Oct 4, 2010 70280 369.5 8:00 It is overcast this morning and looks like snow clouds over Shasta. Hopefully it will hold off until we get to Redding.
A little about the town of Tulelake before we leave it. When the segregation camp was placed here it was because there was not much around here. Tule Lake was the largest town in the area with 4,000 residents. Newell, was nothing but a farming community. Klamath Falls was smaller than Tule Lake.
Now Tule Lake has even less permanent residents and the majority of the town has been boarded up for 20-30 years. There is a hardware store that is open by appointment and a grocery that seems to be open most of the time. Other than that there isn’t much. There is a school for the kids in the surrounding area but I guess the only time there is many people around here is during the county fair. Our RV park at the fairgrounds stayed quite busy with nearly a dozen spots full. And these were big newer RV not old shabby ones.
Onto Redding. RG climbs out of the dash as soon as we get going and crawls into my lap. This is where he will stay during the entire ride. He does not walk around the RV. In fact, if I get up for any reason he stays on the seat. I have tried putting him beside me or on the computer table in front of me, but he immediately crawls back into my lap, head on my arm, facing the window.
The trip over the mountain is uneventful except for low fog in one area. It covers the cinder cone and Shasta but is only on the ground for a short distance. Over in the distance to the west we can see blue skies.
We reach Redding at 11:30, find the Redding RV park and get settled in. This is a Good Sam and a Passport America park so our two nights are only $43.12. We have full hookup and free WiFi.
RG keeps his position on the passenger seat and we head out for Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinty National Recreation Area. We will be visiting the Whiskeytown unit.
Whiskeytown was once a gold mining town, so named, or so the story goes, when a miner’s pack mule lost his load and a barrel of whiskey fell off, tumbled down the hillside and shattered, spilling the contents into the creek, thereby being christened Whiskey Creek, the small settlement that was soon established here become known as Whiskeytown.
Gold was discovered in this area in 1848 a few months after the discovery at Sutter’s Mill. First efforts were using placer mining, using picks and shovels, then eventually the miners progressed to sluice boxes and long toms. These methods allowed them to wash more dirt and gravel from the heavier gold.
Whiskeytown miners did quite well earning between $15 and $50 for an average day’s work. An eighty-one once nugget was discovered in the Mad Ox Canyon and a seven to eight pound lump interspersed with quartz but found in Whiskey Creek. The final method was the ditch system that ran for forty-one miles from the Tower House Hotel toward Horsetown. My the 1870’s the gold had all but disappeared and the miners drifted away. The water in the Clear Creek Ditch stopped flowing in 1882.
During the Depression when gold prices soared, the few farmers, ranchers and miners were able to support themselves on a subsistence level. Then in 1945 and the completion of the Shasta Dam the concept of reclaiming water for agricultural purposes became a reality. The Central Valley Project included a dam at Whiskeytown. Land was purchased and the land was cleared of most vegetation and buildings. Two of those saved were the Post Office and the schoolhouse. The cemetery was relocated below the dam. The dam was completed in 1963 and was dedicated by President JFK. The waters began to slowly cover the sleepy hamlet of Whiskeytown. Today the lake provides acres of recreational activities for thousands of people, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking and other water sports.
Interesting aspect of this dam, it is an earthen dam and the “spillway” is what is called a “glory hole” because it is shaped like a Morning Glory flower. The water spills over the glory hole and falls several hundred feet to an outlet tube.
We find the old post office and also visit the Tower House Hotel area and the Camden House on the old toll road.
We then drove to the little town of French Gulch. This was a settlement settled by a group of French miners and is still in existence. There was a forest fire that raged through here in 2004 burning 24 homes, but many have rebuilt and it is once again a quiet, sleepy town except for the logging trucks that roll through.
Found a Safeway, gassed up the car for tomorrow’s adventures, stocked up on groceries and headed back to camp. Time to get the journals sent and check our e-mails and bank accounts.