Trip Meter 1/2 mile
Thursday April 10, 2014
Joan and I rolled into Columbia, California yesterday late afternoon, and got set up in the Marble Quarry RV Park. We only had time for a very short walk before dinner and turn-in for the night, so today we decided to stay another day and do some exploring.
Yesterday we saw some awesome large marble boulders and I put some pictures in our blog. The RV Park map shows a trail to the Quarry which is located entirely on the RV Park property. Today we took the trail, and saw a place where many large slabs had been quarried.
The Bell Marble Quarry is smaller than I had suspected, and I could not find any information on when the operation started or why it closed. There may be more areas that were worked, but there was so much poison oak everywhere that I wasn't about to hike around to find them.
The reason this area has so many large exposed boulders is because the miners used high volume, high pressure water cannons to wash the soil (and gold deposits) down into their sluices, leaving only boulders.
After our hike, we came back to the RV for some lunch, and while we were eating, we got a call from the front desk, telling us a customer was pitching a fit about not being sited next to their two friends in the park, and wanted to know if we would consider moving. Well- we actually were considering moving, but were too lazy to actually do something about it. We didn't care for this particular spot. Too close to the screaming kids in the pool and it's on the only driveway out of the park which was too much traffic for us, and the sun beats down on this spot all afternoon. So we jumped at the chance to move to a nice shady spot, on a dead-end road at the back of the park.
Quiet, cool and comfortable- our new home for the afternoon and night.
We took one of the trails out of the RV park that was supposed to take us down to the Columbia State Historic Park.
The trail petered out on us and the poison oak started closing in, so we dodged over to a gravel road we saw in the distance, and happily that took us to the park. Columbia State Park is a resurrection of old downtown Columbia back in the 1860's.
There is no admission to the park, so we walked the main streets and looked in on the shops that were open. Some of the shops were set up as they might have been back in the day, others were actual stores, that sold goods like leather, groceries, ice cream, liquor, and the like, keeping as much to the period as they reasonably could.
Your Traveling Friends
The town had been completely razed by fires, once in 1854 and a second time in 1857, so a lot of the local buildings are resurrected from the "newer" brick structures put up after the 1857 fire. At the second reconstruction of the downtown, seven 14,000 gallon water storage cisterns were excavated below the streets as a water source for their hand pump fire "truck".
That fire system was in effect up until 1950 when a piped system with hydrants was finally installed.
Joan and I took a short drive into the nearby town of Sonora, and did some shopping at the local Wally World, and shared a large espresso drink from Starbucks, before returning to the RV and sitting in the shade to read our books.
The wifi at most RV parks is typically really bad- meaning that you can either just get enough bandwidth to check your e-mail or even so bad you lose your patience while tying to check your e-mail. We are so very glad to have the ability to do most of our web-work on our cellular equipped i-Pad or to use the i-Pad for a hot spot. This location is testing our internet capability in that we have extremely poor wifi in the park, and we are also so far up in the country that our cellular is sketchy.
Tomorrow we will get back on the trail north, heading up California route 49 which will take us north and west away from the foothills and back towards the I-5 corridor. Maybe Cal 45 north out of Woodland will save us from taking I-5 all the rest of the way. By the time we get to Redding there is no other way (sigh!)
Jeff and Joan