"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Back to the Mountains and Wildfires and Elk

Placerville, CA
Elks Lodge

Time to head back to family for the holidays.  Leaving the desert ...

and passing through Lake Tahoe back into the mountains and pines!  The temps are plunging and the winds are crazy!
Placerville Elks Lodge
Since we needed to find a new home (thanks El Dorado County, NOT) since we cannot stay at my brothers anymore.  We are now Elks members.  Well we can't get inducted until Jan 15(!) so we will head out a couple of weeks later and YET AGAIN, I have to cross Joshua Tree/Anza Borrego off the list again.  The lodge and camping area are very nice and quiet and we are happy to be here and only pay $25 instead of $60+ that this area's few campgrounds charge.
Our only complaint is the fires that have kicked up, yet again making it unbearable to be outside.  It would be really selfish to complain though as there were entire towns wiped out.  The Camp Fire has destroyed the town of Paradise a couple hours north of us.

We are used to wildfires during the summer.  Just trees and brush.  But with a town burning down, there are so many pollutants like chemicals, insulation etc that really leave a very harsh, acrid smell.  You really don't want to breathe it and are advised to stay inside.  This lasted about 3 weeks until it finally rained. We also have a couple who fled the fire, losing everything that have arrived here and their story is so sad.

Jim & Jenny's dog with his favorite tire toy!
We hoped to stay at another friends property but the drive down was just too steep for our rig.  But thanks anyway for the offer Jim & Jenny!
And the crazy busy times begin right after arriving!  Dinner with our son, Brennan and his girlfriend Alex, and her parents and niece.  Great southern food restaurant!

Since the weather was holding out and we wanted to escape the smoke for a bit, we drove up into the Sierra to my favorite hike, Shealor Lake.  At over 7600' elevation, it's a good little workout for only 3+ miles.
So happy to be out of the smoke!

Shealor Lake.
All the Aspen have shed their leaves already and soon this hike will be impossible once the snow falls.

I love all the granite out here! You have to pay attention and look for the cairns that mark the trail.

One of the cairns that mark the way.
And back down to the smoke.  Yuck. It's really even worse than it looks.
I decided to try making one of those Apple pies made with cinnamon rolls for the crust that is all over facebook.  It came out fantastic! 
Spent time visiting with my parents and later I took our daughter, Kaylee, out wine tasting.  There are several wineries, breweries and distilleries up here.

Steve was busy at Men's Weekend.  He and some of his friends that have known each other for 40+ years get together each year at this time.  What a motley crew!
At Thanksgiving the whole family was here except my nieces.  Here is Diana (my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law, Kaylee and Alex.
I took a couple of engagement pictures for Ryan and Diana.

Our town put a Pasta Fundraiser together to help those in Paradise that literally burnt down to the ground.  We help each other out up here.  It easily could've been Placerville. 
Our friend and fellow Fulltimer, John, cooked his famous sauce.
It was a huge success and our little town raised $100K for Paradise!  Amazing how people come together for each other when in need.

Whew... November just flew by!


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wild Virginia City, Nevada

Dayton, Nevada
Dayton State Park

The Wild, Wild West...
Our last day in Dayton we saved for Virginia City.  Always a fun place to go.  We've been a few times but it has been a while.  It was only a 20 minute drive from the campground through the canyon to Virginia City.  You pass several old mines and teeny towns.

 As you enter the city you pass the old 4th Ward School which is now a museum.
This cute western gold rush town is built on a steep hill and reminds me of Jerome, AZ.
I'm always drawn to beautiful old churches.  St. Mary in the Mountains was built in 1868.

The inside is just beautiful with very colorful stained glass windows. There are ornate wooden carvings everywhere.

It's fun to just walk up and down the main street and some of the side streets.  So much history here.

 This is a popular biking destination.
Cars aren't the only way to town.
 A few interesting characters.

There is a legend that the Suicide Table in the Delta Saloon was responsible for the deaths of three people who took possession of it. It is an old bank table dating from 1860s, and the curse is directly connected to gambling

There are bars, novelty, chocolate, fudge, clothes and art shops up and down Main St.

Views for miles on this clear day.
The Famous Bucket of Blood Saloon is always a popular place for a drink.
There was a Bluegrass band playing and everyone was dancing.  There is an interesting committee of locals that are huge charitable contributors called the 601's.  They tend to hang out in the Bucket of Blood Saloon on the weekends.  You can't miss them.  They wear authentic period clothing, boots, hats, spurs, dresses etc.  You can identify them by a badge worn on their chest with the number 601.  Legend has it that it stands for 6 feet under, 0 trial, 1 rope. 
Good 'ol foot stompin music!
The Famous Bloody Mary at "The Bucket".

The cemetery is a must see also. Paupers and the famous are buried here.
Some of the more famous, ornate graves.

Looking back toward town.

Wild mustangs.
  On our last day we also found our 5000th geocache!
Back to California for the holidays!