Sunday, April 11, 2010

California History Site Seeing

Last week my son was on Spring Break. We hung out for the first part of the week cleaning out the garage. Hubby took off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Thursday we went to the high school track to run, where the boy practiced his 50m dash. He is doing the Junior Olympics and the tryouts are coming up. He is also studying California history in class. His teacher also gave the class a scavenger hunt to find California history related items. One of the items is to visit Locke, CA, "The only rural Chinese town left in the United States". Another is to visit Sutter's Mill, the site of the gold discovery that set off the California gold rush in 1848. We decided to do both.

On Friday we loaded our destinations into Lola our GPS and set off on a long day trip. We started off at 9:30am and headed for Locke. It is up in the Delta area. We crossed a lot of drawbridges which was cool. The roads on the levees are narrow with steep embankments on both sides with water on one side and sunken farmland on the other. It is very pretty. The water side is lined with trees that had been bent by the wind. It gets very windy there.

Locke isn't very big, pretty much just one short main street, so we walked down that. The town was built in 1915 by the Chinese who lived in the delta and who wanted a town of their own. It looks like a ghost now, old buildings, some empty, some almost falling down, but it is steeped with lots of history. None of the stores were open and it was too early for the museum and for the restaurants.. We did go into the building that housed their school museum. Locke was added to the registry of national historical places because of its unique status as the only town in the United States built exclusively by the Chinese for the Chinese.

On the way out we stopped in Walnut Grove, which is just down the street and had some ice cream. It was yummy. The GPS led us to our next destination, Sutter's Mill in Colomo California which is Marshall Gold Discovery SHP. She very diplomatically got us turned around in the right direction without asking for a U-turn, and gave us a route north through the delta and over even more bridges. At Marshall SHP we stopped at the museum, bought candy and a gold pan. I got old fashioned lemon drops, the boy got root beer and hubby got horehound. We took pictures of the replica of Sutter's Mill and visited the spot where James W. Marshall discovered gold in the South fork of the American River. Before we left we crossed to the other side of the river and did some panning. It was beautiful in the park and a little warm but the river is cold! But we didn't care. We found some gold flakes (we think) and the boy got really excited.

We decided to go to Jackson to see the Indian Grinding Rock so we loaded Lola up with how to get to Jackson. Once we got to Jackson we walked down their main street. It had a lot of empty store fronts and looked a little run down. We were going to eat there but there wasn't any restaurants opened. The tourist info wasn't opened so we couldn't get info on where the Indian Grinding rock was so we went looking for a place to eat. We found a little Japanese/American restaurant in a strip mall which was pretty good. Hubby had fish and chips, the boy had a yummy hamburger and I had a bento box with teriyaki chicken, rice, salad and tempura. Then we headed for home.

It was a nice trip. We drove on mostly back roads so the traffic wasn't too bad and we made pretty good time. We got home around 9:30pm.

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