Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mines, Breweries, & Burning Pianos

I had intended to get on here several days ago to talk about our New Year’s Eve, but Matt and Alana gave me their cold (thanks guys) and it has been kicking my a#$ for four days straight. Two nights ago I actually broke down and took some NyQuil. It gave me the worst hangover I have ever experienced. I’m changing the slogan to "NyQuil. The night-time sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so- you-can-rest but feel like a zombie whose head is going to explode the next morning medicine.” I’m still all sniffly today (it’s so sexy), but the fuzziness in my brain has cleared enough for me to write at least a short, mediocre post.

So last weekend we visited Matt and Alana up in northern California. We left late Friday afternoon and drove for about six hours before stopping for the night. The whole stopping for a motel thing was a funny ordeal, because Shan had recently freaked us out with a creepy story about a wealthy man in the 1800’s who created a “Murder Hotel” (similar to the Winchester Mystery House, but with victims). Given the late hour and unfamiliar geography, every motel we stopped at from Clint’s viewpoint looked like a modern Murder Hotel, and he was like, “Nope, not this one. No on that one too. Oh, hell no.” After a dozen of these, I'm like, "Holy geez I don’t care where we stop, as long as I can take a shower,” and Clint starts reenacting horror movie scenes in which the hapless blond bimbo is butchered in the shower, to which I say, “Fine with me! As long as the water’s good and hot!” We eventually stopped at the Motel 6, which was gated, well-lit, and multi-storied, thus gleaning Clint’s approval (apparently having only one story immediately puts a motel into the ominously evil category, something you won’t find under typical Yelp reviews). In the end I got to take my heavenly, steamy, chainsaw-free shower, and we both lived happily ever after.

Great, I just spent a long paragraph discussing our journey to Motel 6, which sucks because I haven’t even dived into our official trip yet. Okay, the rest of this needs to move faster. Summary version, here we go:

Saturday morning we arrived to Matt and Alana’s house. They live on—oh damn—I want to give their street name, because it’s so funny. But that would be a huge violation of privacy, so we’ll just say it’s equivalent to living on Hillbilly Lane. Their yard is beyond awesome. They’re home is surrounded by trees and shrubs and nature, as in real nature (we saw three deers!), not stink bugs and tumbleweeds. Spellcheck is bickering at me because the plural for ‘deer’ isn’t supposed to have an ‘s’ on it, but I can’t stand it the other way, so I’m leaving it ‘deers’ (there it goes again).

Oh my goodness this summary version is NOT happening. You know what? Let’s just skip to some pictures. That seems safer than me writing.

Entrance to an old gold mine at the back of the Cosmic Cafe
 
 
Dining area within the mine (there were NO customers! Granted it was late, but how is this place not a local hangout?)
 

Clint and me in the mine
  
Remnants of an old brewery
 
The sign said "No Trespassing," which is like telling a two year-old "Don't touch that."
  
We stayed here in the Cary Hotel, a 157 year-old 'haunted' hotel that boasts "the second-oldest working elevator on this side of the Mississippi."  The kids and I rode the elevator every single time...you have to slide your own caged-door shut, and it has no concept of a smooth ride.  Technically only two riders are allowed at a time, but we figured the weight between us three was about the same as two adults.  The room we stayed in was a suite, so it was like a quaint, old-fashioned little apartment complete with a kitchenette.  I never saw any haunts, but there were a lot of things that went bump in the night.  It didn't help that our room was right next to the archaic elevator.  Okay, this is a really long caption for one photo.  One more thing, we had to walk through this really creepy dark alley every night to get into our hotel.  And there was a place right across the street called "Hang Town," the historic site where people were actually hanged.  Oh, oh, one more thing! (last one, I swear), the hotel clerk behind the counter actually said "Checking in?" in a creepy Twilight Zone-type voice when we first arrived.  Okay: end caption.    
 
Elijah, Trin and me
Replica of the Sutter Sawmill at Coloma (gold-discovery site in California)
 
 
The kids checking out a well
  
Elijah trapped in the well. But not long enough. 
 
Relaxing around a bon fire at Matt and Alana's place, waiting for the countdown.  Matt and Clint chopped up an old piano to use as fodder for our fire--you can see the keys burning on the right-hand side. It was like a Shakespearean tragedy.  On the bright-side, Matt saved all of the piano's strings, which everyone dubbed the Hell Harp because the music it produced makes a perfect sound-track for the Murder Hotel. 
  
Clint and I
 
Thought I'd end with a picture that took the reader away from Hell Harps and Murder Hotels.
 
During the countdown, several shotguns in the area were fired (including Matt's), something I'm not used to in SoCal.  And a weird siren went off for a long time.  It sounded exactly like an air raid siren.  After awhile, we were jokingly wondering, "Should we be bunkering down or something?"  Clint thinks it must have been an antique fire truck siren. 
 
Overall, I enjoyed the enthusiasm of this particular New Year's Eve, and we had a great transition into 2013.