Northwest Summer 2007 travel blog

Curvy Steep Road - Hwy 49 going North

Coulterville - entering Motherlode Country

My Hotel in Coulterville

View on Hwy 49

View on Hwy 49

View from our campsite in Columbia

Columbia State Historical Park

Jamestown - Railtown 1897 State Historical Park

Train leaving

Witch Creek - Gold discover here in 1848


Engine in roundhouse

Short car in roundhouse

Engine in roundhouse

Car that drives on track

Left over movie signs

Movie backdrop

Movie smokestack to make train look "period"

The train we took a ride on

We drove to Columbia State Historic Park and got a campsite nearby. We were here once before for a quick tour. This time we get to take our time. This is one of the gold rush towns. We took Highway 49 all the way here. Very curvy and lots of steep hills and steep downhills. Our fuel mileage went way down. Campsites here are kind of expensive. We have been paying $35 a night and we are used to paying half that.

On the way here yesterday we stopped at Coulterville for lunch. It is a town built in 1850 and remains pretty much intact. We went through their museum and walked the town. It is roughly 2 blocks long.

The next day we took a tour of Columbia State Historical Park. We waited for the Ranger to take us around. We have been here before but we toured it ourself. This time we wanted to have an expert explain things to us. Gold was discovered here in 1850 and there was 10,000 people here two years later. The original town was wood and it burnt down. Later it was rebuilt in brick. Those brick buildings have been fixed up and that is what we toured. The all have steel doors and shutters for fire control. The guide said that they were taking out $100,000 of gold daily at it's peak.

Then we drove back south a few more miles to Jamestown. There we went through Railtown 1897 State Historical Park. First we went on a train ride pulled by a steam engine. The we took a guided tour of the roundhouse and saw the engines and their favorite engine that is undergoing a restoration. This is the engine that was used in hundreds of movies and television shows. It is costing them 1 million for the restoration. The have a huge number of volunteers that do all the restorations, drive the trains and work at the park. It must be a costly operation. The number 34 train that is in the roundhouse is in the process of being purchased for a cost of 1 million. It was owned by somebody who never moved it out of the roundhouse and has been paying storage for the past 20 years. The park is buying it back. The movie people often built sets along the train track and they leave signs with the park.

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