Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Gorgeous Day for Wanderlust

I was struck with a bout of wanderlust yesterday.  I decided to take a drive up Hwy 80 to Auburn, connect with Hwy 49 and drive to Hwy 89 and Sierraville, head down to Truckee, then take Hwy 80 back home. The weather was beautiful, so off I went.

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I took off about 8:30, taking my dog Jett with me.  The first stop was, of course, coffee. My thought was to wind my way through the foothills and mountains, stopping at little coffee shops along the way, tasting my way through the drive.  After the second stop, Dutch Brothers in Auburn for an "ER-911", consisting of 6 shots of espresso, Irish Creme syrup, and steamed milk, I modified my plan just a little bit.  That second stop for coffee was, shall we say, sufficient for the morning. (Dutch Brothers, by the way, is in my opinion one of the best coffee chains in California.  I'm just sayin'.)

I continued up Hwy 49, and came to a little town called Camptonville, with an interesting claim to fame: the invention of the Pelton Water Wheel.  

 Its not much on the map, but as I drove through I found it was a quaint little town.  And I mean little.

I stopped and got lunch at a little diner called the Pelton Wheel Cafe.  It was very small and quaint, but they made a very good burger.  I talked with the gal who ran the place for a few minutes before heading on up the hill.

On up Hwy 49 I went, winding through some beautiful mountain scenery - winding being more of the operative word in this instance.  Jett found it hard to stand in the back seat of the car, so she found curled up and chilled in the sun as we wound up the road. 

I came to a town I wasn't expecting along the way: Downieville.  This is important because it's a favorite place of Alene's, and I didn't realize it was on Hwy 49..  What a cute little town.  While in town, looking for an inn Alene had stayed at some years ago, I talked to an old man named Andy who told me, in five minutes, all about the gold rush history of the town, where the medi-vac landing zone is outside of town, and about a search-and-rescue event where 250 townies volunteered to search for a young boy lost in the hills.  Very nice man.  

And a Scary Bridge.  Literally, just wide enough for my car. 

After leaving Downieville, I continued on up toward Sierraville, coming to the vista point looking out over the Sierra Valley. What an amazing site.  The photos don't do the view justice, believe me. 

Up here in the high Sierra, it's truly cowboy country. 

Leaving Sierraville, I drove past a closed gas station that caught my eye.  For one thing, the last gas price posted was $1.55 a gallon, so how long ago was that, especially up here in the high Sierras? As I looked around, I found an entire pet store inside, simply abandoned.  All the pet supplies, food and toys were just left there.  It's obviously been years. The rest of the store was cleared out, for the most part, but again, simply abandoned.  Signs are all in place, even a California Lotter banner still hanging.  I'm amazed the place hasn't been burglarized and cleaned out. 

So when was this?

Pet supplies, leashes and such, just abandoned.
Dog food and treats still on the shelves. 

Register's cleared out. Looks like they left in a hurry.

Still has some sort of drink product stacked up.

I wound my way back through Truckee, where I stopped at the Wagon Train for a cup of by then needed coffee, and played with Jett at a grassy park.

After that, with the sun beginning to get low in the sky, I pointed the car toward home.  In all, about 240 miles, 11 hours on the road, one tired dog, and a great day. 


Lindsey Marie said...

That abandoned gas station is so weird! I wonder what happened to them...

PS: I want Dutch Bros in Sac! C'mon now!

Things That Interest Me! said...

Mike I love this drive. I have been on parts of it but not the whole way.It is fun going through these small back woods towns. I can smell the woods from here.