Sunday, October 14, 2012

Virginia City via the 49 Highway Day 4

When morning arrived in Sutter Creek we were up early to start the day. The only negative is that the hotel doesn't have coffee in the rooms and there is nowhere in the town close by to get coffee early. The only breakfast place doesn't open until 9 am and we planned to be gone before then.
Well we packed up and decided on a photo shoot in front of the hotel before we left. When we were finished I was having difficult getting Betsy, ( my name for the Wideglide) to start and had a bit of a breakdown. Bob and Ted experienced my breakdown and it was determined that I needed coffee in the morning to begin the day in a positive mood. So the joke was for the rest of the trip that if I was happy in the morning, I must have had my coffee.
We headed out of town looking for breakfast and coffee, however it was not to be found for a while. It wasn't long before food and coffee didn't really matter. The area was beautiful and dotted with small farms and homesteads.
We stopped in Plymouth at a small roadside cafe. It was the Firehouse Cafe or at least that was the theme. There were pictures of fireman fighting fires all over the place. On the walls and on the tables. The food was good and reasonable and they had good coffee.
Black smith shop, very cool & informative in Marshal Gold Discovery Park

ore crusher

The mill where gold rush started

she's off looking for gold
The 49 highway is very pretty through this part of the State. It was narrow roads that winds around and up and down. There were lots of overhanging trees and it is just a very peaceful, quiet area away from the hustle and bustle of life. We rode through with just the rumble of the engine and you feel you have not a care in the world. It is hard to believe that we were so close to the State Capitol of Sacramento. We traveled through Placerville and only got lost for a moment.
We found the 49 again and headed on to Coloma where we stopped at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. We spent some time here and wandered around taking pictures. We watched the blacksmiths working their trade and got a history lesson from one of the docents there. I have been to this place before but I always come away with a different experience. This park is the Central site that started the Gold Rush in California. The Gold Rush is what started the migration to California. Those people are the ones who actually populated the state and made the future which we now live in.
We stopped and had fresh squeezed lemonade and kettle corn at a little shop. Then we continued on our way. I would highly recommend a visit to this park if you want to know about California and how it came to be.
We started up to our destination of Downieville. The first time I went to Downieville I was amazed at the dense forest that exist in California. I lose site of the beauty of this state living in Southern California.

great little watering hole
We continued on up the highway and stopped after North San Juan at a little combination General Store/ Bar/ and Pizza place for a break. The building was very old  and historic, built out of brick. Grace and I were amused as there was a claw foot bathtub in the women's bathroom. From the outside the building it looked like three separate storefronts but when you get inside they were all connected. The bartender also worked as the Cashier in the store. There were several locals there and we were wondering how these people make a living. We left without an answer.
this proves it
The road to downieville
view from our room during the day
view from our room at night
We continued on to our destination of Downieville. The ride up through the forest to Downieville is magnificent. It is dense forest and like something out of a Fairytale. You ride along and drop down into a valley with tall mountains all around and you have arrived. The Yuba River runs though the town and the hotel we stay at is right on the River. Each room is decorated in Antiques and has a balcony that overhangs the river. You can sit out on the balcony and wind down the day listening to the rush of the water going by. There is a security door to the balcony, so at night you can lock it and go to sleep with the sound of  the river all night. This place is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever experienced.
The town of Downieville is frozen in time of a about 1880. All the main buildings date to this time and have been preserved. The newer construction is built to this period, so you feel totally isolated and like you stepped through a portal to another time. Cell phones have no service here, so all is quiet. We stopped into a Wine Shop and talked to an older Gentleman that owned the place. He proceeded to give us a history lesson of the area. We started standing and then were sitting in chairs around him like we were in school. He told us all about the Sierra Meadow that we were headed for the next day.
We moved on with the intention of having a Steak dinner at The Grubstake Restaurant only to find it was closed. Note to self: The Grubstake is closed on Wednesday. We were disappointed and had dinner at the Pizza place in town. We explored the town a bit then headed back across the single lane bridge to the hotel. Drank some wine and talked about the day, then off to bed.

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