October 8-11, 2001
This four-day trip covered 784 miles of mountainous splendor as we searched for migrating birds, then followed the original stage coach road (as closely as modern highways would allow) from Old Shasta City into Oregon, highlighting stage coach hotels en route.
Day #1. On a rainy Monday morning we traveled east on Hwy. 58. Our usual coffee break with treats and this time something special - dried salmon chunks, courtesy of Doral Etter, were enjoyed at the Waterfront Park in Oakridge. The rain had stopped. Then over the Willamette Pass leaving clouds behind and basking in sun thereafter. Our sack lunch was at Collier State Park near Chiloquin, then on to Lower Klamath Lake which is mostly dry and scarcely a bird to be seen. We visited Klamath Basin Visitor Center and were warmly greeted. A film was shown depicting birds present in a normal year with water. Proceeding on toward Redding we stopped briefly at Castle Crags R.R. Park. At 5:30 we arrived at LaQuinta Inn and a wonderful banquet dinner was ready for us at Cattlemen's Restaurant. Clinton Kane, Park Ranger, showed slides and spoke about the area we would visit the next morning.
Day #2. At 8:00 a.m. we drove to McConnel Lema Ranch with two miles of walking trails. After a morning walk it was west on Hwy. 299 to Old Shasta City, Queen City of the North, during the latter part of the 19th Century. The old court house is now a museum. A wonderfully preserved mercantile is a must-see. Next to Whiskey Town Lake where Clinton Kane joined us as a step-on guide. He told us how and why the lake was established, about the pipe system coming 11 miles through the mountain bringing water from Trinity Lake. We then saw the Kennedy Memorial, where J.F.K. stood to dedicate the dam and lake. Next was the Camden House, a historic home and stage stop. A delicious lunch awaited our arrival at the French Gulch Stage Hotel. On to the historic town of Lewiston. Te Country Peddler store - unique! While driving on a stage coach road to the old Etter Ranch we saw devastation caused by the 1999 wild fire. Stopping at the ranch the present owner, Jesse Rogers, was waiting to show us his prize mules and horses. Next to Weaverville. A little time to walk about the town, look for the Redding-Weaverville stage coach then check in at the Weaverville Victorian Inn. A lovely buffet dinner was prepared for the Obsidians at the Victorian Restaurant.
Day #3. A time in early a.m. to walk about the historic district of Weaverville. Refreshments were available in the city park during the morning hours. The museum and Joss House were of special interest; a state park ranger is narrator and guide. We enjoyed hearing about the unusual culture and doctrine of the Chinese. We started the tour of Hwy. 3 at 11:20 a.m. and stopped to observe the historic site of a battle between two Chinese factions during the 1850s. Continuing on through this beautiful country, we stopped to appreciate the Old Bowerman Barn, located near Trinity Center. Hand-built in 1878 by Jacob & John Bowerman, one can't help but marvel at the skill and ingenuity to build such a solid structure without the benefit of modern tools. Next to Carrville Inn, which was another stage coach hotel and now is a bed and breakfast inn. We were greeted and treated like royalty. They provided a place for us to have a sack lunch on their outdoor barbecue pad. We toured the hotel and heard the story of its history, also invited to walk about the 27 acres, see the farm animals, including two emus and a pot-belly pig, pick fruit from the orchard and enjoy the massive swing in the beautifully groomed yard. We said our goodbyes and continued traveling the stage coach road over Scott Mountain. Our driver, John Goddard, was superb. He executed switch-back curves with perfect maneuverability. One must experience such a road to appreciate it. Our next stop was Etna and the Scott Valley Pharmacy where owner Don Murphy greeted us with ice cream treats from the old fashioned ice cream counter. He then told us the history of Etna and showed some of his gold nuggets which are kept in his antique bank vault. We continued the drive through beautiful Scott Valley, arriving in Yreka to the AmeriHost Inn.
Day #4. Leaving Yreka, Ewart was our guide, taking us to the Court House to see the fabulous display of gold nuggets. Scenic Hwy. 99 was the route north until we came to the Klamath River where we stopped at the "State of Jefferson" Park. We had been in the imaginary "State of Jefferson" since arriving at Whiskey Town Lake approximately 12 miles west of Redding. We would continue in this state that never was as far as Ashland. Soon we were approaching the Crater Rock Museum in Central Point. We were so close yet so far from the parking lot since just that morning heavy equipment had excavated a large part of the street, leaving a huge chasm. With some difficulty we returned to the city and found a different way to the parking lot. Several museum personnel were waiting outside to greet us. Once we were inside the beauty of first-class rock displays was awesome. Next we were on I-5 north for lunch at the Wolf Creek Inn which was the last stage coach inn to visit on this trip. We dined in the dance hall; white tablecloths covered the tables and greeters and servers were friendly and the food was wonderful. Once again, Ewart was our guide to a small town of the past - Golden. Gold was mined there during the 1800s. A small church still remains in good condition and apparently is still used. As all good things come to an end we returned to Eugene at 5:15 p.m.
Riders were Mabel Armstrong, Don Baldwin, Ewart Baldwin, Helen Barnard, Barbara & Paul Beard, Mary & Richard Bentsen, John & Marian Borchardt, Nicole Chase, Mary Lee Cheadle, Kent Christoferson, Judy Dobell, Doral & Rosemary Etter, Margaret Fea, Virginia Gilbreath, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Marjorie Jackson, Jan & John Jacobsen, Ben & Pat Jeffries, Jean Jensen, Ben Kirk, Verna Kocken, Gloria Layden, John & Lenore McManigal, Bonnie McKee, Heather Marcoe, Frances Newsom, Joyce Norman, Virginia Prouty, Elizabeth Reanier, June Smith, Nan Smith, Bobbye Sorrels, Janet & Richard Speelman, Millard Thomas, Christy White, Vera Woolley and Ethel Allen & Ray Jensen, leaders.