Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 3 - Sunday

We again went to sleep with rain all night. Woke up to it being cloudy, and raining in the morning. We drove up to Mercer Caverns today. What an amazing experience for all of us! We learned about all the different formations, the way that the caverns are formed, and how it was discovered. We decended 16 floors down, that's a lot of stairs folks. And then when we were down, we had to come back up! :-) Before we did though, they turned out all of the lights, and we got to see what it would've been like before electricity. The tour guide even had a candle, like what Mr. Mercer had when he first decended back in 1885, then she blew it out. William gripped my hand, but when the lights went back on, the smile on his face was priceless! I was the only one who hit her head on the way back up. Go figure! I got plenty of warning about the low spots too! LOL

Day 2 - Saturday

We all slept in, hard not to with the soothing sounds of the rain outside. Ate breakfast, and sat around for a bit in the morning. Around 11am, we decided to go for a drive up Hwy 4 to Big Trees State Park. Sequoias, hiking trails and about 2500 feet higher up the mountain. (Angel's Camp is around 1700 feet). That drive was simply beautiful! Quaint little towns, cows, horses, vineyards, and about half way there, we noticed snow on the ground from the night before. Had to have been a cold storm that came through for the snowline to be so low. As we were driving through, the colors on the trees again made me long to hike around. Fall is simply my favorite time of year!
Well the trees started throwing snowballs at us. :-) That's how the boys were decribing how the snow was falling off the trees. They wowed, and oooohhhhhed as more cars were coming down the mountain with snow packed on top of their cars. Will's response was simply "Dang, this is cool!" I couldn't have said it better myself!
We pulled up to Big Trees, and as we pulled in, it began to snow. There went our big plan to drive around and maybe hike. We got out of the car, and took a few pictures. They boys grabbed some big chunks of fresh powder and through it over the railing. All too quick, it was "I'm cold mom, my shoes are wet." (That by the way, was why I told them not to step in the soft snow!) The trees at the begining of the park were huge. I forgot just how massive Sequoias are! Maybe by the end of the week, the weather will be good enough to go back.
We turned around, not wanting to get stuck, (no chains) and headed back down the mountain. We went to Angel's Camp Museum. It's a lot bigger then we thought when we pulled up. We started at the lower level, (there are 3) and went into the big wherehouse. There we met Bill, the docent for the Gold Rush/Mining area. He explained all about the history of Angel's Camp, talked about the Mother Lode vein, tools the miners used, conditions, and showed us the different ways that folks got gold out of the earth. There were rows and rows of old machinery, photos, and examples of blacksmith tools, branding irons, and miners tools. We then panned for gold. :-)
Tier two was the carriage house and water wheel. If you can imagine a wherehouse full of horse drawn carriages, that's what we saw. It reminded me of Little House on the Priarie. We saw Charles' Buckboard wagon, Dr. Baker's buggy, Miss Beetle's quaint little buggy, there was even a dairy wagon. William got to draw one. The docents little dog kept the attention of the boys.
Back up at the top, was the small roomed museum. An apothacary shop, a postoffice replica, and a memorial garden. Inside the last section, was a Mark Twain exibit. This was another reason to come to Angel's Camp. The boys school is named after Mark Twain, and their mascot, the frogs, is named after here in Angel's Camp. Mark Twain's first published story was about the jumping frogs here. That image is depicted everywhere (as you'll see when I'm able to post some pictures when we return)

Education Vacation Nov. 2010 - Day 1

Well we're on our first vacation of the new school year. Decided to come up to Angel's Camp along California's Hwy 49 - Gold Country. Bruce is going to be learning about the gold rush and the missions this year. So we booked our Worldmark vacation up here! We pulled the boys out of school early and Terry took the day off from work. We were able to leave around 11am on Friday Nov. 19th. Made it up here by 5:30. Not too bad if I do say so myself! We stopped in Oakdale to drop some things off at my sister's friends place, and then drove the rest of the way. Hit the grocery store for the rest of the food for the week, and settled into our "vacations house" as William calls it. About 30 after we checked in, it started to rain. Made it really nice to fall asleep to that.
I love having the timeshare! We need money for food (going to do that at home anyway) and money for gas and what activities we want to do. It's nice to not have to pay a grand right then and there for the stay. These places are condos. Washer/dryer, full kitchen, and plenty of space! Plus the fun of the pool/spa, rec. room. Here at Angels Camp, we seriously lucked out with an amazing view!! It's right of the golf course, and the hills around. The fall colors look wonderful, and make me want to live somewhere where the trees are more abundant.