Monday, January 20, 2020

The Goat Brew...A Trip Through The Gold Country of Placer County

Sacramento is not only the capital of California, it's also a great hub for exploring the northern half of the state. It's a pretty, tree-shaded city that is...for now...a less hectic and cheaper alternative to staying in the San Francisco area.

Although there is a lot to see and do in the city itself, one thing we like to do is use it as a base to explore nearby.  Within a couple of hours, you can get to San Francisco, Napa Valley, the Delta Region, Lake Tahoe, Chico, the Motherlode region, and much more.

Today, we're venturing northeast of the city to visit with some friendly and hungry goats and, via a scenic drive, to the county seat of Placer County - the vibrant and historic Gold Rush era town of Auburn - before ending up at an electrifying bit of history in Folsom.

Going east of Sacramento, on Interstate 80, you pass through a great urban sprawl. Getting off in Roseville, we head north to the town of Lincoln. Even here, you see development on an unrelenting march to tame the rural stretches into suburbia...the Capitol area is one of the fastest growing in the nation.

We're able to get past that to Wise Road, about 3 miles north of central Lincoln. A couple of more miles east and we're at our first destination...Goathouse Brewing.

My wife, Letty, looking for things to do in Northern California found this gem. It combines two things I love, beer and goats.

The brewery here makes excellent beer (I especially like the red ale) and, outside, you can sit in a nice beer garden which sits in a goat farm. You can buy a cone of goat food for a buck , head over, and feed the goats.

It's great fun and there's usually a food truck here if you're hungry. Goathouse Brewing is open Friday through Sunday and is completely wheelchair accessible.

Getting our fill of the goat, we continue east on Wise, winding through the hills of Placer County on our way to Auburn. Yep, we could have saved a few minutes by heading back to Interstate 80 but this is the scenic route. And very scenic it is.

A sign beckons "farm fresh fruit ahead on right." We stop in and find the ladies of Urban Dreamer farm.

Some persimmons and spaghetti squash are on sale. My wife gets some persimmons and the ladies throw in a squash. There also an array of baked goods so we take some of those for a snack later.

Onward to Auburn, the county seat of Placer County. A good spot to park where we could deploy our ramp in downtown is hard to find today but after three times around the block, we find one.

Feeling like pizza, we head over to a nearby parlor but they've just seated a party of 50 (!) so we go to the brewery next door instead for some decent burgers.

Lastly, it's a trip down through the hills to Folsom where we stop at the Folsom Powerhouse State Park.

Due west of the infamous prison on the American River, this old preserved generating station was the first AC powerhouse in California. Dating back to 1895, it provided electricity to Sacramento kicking off the electrification of the state.

We're in time for a quick tour where we're told the water powered turbines and generators are still in working order, although the water to power them no longer flows through.

Flat, paved trails provide good access throughout the small park although you can ask for the gate at the visitor's center to be opened and you can drive down the small, sloped driveway if you think it might be too steep for you.

We're fine with Tim's power chair and we climb back up to see the holding ponds for the water before climbing back in the van to head back home.

Darryl Musick
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