Friday, October 16, 2020

A Trio of Quick Fall Trips: Number 3 - Bringing the Extended Family Along for Gold and Wine Touring-Part 2

(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) A fitful night of sleep at the Doubletree Suites in Rancho Cordova leads to an early wakeup the next morning. After a breakfast of waffles, eggs, and bacon at Sunrise Waffle Shop near the hotel, we're on the road heading east on Highway 50.

Before Placerville, our GPS tells us to exit and head northward into the hills. Today, we're taking the family to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. The three of us have been there many times but it will be a first for Letty's mom and her brother.

We arrive and there are many people. It's the second weekend of October and the new thing we'll learn today is that this weekend is the Gold Rush Live re-enactment. That means many people in period dress set up in tents recreating the Gold Rush days with blacksmiths, general stores, bakeries, and even and honest-to-God saloon. The lady up above had her goats Rascal and Ranger there, too.

All the participants are required to live at the site and only use period correct items. Some are even deep into the character, such as the lady who told my wife she was waiting for her husband to bring her some more vegetables before she could sell what she had to my wife.

"Oh, when's he coming back?" my wife asked.

"It depends, he went to Sacramento. If he has a horse, two days. If he took the wagon, maybe three. Hopefully, he won't find misfortune along the way that would delay him more..."

Others, not quite so much as my wife inquired of a lady in the knitting tent, "I love that shawl, could you tell me how you did the pattern?"

"You can download it on," was the reply.

Before we get over to the encampment, I need to show my mother-in-law and brother-in-law the most important historic spot in their adopted state. Just a bit left of the recreation of the old sawmill that John Sutter owned is a protected by a wall and no trespassing signs...that mill foreman John Marshal was inspecting after blasting the mill's tailrace to unclog it.

Here is where he bent over, saw a glimmering rock in the water, and found the first nugget that launched California's great Gold Rush.

Suitably impressed, we then head over to the re-enactment chatting with the participants and browsing the wares. We end up in the saloon tent ("we're only selling sasaparilla today because of all the school children here on field trips, tomorrow we'll have beer and wine") where an urchin, dressed in period garb, walks in.

"What'll you have, mister?" the bartender asks.

"How much is a sasparilla?" he asks back.

"Two fifty."

"I have two dollars."

He's cute enough that Amaury and I split the bill and buy him a drink.

It's time to head back down the hill but not before we stop off at the big house. Folsom Prison is hidden behind the houses of the City of Folsom. It's a popular stop for us to check out the tiny prison just inside the wall.

I show Amaury the old nooses, the crafts made by prisoners, and the wall of shanks that were confiscated by prisoners. There's also a display of contraband that was caught by prisoners keestering it in.

Google it, I'm not going to explain it here.

We finish off the day with way more deep dish pizza than we can eat at Chicago Fire in Old Folsom before retiring back to the hotel.

Tomorrow, we'll delve deeper into the Motherlode.

Darryl Musick
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