A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Road Trip

Those words have always been music to my ears. I love to get away to someplace I haven't seen before and view the landscape, meet the people, eat in new restaurants, find new treasures. So, I thought it was a great idea to just plain sidestep Thanksgiving this year and take a real four-day holiday. After all, I have no idea when, down the horizon of my current life, any kind of vacation is in sight.

Last week, we mapped out a tentative route through the empty Clover and Dixie Valleys, with the plan to camp along the way, and end up in Quincy by Saturday afternoon, so I could visit The Wool Room there. The weather appeared to be cooperating. However, by Thursday morning, a storm was threatening, so as we were packing, we abandoned the idea of taking camping gear... after all, it would leave more room in the Jeep, right?

Also, on Thanksgiving morning, just after feeding the burros, and before my DH was even out of bed, I received a call from my brother-in-law David, on his way between San Francisco, where he had flown in from his job in Utah the previous night, to Sacramento to pick up my nieces (well, actually they are his daughters first) and head to Lake Tahoe to meet up with Grandma Diana and Grandpa Jim. David is just 14 months older than my husband. He leads a very different life than we do, but they have always been close, especially in recent years. We were disappointed when David left his job in Reno to take a new one south of Salt Lake City in October, as we were just getting used to the idea that he was so close to us, but we were glad he would be happier.

Even though we had already informed the family of our absence, there was something in the woeful tone of his voice that got to me, and when Glenn got off the phone, after confirming that "yes, indeed, we were still going on our trip", I had to say that we would miss everyone if we didn't see them for dinner, and that we could probably reconfigure our proposed loop into an ellipse of sorts to include dinner in Lake Tahoe and departure from there the next morning.... so off we drove.

One of the highlights of our evening was playing Twister with my nieces, ages 8 and 14, who really wanted to beat their dad and uncle. We also played a vicious card game called Pit (as described by the non-violent loser of the family - me).

Friday morning relatively early, we departed the Tahoe Basin. There was absolutely no snow anywhere, therefore far less people than usual. We did have to make a short stop in Truckee, at Jimmy Beans Wool, so that I could touch yarn. I bought enough to make a stuffed monkey for baby Mia, not actually breaking my vow of no gift knitting, just planning ahead for her first birthday in January. If you are looking for something unusual to knit up for the holidays, they are offering a great felted poinsetta wreath kit! They look far better than the yarn covered plastic decorations our grandmas used to fall victim to making.

We made good time back through Sierraville and into the Sierra Valley. If you have not visited this part of the west, it is a different Sierra Nevada landscape than picture postcards of Yosemite or Lake Tahoe can convey... the expanses of high mountain valleys open up the mountain sky, letting lots of light in, even on grey, rainy days such as we were having. The wide open sky is much more like Nevada than the rest of California.

There were still remnants of fall color, and stark, charcoal mountains ringed the separate Sierra, Clover, Dixie, and Genesee Valleys we passed through, covering 40 miles of dirt roads. We saw several groups of cars in Clover Valley, traveling from a Christmas tree cutting area located there, but after that, pretty much had the road and the valleys to ourselves. There was a long stretch of winding mountain road, with many glimpses of what turned out to be Indian Creek at the bottom of a canyon, before the mountains once again opened up into magical, narrow Genesee Valley.

This is one of many swimming holes located on Indian Creek. The shot was taken at one of dozens of rustic backwoods camps we came across, all in places with great water access. The light was terrible for photography, and there was a steady drizzle all day. I could not adequately capture the deep charcoal of the rock face here, nor could I get the small waterfalls bringing water to this pool.

Genesee Valley was very special, with only a few ranches, one general store (closed for the holidays), and an air of serenity that was very appealing to us. We almost hated to reach the end, but then found ourselves in Indian Valley, one of the larger of the high mountain valleys, dotted with ranches and small communities around its edges, and lots of open grassland in the middle. Both Indian and Spanish Creeks flow through this large valley, and water is abundant just under the surface. We decided to spend the rest of our time exploring the different communities here, spending Friday night in Quincy (which is actually in American Valley, just to the southwest).

Quincy is also the county seat for Plumas County, and the largest town in the area. We ate a superb dinner at Moons, a restaurant that has been there for nearly a century, and didn't even think of turkey leftovers.

This is the original Quincy school, now used as adminstrative offices, and a great representative of some of the historic buildings to be observed walking through the downtown of Quincy.

We did a little Christmas shopping, but I was unable to locate The Wool Room, and will have to consult with my friend Mary to see if it has moved recently. We wanted to make our way back through the Indian Valley in order to arrive in Taylorsville for the Christmas Lights Parade at 5:30 Saturday night, so I conceded defeat and we headed out of town... at least Quincy is only 70 miles away and I can return soon to find the Wool Room.

We had to make a brief detour up a side road as we approached Greenville, or so my DH claimed. He had lived for a summer in the area 27 years ago and wanted to check out an old mine and its surrounds, where there had been terrific historic artifacts. Now, we have been married for almost 12 years, and friends for something like 25, so I knew that brief was not the right description, and that I would be glad I had knitting to occupy me, as the rain had stopped, but the temperatures had dropped... I wasn't going along on this search, which I figured would be somewhat futile, given the amount of needle debris a forest of evergreens can produce in 27 years. Here's what I was doing while I waited:

This is the third version I had made of Jae's cabled toque, and I had decided to add an inner cotton band before beginning the cable portion, and a turned hem. I am not so sure I like the two-color effect, but you gotta admit, it works well with a Jeep steering wheel! Couldn't knit and snap a photo at the same time (don't know why not, must be dyslexic)

[Brief aside: This is the second Jeep I have had, my DH totaling the first and youngest son rolling this one, requiring extensive repairs, and I STILL love my Jeep, especially in the backcountry].

He finally decided to call it quits, just before I perished of hunger. We went off in search of coffee drinks, only to discover that the only shop in town had just closed for the day. I managed to lure him into Book Lore, on the possibility that they sold coffee, having noticed on the sign that yarn was sold within as well....

To Be Continued


Anonymous Carole said...

Sounds like a wonderful time. I love just getting in the car and going somewhere with my husband, too. Can't wait to read the rest of your adventures!

4:26 AM  
Blogger margene said...

We do know who to get what we need in simple yet (some would say) devious ways. Your trip sounds wonderful and how nice you included some family time, too.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

You were IN Greenville?

We went to the light parade too, how funny.

The wool room did move a few years ago. YOu were near it, it's behind the courthouse.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

Your road trip looked great, you have so many lovely places to visit.

1:52 PM  

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