Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dunsmuir Part 1

After an exciting week in Red Bluff, I moved camp to Dunsmuir. The name of the RV park is Railroad Park RV Park. How can a guy go wrong with a campground with a name like that? They have about 20 railroad cabooses that are permanently sitting on tracks and are all plumbed and have electricity. They have been remodeled inside and have air conditioning, but the outside looks just like they did while in service with various western railroads. You can rent a caboose to stay in just like you would a motel room.

The interiors are all different, but the middle Santa Fe in the above picture has the following interior. There is a complete bathroom at the far end.

The RV campground is just up the hill from the cabooses. When I arrived on a Wednesday, I just about had the whole campground to myself. By the weekend the campground was close to full. I sure like the sent of pine and all the cool shade. The only draw back was that I could not make contact with the DirecTV satellite. However, I did not miss it one bit, because I was very busy doing other things. I thought I would have a lot of free time while there, but I kept finding more and more interesting things to do and photograph. Anyway, here are a few photos of the campground and the stream that was about 150 feet from the coach.

Check back later for the next part of what I found in Dunsmuir.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Red Bluff

The town of Red Bluff has been around a while. Back in the days when steam boats went up and down the Sacramento River, well-to-do folks that lived in San Francisco wanted to move away from all that so they built lavish Victorian style homes in this area. I will post a few pictures of them, but first a little about the Down Town. One of the main commercial buildings in Red Bluff was the Cone-Kimball Building. It was built in 1886 and housed Zuckwilers department store. There was a clock tower on top of the building which brought a total height of 100 feet.

In 1984 the building burned to the ground. The town's prized icon was gone. The city fathers thought about the problem for a few years and in 2008 they put the finishing touches on a replica of the clock tower and placed it on the same corner lot where once stood the original tower. The new tower is only 75 feet tall but it sits on the ground and not on top a building. It has beautiful sounding chimes that sound on the hour.

Once again the cities icon can be seen from I-5 that is less then a mile away.

By far, the biggest attraction are the dozens and dozens of Victorian homes of all types. They are all privately owned and people are living in them. There is, however, on Victorian home that is now a museum. I went through it and found it interesting. Some take great pride in their homes and some have none, but the ones that do, display what these works of art looked like back when they were new buildings. Here are just a few that I photographed :

When I was taking a picture of the last picture above, the owner was outside and asked me, if I would like to take a look at his back yard? I said, "Sure would!" He took me all around his very well groomed yard. He had converted an old carriage house into a "potting shed" for his wife. He also added on the room over the porch. It looks like it was on the house originally.

Anyway, if you are the least bit interested in Victorian style homes, stop in Red Bluff and get a tour map then plan to spend a good deal of time feasting your eyes.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Old Putty Putt


I saw in the "things to do in Red Bluff" list at the campground office that the Red Bluff Fire Dept. has a museum and is open from 9 o'clock to Noon on Thursdays. I thought I would love to see that! Well, wouldn't you know it, the day I saw this was Friday and I would be leaving town on the next Wednesday. When I expressed my disappointment to the lady behind the desk, she told me that her husband was a city fireman and she knew how much the firemen loved to show off their Jewel of a fire engine. On the following Monday, I stopped by their fire station and told the person behind the counter my situation. He told me that the fireman in charge of the museum was not in at that time, but would have him give me a call when he came back. About an hour later, I received a call and he said that he would be glad to open the museum and show me around.

So I drove over to the address that he gave me and he had the doors wide open and introduced himself. His name is David Carr and is one of six full time firefighters in the city. The first thing he showed me was their 1918 White fire engine. It was the City's first motorized fire engine.
Update: The Red Bluff Fire Department has 9 full-time rank and file staff, 3 full-time admin. and 25 reserve firefighters. - Thanks Dave

It served the City of Red Bluff for many years. It runs perfect and it got its nick name from the sound it makes "putty putt". They have a right to be very proud of putty putt, because they have taken excellent care in restoring it to its original glory.

David also showed me one of the original "fire plugs" that were used to cover the access to the city underground cisterns.

We spent about an hour together and I have a lot more pictures of the old fire house, but no room to post them here. Jim, I'll show and tell you all about it when I get back to Apple Valley.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

World's Largest Sundial

This post is for all you AiResearch engineers at the Retirees Luncheon tomorrow. This sundial, which is 217-feet tall, cable stayed, cantileverd pylon. No part of the 710-foot glass, steel and marble deck of the bridge enters the Sacramento River below in Redding, CA.

The cables are about 2.5 inches in diameter. It is strictly a pedestrian bridge (bicycles are allowed at less then 5 mph). At night there are lights on the underside that illuminate the water below. The pylon actually casts its massive shadow on an extensive garden-lined dial plate inlaid with brass time markers.

There was a lot of controversy from the locals about building this bridge. It is a "bridge to nowhere" they said...but then the bridge over the Royal Gorge is also a bridge to nowhere. If you ever get to Redding, stop and check it out as you stroll across the World's Largest Sundial.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Manzanita Lake

No tour of Lassen Volcanic National Park would be complete with out stopping at the beautiful Manzanita Lake near the north entrance. Even with the cloudy weather, the lake displays its beauty. Here are several pictures that I took just before it started raining. Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarger then.

The view that is the most spectacular is when you can see the reflection of Lassen Peak on the lake with blue skies. I had everything except the blue skies.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lassen Volcanic National Park

The weather forecast for the next several days is for thunder storms and showers in the afternoons. Especially in the mountains and foothills. Well, one of the places that I have never been in all the 71 years of living in California, is Lassen Volcanic National Park. After moving my camp from Lodi to Red Bluff and getting set up again, I decided to adventure out early the next morning to visit Lassen. Hopefully, I would be ready to leave before the weather got bad. The skies had broken clouds when I arrived at the entrance to the park. However, that quickly changed to heavy clouds with some periods of small hail the farther up the mountain I went.

I did stop and see a boiling mud pot shortly after I left the entrance.

At the summit, was where pea-size hail started falling.

It did not last very long. In fact, as I traveled slowly down the mountain, there was a break in the clouds and the sun shone through.

But with all this snow and cold weather, a beautiful flower can still grow for us to observe.

It was very beautiful up there even with all the stormy weather. There were very few people up there and I could travel just about as slow as I wanted without someone needing to pass. A GREAT DAY!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tour Of The Chocoholics Factory

This morning I was on the Internet checking out the Lodi area for things to do when I came across this tour of the Chocoholics chocolate factory. I looked it up and found that it was in the small town of Clements not far from Lodi on Highway 12. I grabbed my camera and headed that way.

It is a self guided tour and while I was there, was about the only one doing it. Their production line was shut down, because this is the slow time of the year for them. Fall is when they are getting ready for Christmas and Valentin's. I was able to observe one lady filling boxes with candy.

When I was finished with the tour, I went into the Gift Shop, which is in an old IOOF building, and found out a little bit about Chocoholics from Maile who was working behind the counter.

They have been in business for about 10 years and from what I could see in the Gift Shop, have some very attractive products. Here is just a taste.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Western Railway Museum

One of the places that I for sure wanted to visit on my trip north was the Western Railway Museum which is located between Rio Vista and Fairfield, CA. They specialize in electric railway equipment. They have over 100 well preserved streetcars, interurbans, and electric locomotives.

One of the more popular streetcars that they occasionally bring out is the "Boat Car" that was built in England 1934 and ran for a number of years in Blackpool.

I, however, was fortunate enough to take a ride in a 106 year-old interurban (the red car below). We traveled some 4.5 miles to the end of the overhead wire and back. It was such a beautiful day for a rail ride in the country. Upon arrival back at the museum, I took a shorter ride in a Birney Safety Car (the green car below).

Upon taking the tour of of the well preserved railroad cars that are stored in their fairly new $2.5 million car barn, the guide told us the story about this particular tank car. A few decades ago, railroad workers did not move rail cars unless they had work orders to do so. Somehow the paper work for this tank car got lost so the workers set it out on a siding until the paper work caught up with it. Well, the paper work never did show up so it sat on that siding for over 20 years. By that time the car was obsolete. The railroad cleaned up the car and gave it to the museum as an example of its type of construction and features (notice the rivets that our guide is pointing to). They don't make tank cars with side boards anymore. It is in almost perfect condition and looks like it just came out of the factory. You can tell it was from a long time ago, because there is no graffiti on it.

I spent most of the day there and had a great time. I took about 135 pictures while there and have put them into a slide show with music and sound effects to go along with my other treasured slide shows.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Jelly Belly Factory

When I checked into the Flag City RV Resort in Lodi, I saw in their "Things to do" while at the campground list, to take a tour of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield. I thought that would be a good thing to do. So, this morning I drove over there and found myself standing by their logo in front of their factory.

I arrived early enough to be in the first tour group of the day. There must have been around fifty or so of us. The first thing they do is have everyone in the tour put on an official tour hat.

They do not allow people to take pictures while on tour, so I will give a brief description of what we saw. Millions of jelly beans. How is that for brief? You will have to come take the tour and find out for yourself what process they use to create them. It does take about three (3) weeks to make a batch, however. How would you like to have the job of stamping Jelly Belly on every bean that comes off the line? They have 50 official flavors and a bunch of un-official flavors as well. After the tour we were all given a small bag of Jelly Bellies and were able to sample any and all the flavors and also pick up the factory seconds, known as Belly Flops, in the gift shop.

The Jelly Belly first came out in 1976 and Ronald Reagan gave them a lot of publicity, both as California Governor and as U.S. President. I did not hear how many jelly beans they produce in a year, but it has to be in the trillions. The picture below was made with over 10,000 Jelly Bellies.