They look like water flowing from the top to the bottom.  
Across the plaza square from the mission is the Plaza Hall ... not the Palace Hotel as I previously stated.  The Palace Hotel with its bar, poker room, dining room and kitchen on the bottom floor and sleeping rooms on the top floor, is located to the right of the Mission.   On the right side of the Plaza Hall building pictured here, is the livery stable, which is my favorite, being the horse person I am!!

I must say this is the fanciest livery stable I have ever seen.  Mr. J. J. Wright must have been wealthy.
Being a centrally located freight and pony express station, they were probably very busy also.

It is filled with carriages and wagons of every sort from beer wagons to the cadillac of carriages equivalent to a limo.  It has wooden floors throughout with holes drilled in the boards for drainage.  One horse to a slot, I'm thinking the horses weren't very big either!
Hay is kept in the loft above and when fed, the horses pull it through the small holes in the back wall.  What falls is caught in a large trough, with a smaller area to the left for grain.  Amazingly, this is exactly the setup we had (and still have) in our barn at the ranch except our stalls are bigger.
The time flew by while we were there ... I just couldn't get enough pictures.  Being a history buff, I spent too much time reading every little note and description.  A return trip is scheduled for next week!!!