Tuesday, April 26, 2011



         (On the road on Highway 49) The Mother Lode Highway, California 49, is some 325 miles of history.  It is a road that traces the gold rush and winds between what were once miner's camps and are now bustling towns or remains of an historic era. 
         Highway 49 crosses Pine clad mountain passes with steep grades and curves and rolls through gentle green valleys, river gorges, rolling pastures and peaceful foothills.
         Here are a collection of scenes of the Mother Lode, beyond Sutter's Creek, where gold was first discovered.  Along the way are historic echos, vibrant new energy and memorable outcroppings of history.

The rebuilt Sutter's Mill, where the rush began
when gold flecks were spotted in this creek   
The Court House in Auburn was built in 1898.

Fire houses were prominent.
Some mining tools are now,
as public sculpture.
Today it is a scene of relics, but once Mokelumne Hill was a big camp with big problems.
The miners were ethnically diverse and there were race problems.
 During a 17 week period there was at least one murder a week.  Today much of the town is a memory

Mark Twain and Bret Harte gathered stories in Angels Camp.
Today a busy town survives.

A common sight in most Mother Lode towns 
is church steeples

Signs of the Mother Lode

 Murphy's has improved on the street scenes
with a shamrock

 Old buildings and sidewalks face cars, where once there were horses and mules
 Hotels that hosted in the 1850's remain in business
So do the bars 
With some improvement in plumbing
though barely "modern."

 When a small group of miners found 5 pounds of gold nuggets in Columbia the camp swelled to 2,000 in 30 days and a town was created.  After a devastating fire, it was rebuilt in brick and the town remains as an historic park.
The hotel remains open
 as does the bar.

 The grocery is open and well stocked
 and the blacksmith wears a gun
 After the rush, as towns prospered, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows built impressive buildings on main street. They still stand, some in better shape than others.

Sonora was called the queen of the Southern Mines
and was biggest and wildest town of the southern Mother Lode. Today, the High School is a reminder of the age of elegance.
 Then there is Jack Ass Hill.
It is one of my favorite spots in the southern Mother Lode.
It was here, in this cabin, that Samuel Clements, before he was Mark Twain, camped and hung out with a group of friends.  During the stay he gathered information and stories that became part of his path to fame. The story is he first heard the tale of the jumping frog of Calavaras County up here on Jack Ass Hill.

       Today, you see a lot of frogs in the area
As I noted in another post, it is good to see that
Chinese workers, who were instrumental to building the railroads, are also recognized.
In the Mother Lode country of California history and the 21st Century flow in confluence
Cheers to the old west!

                  Stays true to the book, which we found to be an entertaining read and story.  The film brings it to life, nicely. The interesting tale, set amidst the color and atmosphere of the circus, in that time of history, makes it an enjoyable film. And, you may fall in love with the elephant.

          I AM
                 This is one of those films you "want everyone to see," realizing some get it and some will wonder, what the heck was that all about?  Actually in the case of I AM it is pretty clear.
                 This is and can be a transformational film, if you take it to heart.  Like  WHAT THE #@&*bleep DO WE KNOW,
this film goes to the essence of humanity and what it means to live. It is deep of course, but immensely entertaining and quite moving. Tom Shadyac is one of my new heroes and has done an important and genre shattering work.

See you down the trail.

1 comment:

  1. You might be interested to know that another Murphy's Restaurant and Bar sits on a corner in Prescott, Arizona. Every year they have permission to paint a big green shamrock in the middle of the intersection . . for St. Patrick's Day!