Saturday, July 25, 2009


Wrapping up, in mostly pictorial form--with a few fast facts to begin:

  • miles: 538
  • gallons gas used: 9
  • MPG: 59.7 (driving conditions: mountainous 2/3s of mi.s, running AC ~ 1/2 time, speed in mt. terrain varied btwn. 30 - 55).
  • national forests: 3 (Lassen, Plumas, Tahoe)
  • counties: 11 (Lassen, Plumas, Tehama, Nevada, Placer, Glen, Colusa, Yolo, Placer, Sierra, & X).
  • highest elevation traversed: 6701 @ Yuba Pass
  • 2nd highest elevation: 5758 @ Morgan Summit
  • smartest thing I did before I left: ran by work to get business cards (which I otherwise NEVER use).
  • dumbest thing I did on this trip: climbed a boulder while wearing flip-flops
  • weird fact for which I would love to know the biological basis: I never get car/motion sick when driving in the mountains as long as I am at the wheel.

partial map of my route (click to enlarge all photos)

A couple scenes from the Yuba Summit--I drove this really early in the morning and was practically alone on the road. The lack of traffic and the natural beauty made this leg of journey really magical.

Moss-coated tree

(above & below) vista point between the towns of B*ssetts & C*lpine, and near the junction of hghways 49 & 89.

Entering Qu*ncy, seat of Plumas County

their airport sits in the heart of a beautiful mt. meadow

quaint town (looking N., above) with gorgeous courthouse all decked out in white marble (below)

(below) interior of the museum portion of the archives in which I was doing research on Tuesday

after the museum closed, I headed north up to and through Keddie (another gorgeous, mountain drive)

looking E. over the valley named above, where grn.-ville is located

Still not sure precisely where the site I wanted to visit was located, I drove into town on "main street" and then decided (out of purely touristic interest) to turn right when I saw a historical marker sign. I figured it was settler and not native history that was "marked," and this turned out to be exactly the case (see above, site of Peter Lass*n's Trading Post). Nonetheless, this was the luckiest of detours from main street, since on my drive to find the historical marker, I passed the reservation that was once the location of the Gr**nville Indi*n School (GIS), an off-reservation boarding school-- first established by a mission society (1890s) and later taken over by the Bureau of Indi*n Affairs. The school burned down in the 1920s, but the land is now fed trust land and occupied by an acknowledged group. I made a quick loop through the southernmost part just to get a sense of place. The photo below is one of many taken onsite by the missionary/school director. My research subject is located on the bottom lower-left (I'm 99.9% sure). This is one of several GIS images (c. 1899-1902) I just paid to have digitized at the archives visited earlier in the day. It will go poof fairly quickly, as the terms by which I can use it require a very specific credit line that I don't want google to crawl in this particular location. I pulled this copy off another (credited) website.
this sign (below) is for an active church that remains on the grounds

I think this would have been the valley view from the old school grounds

back in downtown, this mural has been somewhat defaced on the side (to the r. of this photo's right-hand border) that depicted pre-contact days...I hope it has been restored by the time I make a second visit.

Leaving grn-ville and driving N to my next destination, I come upon the southern tip of Lake Alman*r--a man-made reservoir that flooded the ancestral homeland--"B*g Meadows-"-of my research subject (RS).
Continuing N. and E., I drove into Pr*ttville, which was a late 1800s resort/health destination established by a gold rush era physician. Right on the edge of what would later become Lake A., this area once overlooked B. Meadows. My RS knew this location well. I had to slow my car to 10 mph to keep from hitting (or being hit BY) deer. It is a lovely location, with lots of boathouses and campsites and cabins right on the southwestern shore.

lacey moss-laden branches lying on the cemetery grounds

back on 89, headed N with Mt. L*ssen looming in the distance

Pulling into my northernmost destination, where research subject lived from 1915-1941 (after graduating from the Carl*sle Ind*an Industrial School in PA.)

I'll stay here again...clean, comfortable, new--w/brkfst included. Nat'l volcanic park is just a few miles N--hence the motel name.

The next morning, I was up early to go out to town cemetery in hopes of finding RS's g-father or mother's gravesite. No luck--all WWI era (or later) settler folks. Then I was off to see if I could find the general location of the hunting & fishing camp that RS and her husband ran on the shores of Lake A. (above).

Headed E. on 36, I passed yet another historical marker referencing original pioneer settler.

This town was also terrain in which RS and family lived and worked
Westw*od was established as a logging "company town." And boy, can you ever tell when you drive through--the rows of company houses (read: teeny wooden row houses) are still there, occupied in mostly disrepair. I found the Lass*n Cty visitor's center fairly quickly and they told me where the cemetery was located. On my way to that, I passed the town museum--which I had planned to locate after the cemetery. It was still prior to opening hours, but I parked anyway to look through the windows (partly to decide if I should be hopeful or not). Old-timer (relocated from Bay Area) director saw me outside and opened up for me. So nice of him. He filled me in on town history and agreed to look for old telephone directories (at this point I was still not exactly sure in what lakeside town the RS's hunting & fishing camp had been located) and to see if there might be any photos of Native people of the area stashed away somewhere. No luck on the latter, but he found a repro. of a 1930's phone book. That was fun to look at--no luck per se on my people--but relatives definitely lived there by this time.

This museum was just the classic small town museum
I love these places--where there are things to discover and professionalization is just a twinkle in some earnest young employee's eye. Most of their objects date to the town's founding period and thereafter. This character (above) sits in the main, entry gallery. I love the rifle in the lap. Old-timer director says to me "Oh, the kids and teachers all just love this old skeleton." Firearms and real skeletons are NOT to be found on the exhibit floor within reach of kiddies in most museums. I just had to chuckle (I've worked in several small historical museums and they are equal parts FUN and underFUNded). The big find in this stop was a reprint of an out-of-print publication I've been wanting. It was a bit tattered, but worth buying. Thank goodness I had the forethought to put a check in my wallet for exactly such locales, where no debit or credit card would be accepted.
The cemetery was very pretty to wander through. I think I found the gravesite of one relative, but not the one(s) I really care about, so I didn't stay for too long.
I originally planned to make a quick visit to S_ville, and was 1/2 of the way there (mileage-wise), so I thought, "oh hell--I'll just go now and come back to Ch*ster in the afternoon." And so I headed E. on 36. This plan didn't last long. Repaving of mountain roads (which was happening just everywhere on this trip) meant that there were one-lane/one-way rotations over Fredony*r Pass. I stuck with this slowpace until it became clear that I was going to be wasting at least an hour each way, at which point I cut my losses and headed back to Ch*ster. This turned out to be the luckiest move I could make. It placed me at the C. Museum just a few minutes before the director just happened to come in (on her 0ff-day) to take care of some minor thing and then be gone. She was an absolute gold mine of contacts (several of whom I was able to talk with before I left) and locations, like the camp and the street on which RS later lived -- right across from another Ma*du woman (now in her 80s0--who was best friends with RS's youngest daughter. In short, I am damned happy that Caltr*ns had traffic to S_ville at a standstill, because I would not have run into the museum director in the late afternoon, and would not know of all these riches that I can tap on my next trip up. She pulled out a handful of photos, letters, and artifacts that directly or indirectly touch on RS's life and times and let me take photos of them. Among them, was the original photograph of two half-siblings of RS. I had already made a 2nd generation copy of a crappy photocopy of this image (no attribution/location of original known) at the archival repository I'd been working at the day prior. The archivist and I were wondering where in the world the original photo might be. Well, now I know. It is in a tiny little one-room museum less than 2 hours away.
The museum is located along the southern shore of the (now-dammed) and gently meandering Feather River, whose snow-melt is mostly-siphoned off by Lake A.

These basketchains were made by girls in GIS. We have one in our campus museum. The tag on ours is so faded that I was not positively sure that it was representative of what GIS was having young Native girls produce in it's basketry classes. But yesterday's museum and this one at Ch*ster have several examples of this handiwork. So now, I have no doubt about the curricular importance of weaving.

On my way out of town, museum director led me to the street where RS had lived. This was the place that the woman I'd spoken to on the phone recalled playing with RS's youngest daughter. While the older woman could not remember the exact address, museum director (2-decades younger) was pretty sure she knew. One of the houses is still standing and I was able to get a photo. Native woman is checking her photo albums for family pictures from the 20s and 30s.

These girls are the daughters of the engineer who was in charge of flooding B*g Meadows for a hydroelectrical reservoir (pictured below, from a northern perch off Hwy 36). Their names are Alice, Martha, Eleanor. Their father named the Lake by merging their first names.
I headed home by westerly route, going through I*shi country, past Child*s Meadow and Mill Creek. This is strikingly beautiful countryside and I kept waiting for a chance to take a picture. I was out of the most picturesque territory by the time a safe opportunity came. The photo below is taken between Miner*l Summit and the town of Payn*s Creek (on the map above, it is just about exactly where the hwy 36 marker is located). It overlooks the S. Fork of Battle Creek. This is a great lookout point with sweeping vistas to the NE and NW. But they just weren't good enough for me, so I had to climb up on a rock outcropping that would put me a good 4 feet higher and bring Mt. La*ssen into better view. And, and, and... I had to do this in flip-flops even though I had a perfectly good pair of hiking shoes in the back of my car. So up I went in my Niki flip-flops with my new camera in hand. Almost at the top, I begin an entirely unplanned descent. No one was there to observe this graceful slide/fall, which left me with a bloody left-hand, knee, and arm, but boy did it hurt. My injuries were sort of on par with what one would sustain falling off a bike. But I learned something really useful (apart from the proper shoe protocol): the water hoses at gas stations (meant to fill car radiators) are great for washing the blood and dust from one's scraped up legs and bruised extremities. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Shell station at Hwy 5 and 36 in R*dbluff (45 minutes from where I fell). And the Burg*r King, too--where I got a huge coke icee that kept me awake all the way home.
And so it is, that by Thursday evening we were able to celebrate our anniversary with take-out from Whole Paycheck. Their very yummy "basic [chocolate] cupcakes" (what a misnomer) and a bottle of Pinot Noir did the trick. And there was an entree of some sort in there as well, but it wasn't nearly as memorable. Eating at home was oh-so-nice and made sense given the furlough announcement we awaited the next day. Now to turn in receipts, sort through all the stuff I brought home, and then to get BACK to what I left behind.

1 comment:

participant-observer said...

coke icees always make everything better.