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Thread: Advice on traveling up CA-49 through Gold Country

  1. #1
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    Question Advice on traveling up CA-49 through Gold Country

    I plan on taking my family on a Gold-Rush-and-beyond-California-history tour in May.

    So far we are planning on going to Sutter's Mill State Historic Park, Columbia SHP, Empire Mine SHP, Sacramento (and the California Railroad Museum), and Virginia City (because the Comstock Lode contributed so much to the growth of California).

    What do you recommend as far as specific places to see that would help my 10-year old daughter gain a better appreciation for the the history of the state? Do you recommend any places to stay that are inexpensive (i.e. $100 or less per night)?

    We have been to Old Town Sacramento a number of times, and we will go again when we go to the Railroad Museum. We are particularly interested in Chinese immigration, gold and silver mining, and the Union Pacific Railroad.

    BTW, we will be driving up there from So' Cal', so ghost towns and other historical places along the way are welcome, also.

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    It looks like you've got a pretty good trip planned. The only thing I would recommend is that you stop and visit and explore the smaller towns along the way. There's plenty of off-the-beaten path stuff, like museums, bookstores (with tons of old local stuff), hotels with really cool old-time restaurants/bars, etc. Take your time...there's soooo much out there.

    Gold panning can be a lot of fun. Just about anywhere along the American River and you can find color.

    Don't go to the caves, they're not worth it IMO.

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    Joe is right about the little towns. You could spend weeks exploring around and learning the history of the area. One of my favorites was Fiddletown. I think that's in Amador County. Check out the general store and city hall. If you're coming up from SoCal on I-5, a rest stop at Fort Tejon in Lebec will give your daughter an idea of life at an early California military post and Butterfield Overland Stage stop. It was once a post for the short-lived Camel Corps.

    The Mariposa Historical museum in Mariposa has a good display about the times in the southern end of the Mother Lode. The is also good lodgings there. The roundhouse tour at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown is interesting and near Columbia.

    Sutter's Fort in downtown Sacramento will show her how life was in California at the time of Marshall's gold discovery.

    When you're over in Virginia City, NV, check out the State historical Museum in Carson City. It is located in the old US Mint building. Also, the Nevada Railroad Museum is a good exhibit on the south end of Carson City.

    There is chinese history all through the Mother Lode. If you find a Taoist Temple in one of the towns, stop and check it out. They are sometimes open for tours and have a wealth of California Chinese history.

    There is just too much to see and so little time to see it!

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    Yea, verily.

    I wish we had more time.

    There's an inexpensive motel in Virginia City that is highly rated on tripadvisor.com, so rather than staying in Reno or Carson City we'll probably stay right in town. I wish Sutro was open so we could see the famous tunnel.

    We're going to add Nevada City to the list of places to visit, also.

  5. #5
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    Last fall I followed the Pony express markers from Old Town Sac to Genoa Nv. Some are a bit tricky to find and some were kinda just a waste of time and fuel. I'll let you decide.

    The marker in Folsom is a good one and is surrounded by many other historical treasures. Most are close to Hwy 50 and would/do make the drive over the Sierras a bit more interesting.

    This got me started, hope it helps http://www.xphomestation.com/casta.html
    Last edited by GS-RON; 02-12-2010 at 02:01 PM.

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    Darin is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    Quote Originally Posted by GS-RON View Post
    This got me started, hope it helps http://www.xphomestation.com/casta.html
    Now that's a great tid-bit of info for a trip like that!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GS-RON View Post
    This got me started, hope it helps http://www.xphomestation.com/casta.html
    I'll check it out.

    I'm reading through The California Gold Country: Highway 49 Revisited, and I was disappointed to find out John Moffat did NOT coin $50 slugs in Mount Ophir, as legend had it. He was principal of Moffat & Co. that minted the gold slugs in San Francisco, but he did not make them in Mount Ophir. Oh well.

    After reading about the places to stay in Columbia, it looks like we're going to mosey on down the road a piece to Sonora.

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