Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Open Day and Farewell Lunch, Oct 31, 2017, Ray M

Open Day and Farewell Lunch

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 7 of 8, October 31, 2017
By:  Ray M

The Farewell lunch party was held at Plates Cafe in Sacramento. More about that below.
But it is Halloween, so many came dress for the occasion:

Derek, Anne & Jean

First, we ate - a very nice buffet prepared by Plates.

Next, the entertainment!

Toronto FF Club Presentation

Toronto FF Club sang 3 songs for us - a really nice job too, especially considering this was their first rehearsal!

The one with the red nose is the choir-master
I tried to follow along but couldn't

Sacramento FF Club Presentation

In lieu of Sacramento's presentation, we heard three very touching testimonials from Plates staff -- how their lives were being turned around by the help and opportunity they get at Plates (link).

Afternoon was open with hosts. Derek and Anne went with Andy N to the Crocker Art Museum.

Dinner with hosts.

Trick or Treat with hosts at home or other Halloween activity.

In Friendship and Peace

Lake Tahoe, Oct 30, 2017, Ray M


Day Trip to Lake Tahoe

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 6 of 8, October 30, 2017
By:  Ray M

Today was the biggest driving day of the Sacramento journey -- up to the top of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and along Lake Tahoe - over 5 hours drive time, per Google.

On the way, a few stopped at Foothill Bridge. At 730 feet, it is the highest bridge in California

Bonnie, Elaine, Diane, PJ, Judy at Foothill Bridge

Meeting point at Gold Run Rest Stop on Hwy 80

Chris S gave an overview of the day's plans and some history of the area.  A monument nearby commemorating the 5000 Chinese workers that made the trans-continental railway a reality. (Our concentration was distracted due to unexpected closure of the rest-stop public toilets!)

Chris gives us an overview of the day's schedule

Derek and Elaine by the Chinese Railroad Workers monument

Chinese Railroad Workers monument: "About 1000 feet from this location is the track of the transcontinental railroad.  in 1865 thousands of Chinese in Kwantung Provice China were recruited to work on this great connection between the East and West Coast.  This monument is dedicated to the memory of those Chinese laborers who worked for Charles Crocker of the Central Pacific Railroad."

Donner Pass & Donner Lake view spot

View of Donner Lake from Donner Pass viewpoint

A cold crowd...

While there, we walked over to the petroglyphs just a short distance away.  Ancestors of the local Washoe People made these markings on glacier-scoured granite; no one knows how to interpret them (link).

Just above the petroglyphs is the China Wall, built for the railway by the Chinese workers from talus generated by the tunnel they drilled through solid granite, and with no mortar.

For more information on the history of Donner Pass, here's an interesting (link).  Here is more on the local Washoe Indians (link).

Donner Museum

Just down the hill at the other end of Donner Lake is the Donner Museum.  This is a California State Park dedicated to the commemoration of the importance of Donner Pass and the memory of the ill-fated Donner Party, a wagon train that tried to cross the pass in late October 1846, too late in the season, and got snowed in for the winter.  Luckily, even though we are there at the same time of year, we saw no snow.

Near the museum, there is a large statue dedicated to those in the Donner Party that endured the winter.  It was dedicated in 1918, over 70 years after that infamous winter.  The top cement pedestal that the statues are standing on marks the height of the snowpack during that winter.

1918 Donner Memorial Statue 

Lasagna and salad lunch at Pat and Bob’s home

We stopped for a very nice lasagna and salad lunch at Pat and Bob's 'mountain cabin' - actually, a very nice home right on the golf course right in the pine forest.

Bob and Pat's deck, partially winterized

The golf course

After lunch, we drove south along the Truckee River and toward Lake Tahoe. We made a quick photo stop at the Olympic Rings at Squaw Valley (commemorating 1960 Winter Olympics). 

Olympic Rings at Squaw Valley

Our next stop was at Lake Tahoe where it feeds the Truckee River. This is the only river draining Lake Tahoe.  It's up to 1600 feet deep.  On the average, water sits in the lake for 700 years, so the water leaving the lake today could have entered the lake when Marco Polo returned from his trip to China.

Stop at “Fanny Bridge” in Tahoe City.

A good place to see the Tahoe dam and see the fish in Truckee River is from 'Fanny Bridge':

From the plaque:
"Fanny Bridge has its name in folklore. 
According to a story told by columnist David J. Stollery Jr., in 1928 the road crew foreman gave the name "Fanny McGillicuddy Wilkerson" to the bridge in honor of his maiden aunt.  The name was abbreviated over the years to simply "Fanny" Bridge.
However, folklore has it the name derives from more obvious circumstances.  Fanny Bridge is built across the Truckee River at the lake's edge.  Rainbow trout feeding at the outlet attract rows of people lined up along the bridge and bent over the side for a better look at the trout!"

We also saw ---  Canada Geese!!

Driving along the eastern side of Lake Tahoe, we eventually came to . . . .

Emerald Bay Overlook

This spectacular bay is thought to be a result of glacial scouring.

At the Emerald Bay overlook
At the head of the bay is Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States. Laura Knight bought 250 acres in Emerald Bay in 1928 for $250,000. It took 200 men 1 year to build, then she furnished the interior from her travels to Scandinavia.  She even had a tea house for high-tea on the little island in Emerald Bay.

Kathy D and Gloria T, and the Emerald Bay island with the tea-house on top
The photographer for the group photo, and somebody's ear

Tallac Historic site

Our last stop along Lake Tahoe was the Tallac Historic site, where the elite relaxed and enjoyed the lake in the 1880's - 1920's.  This is all a California State Historic Park now.  The historic log 'cabins' were all boarded and winterized so we could just see the exterior.  And since it is Fall, the gardens did not hint of their spring beauty.

The sun was getting low, so we left Lake Tahoe to return to Sacramento via US-50 over Echo Summit.

In Friendship and Peace

Open day with hosts. Oct 29, 2017, Ray M

Open day with hosts

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 5 of 8, October 29, 2017
By:  Ray M

Today was an open day with hosts, so everyone's day was different.  Here are some examples.

Elaine and Diane

Saw Sutter's Fort, went to Ione for wine tasting (liked M2 Winery), saw a documentary about a Pakistani band and their issues with the Taliban.

In Friendship and Peace

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Farm to Fork and Wineries, Oct 28, 2017, Ray M


Farm to Fork and Wineries

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 4 of 8, October 28, 2017
By:  Ray M

Trip to Apple Hill Enjoy the crafts and all the apple products like a delicious apple fritter or donut.
11:45 am Lunch (provided) at Linda and Ned B.'s cabin

Apple Hill

Each year in the Fall, the apple orchards in Apple Hill put on a big festival. Lots of apple pies, fritters, other good things to eat.

Coloma - 1848 Gold Discovery

Many of our group went to Coloma (gold discovery site) instead of (or in addtion to) going to Apple Hill.

PJ, Elaine, Diane, Sophie at Sutters Mill monument at Coloma on American River

Diane at Sutters Mill (re-creation of original mill)
James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River. This event was the spark that ignited the spectacular growth of the West during the ensuing decades. The gold discovery site, located in the still visible tailrace of Sutter's sawmill, in present day Coloma California, is one of California's most significant historic sites. (excerpted from park website)

James W. Marshall found  shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building for himself and John Sutter. This discovery in 1848 changed the course of California's and the nation's history.   The photo above shows a replica of the original sawmill. Over 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits are nearby.

Lunch get-together

We all (except Aubrey and Sally F) met at Linda and Ned B's cabin up in Pollock Pines.
Lunch included wraps, potato salad and a nice garden salad -- and pies!...

Pie time!  Lynn M, Kathy H, Bonnie, and our hostess Linda B

Lunch - view from the balcony. (and many others ate on balcony)

Amador Wineries

Elaine, PJ and Diane checking out wines at Turley Wine Cellars

Home-Hosted Dinners

Eleven Sacramento FF members homes hosted dinners for the Canadian ambassadors and theri home-hosts. Good food, good conversations, and good wine.

In Friendship and Peace

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Giant Sequoias and Gold Rush Country, Oct 27, 2017, Ray M

FF Toronto Ambassadors with FF Sac Hosts on 'The Big Stump'

FF Toronto Ambassadors on 'The Big Stump'

Giant Sequoias and Gold Rush Country

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 3 of 8, October 27, 2017
By:  Ray M

Calaveras Big Trees State Park picnic
12:00 noon Meet in picnic area at noon for lunch (provided).

First, a group photo on the "Big Stump" - what is left of the "Discovery Tree", the largest tree originally in the North Grove.  This tree was cut down by speculators in 1853. It was over 280 feet tall.  Despite the size, the ring count showed that it was only 1244 years old.  Some in the grove are much older.    The speculators re-assembled the bark back east for a road show, but was destroyed by fire one year later.  No saw was large enough, so they used augers to drill holes through the tree (visible marks on fallen trunk).  The stump was planed flat for a dance floor.

Then a nice walk along the North Grove trail ...  Another group picture at the 'Empire Tree'.  The Empire tree is probably the largest giant sequoia in the North Grove (at least in terms of mass).  Base diameter is 30 feet, and 4.5 feet above the ground it is 20 feet.  See us?

Here's a zoom-in of the base of the tree.

Elaine D

After the walk, we were on our own.  Some stopped to look around in the historic town of Murphys for antiques or wine tasting. And some continued on for more wine tasting at Ironstone Winery on a little back road not far from Murphys. Ironstone has beautiful winery grounds and vineyards, as well as a small museum with some very interesting mineral specimens including this one. http://www.ironstonevineyards.com/About-Ironstone/Museum-and-Gold-Leaf-Specimen. 

The gold nugget is named the Kautz specimen and weighs in at 44 pounds of gold.  This is the largest specimen of crystalline gold in the world.  The specimen consists of many layers of leaf gold separated by rock. This is the largest piece of gold mined in North America since the 1880s, it was discovered on Dec 26, 1992 near Jamestown in Tuolumne County, CA.

Elaine, Carol, Bernadette, Diane with Kautz gold nugget

Angels Camp, Jackson and Sutter's Creek are all historic towns along the drive.

Dinner with hosts.

In Friendship and Peace