Page 8 of Roosta Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » California » Placerville September 19th 2011

Today, I’m heading south. Since I enjoyed the drive through gold country, I’m now doing it in reverse. The hills are still golden and glorious. My goal is a place that everyone in the world has seen pictures of, but even the best can’t begin to match real life. Gold Bug Mine Tour Along the way, I have a very special stop to make. California gold country used to have number of old mines open for tours. Gradually, nearly every one closed due to inability to get liability insurance. It seems that the old tunnels just have too many hazards. I finally managed to track down one that is still open, the Gold Bug Mine near Placerville. The Gold Bug Mine is what was called a gypsy mine. It was a very small vein of gold ... read more
Mine tunnel
Quartz vein
Mine timbers

North America » United States » California » Auburn September 18th 2011

Today is another day to not do very much. I’m still recovering from Burning Man, although most of the physical exhaustion has disappeared by this point. Good thing, because I have some long hikes coming up. The Christmas Tree Vineyard Lodge is a great place to relax. It’s an oversize log cabin personally built by the owner. They have pictures of the build in the living room. Eventually, I needed to do laundry and get dinner, so I headed into Foresthill. Both town and lodge are located on a high ridge between the Middle and North Forks of the American River. At one point, the road passes an overlook with a beautiful view of the Middle Fork canyon with the Sierras stretching beyond. Foresthill was url= read more
Foresthill Main Street

North America » United States » California » Auburn September 17th 2011

Today, I’m rafting another river. Unlike the tricky rivers earlier in this trip I chose an easier one this time. I want to relax. I booked a trip on the South Fork of the American, the most popular raft trip in California. The river contains only class II and III rapids, so it’s safe for people with no previous experience. It’s also easily accessible, a mere hour and a half from San Francisco. An astonishing twenty three companies have commercial permits for this river, and every one sells out their trips on summer weekends. Battle for the Upper Stanislaus Any rafter on the American River (all forks) needs to take a few minutes to honor the upper Stanislaus, the river I mentioned at the New Melones Reservoir yesterday. Ev... read more

North America » United States » California » Sonora September 16th 2011

Gold Country The northern Sierra Nevada looms large in western myth. This may be the one region of the west where the real events exceed the stories based on them. A century and a half after the fact, the huge rush of people to this region in 1849 seems downright insane. Men abandoned families, farms, and stable jobs for the ultimate gamble, mining for gold in California. A large majority ultimately returned home penniless. It became the first, but far from the only, quest for sudden riches in the state’s history. These days, many residents of the towns in this region seek a different type of fortune, the one that arrives in the pockets of visitors looking to soak up that myth. Every town in this region contains at least one s... read more
Gold Rush mining equipment
Wells Fargo Scale
Gold rush miracle cures

Today, I have a choice to make. Sequoia National Park borders another national park called Kings Canyon. This park protects the namesake canyon, a dramatic glacial gorge. Measured from the canyon floor to the top of the surrounding peaks, it’s the deepest in the world! Kings Canyon is an unusual park in that very little of it can be seen from a road. The trails are long. If I try to see much of it, I won’t have time for anything else. Reading my guidebook, Sequoia National Park also has trails into the backcountry, and they are shorter. I decided to hike where I am instead; this should leave time for more trees and a taste of Kings Canyon afterward. Tokopah Falls Trail Lodgepole Campground marks the trailhead for a hike ... read more
Tokopah Falls
All Along the Watchtower

Today begins a period of very tight budgeting. I have a destination coming up that will require considerable cash to do well, and the only place to get it is saving money elsewhere. These days are that elsewhere. Sierra Nevada I start today on the eastern edge of the Central Valley. I’m in Visalia, the largest city along the Kanewa River. I chose this river to follow into the Sierra Nevada. I’ve had a taste during my raft trip on the Tuolumne River , and I want much more. This mountain range is one of the most dramatic in the United States. Famous naturalist John Muir , who did so much to protect these mountains, called it the “Range of Light”. The early part of the drive passes hills covered in scrub. They... read more
Tunnel rock
Granite Cliffs in Sequoia
Giant Forest

North America » United States » California » San Simeon September 13th 2011

This morning, I continue south in Big Sur. The road has changed completely from yesterday. Fog rolled in overnight, converting the dramatic landscape into an incredibly atmospheric one, with the road and cliffs disappearing into the haze. Thankfully, visibility nearby is still good, or this road would be rather dangerous to drive. Lime Kiln State Park My first major site is another state park, Lime Kiln. This park is my chance to explore one of those ravines the road has to cross. The entrance to the park is rather absurd. Just after the bridge over the ravine, a side road drops straight down the side of the ravine and swings under the bridge. Unlike Bixby, this bridge isn’t interesting from underneath. The side road is very steep. It quickly ends at a parking ... read more
Trail to Limekiln Falls
Limekiln creek ravine
Limekiln Falls

North America » United States » California » Big Sur September 12th 2011

Today, I head into a region described by every guidebook as the most scenic in California. Given everything I have already seen in this state that is saying a great deal. The San Lucia Mountains rise directly on the California coast, creating a landscape of ocean waves crashing on towering cliffs. In the 1930s, the state blasted a paved road through those cliffs, creating one of the world’s most dramatic scenic drives. Today I explore the legendary Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur. I started by getting gas. Big Sur is incredibly rural, which means gas is hard to find and expensive. Having learned my lesson at Crater Lake , I filled up the ... read more
Serra's Bible
Mission library
Point Lobos cypress forest

North America » United States » California » Pacific Grove September 11th 2011

Today I learned another lesson mentioned by Burning Man veterans, the hard way. Physically, the body requires some time to recover from the festival. Some people are shocked I planned any driving this soon afterward. While a day in Reno is enough for a mental recharge, I needed more physically. If that’s not enough, I’ve had no rain for over a month straight, which means I haven’t had the top up for any drives. The wind, dry air, and residue of Burning Man finally hit me hard. Today, I spent nearly all my time in bed. I found this surprising, although I shouldn’t have . I have to hope things become less overwhelming in the future, or I will need to cut down the amount I do each day simply to survive. At least I had ... read more

North America » United States » California » Monterey September 10th 2011

I started today at the Steinbeck Center in Salinas. Salinas itself is the hub of the Salinas Valley. John Steinbeck wrote novels based on the lives of migrant workers in the valley, and became famous. Like most high school students, I had to read the Grapes of Wrath, which I hated. Later in life I discovered his non-fiction work like Travels With Charlie. I enjoyed this book a great deal, and it partly inspired my own road trip. John Steinbeck The center exhibits describe each of Steinbeck’s most important novels. The... read more
Gold God and Glory

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