Virginia City

After the Geiger Lookout Wayside Park, it was another thirty minutes to Virginia City. Give or take a minute or two or three. Or something like that. I hadn’t been here in over twenty years. Probably more like twenty-three years. Maybe. I remember being awed the first time around. So full of life and promise and vestiges of the old west! It still seemed like that to me even now, but I felt like I was able to appreciate it on a different level than I did over two decades ago.

I first stopped when I came across the “Welcome to Virginia City!” sign. It was situated just a short distance outside town, off the road enough so that a few cars would have room enough to pull aside and snap photos. Like I did. I snapped a couple. Another car showed up and the occupants piled out, jabbering away amongst themselves. I shyly hung back while they took photos of each other in front of the sign.

I saw my opportunity and offered to take a photo of them all together. They liked this offer and, once I had done so, they took a photo of me in front of the sign.

Success!

We piled back into our respective vehicles, now friends of a sort, and went our separate ways.

Continue reading “Virginia City”

Geiger Lookout Wayside Park

I left Reno around 10:30am or so. I blasted out the country music from my new favorite station over the speakers, the AC still only partially working. It was warm out, but not unbearably so. I sped through the desert in a horseless carriage with a name and enjoyed the differing contrast between where I was now and my usual stomping grounds in California.

After leaving the main interstate, I turned onto a smaller, older stretch of highway that would take me to Virginia City. At this time of day, from Reno to the old west town, it was roughly an hour. About twenty or twenty-five minutes into my sojourn, I came across signs indicating a look-out point where one could view the scenery.

Hey, why not? I thought excitedly.

What? Blink blink.

I wasn’t from around here. I wanted to soak up as much as I could. So, I approached the Geiger Lookout Wayside Park with the curiosity of one wondering what their gifts under the Christmas tree might contain.

Continue reading “Geiger Lookout Wayside Park”

Lachryma Montis: General Vallejo’s Estate- SSHP, Part 3

According to the park ranger at the Mission San Francisco Solano (which I talked about in Part 2), I was to drive three blocks west, and then make a right on Third Street. Had it been colder outside, I would have walked; but I find the heat draining- like my energy is being sucked from my lifeless corpse- so I couldn’t muster up the will-power to do so. Although it generally depends on the temperature. High 70s, maybe. Mid-80s and above? Nope. I wouldn’t do well living in the desert, although I suppose I’d eventually get used to the heat.

The drive leading up to the estate was long and lined with trees; they acted almost like sentries guarding the gates to a medieval castle. I couldn’t make my car go very fast on it (speed limits, you understand), but that worked to my advantage. The slower speed allowed me to not only get to my destination safely, but also to better enjoy my surroundings. Being so close to the main part of the city, I felt like I was in the countryside, miles away from everyone and everything. Had I been able to find a country station that came in, I would’ve been blasting it out my speakers.

A bike path intersected the road and I slowed down, allowing a skateboarder to cross, before continuing on my way. As hot as it felt outside when I was by the Sonoma Plaza, it honestly didn’t feel as warm here at Vallejo’s home. More than likely due to the level of foliage and trees here. Or maybe it was the breeze that decided to greet me?

Hi, friend! Here’s a little something to soothe ya!

From the parking lot, just beyond a pearly-blue gate I could see a two-storied white house. But before I could get there, I first had to go through the gate into another building just to the right. It was here that I triumphantly brandished my receipt from the mission. I was given a laminated pamphlet with information on the home- and a map of the home’s interior- and sent on my way.

First, though, before going outside, I took a moment to gaze at some of the artifacts on display, amongst which was an old carriage once used by the Vallejo family.

Continue reading “Lachryma Montis: General Vallejo’s Estate- SSHP, Part 3”

Mission San Francisco Solano- SSHP, Part 2

Situated across the street from the barracks (in Part 1 of my trip to Sonoma State Historic Park) was the mission. It was part of the El Camino Real: a road that connected almost two dozen Spanish missions and stretched from San Diego to Sonoma. Cool, no? You can see the bell-shaped markers alongside wherever the road itself once was (or is). I’ve included a picture of one just above.

I stepped along the front porch and opened the solid wood door and found myself in a small entry way. Behind a desk sat a park ranger. I paid the $3 that would allow me into the building; not expensive and the one-time fee would also allow me entry into Vallejo’s estate and, if I so desired, the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park. I didn’t ultimately go there this time; but I shall, perhaps, in the future.

In what had once been the dining room were water-colored pictures of most of the Spanish missions that dotted the El Camino Real. According to the laminated pamphlet I was giving upon entering the building, these were done in the early 1900s. I took my time gazing at them. I loved that someone had taken the time to do all these at one point in history.

Nowadays, all you have to do is point a camera and…click! So fast and easy. Back then? Painting and sketching was easier- and less expensive- than taking a picture with one of those clunky cameras. And then you had to wait for the film to be developed, too. As I admired the pictures, I recognized another one I’d been to in Carmel probably around twenty years ago? I know I had been in grade school then, but I don’t remember much else about that venture. Continue reading “Mission San Francisco Solano- SSHP, Part 2”