Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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Ran Away to the Gold Country...

I ran away to the Wild, Wild West. Or at least the home of No. 3, its train. When I am in need to escape, I run off to the Gold Country. I took a friend who shares some of my "core myths" as he put it, and went off to ride steam trains and wander through caves.

I finally got to ride one of the trains at the Jamestown Railway. This is where the remains of No. 3 live. I say "remains" because it's currently in pieces, needing major rebuild. However, it's better than last time I was there, since the carriage and boiler are in the roundhouse, and they're using the cab as a hotdog stand (funds to help support the railway). It was pretty much scattered all over, when I stopped by a couple years ago. It needs a major rebuild, and the cost is a staggering $500,000. This engine is the one everyone remembers from multitudinous westerns, Petticoat Junction, Wild, Wild West (the REAL one, not the recent movie), etc. But I've been trying to get on one of the steam trains up there for years, and always something has kept me from it. Well, finally, I've managed to do it. And found out I have a doppleganger. One of the volunteers apparently has a girlfriend who is a ringer for me, and even dresses like me and has the same hat! This is utterly weird. Still, it's kind of fun to have some of the guys there mildly flirting and saying things like "Yes, she looks just like you---gorgeous." ;-) However, I definitely need to meet the mysterious Ardis.

I also picked up a sizable amount of wine. Hmm, must be something between a collecting thing and an addiction, good wine. I have a cellar full of cases of the stuff, but I am always buying more---and always from the same wineries! But then, it disappears... ;-) And I get *really good deals* because I belong to various wine clubs. Still, I bought a couple $32 bottles, even at that, simply because it was the damned best zinfandel I've ever tasted in my life, and was only available at the winery. So, this time, I hit up Stevenot and Black Sheep, my standards, and will have to leave Shenandoah for another visit (though I bought a bottle of their reserve zin at the local Sav-Mart). I wandered a lot of little dirt backroads and found a Totally Obscure winery that way, too. Maybe next time...

I wandered through California Caverns on the walking tour, and find that it's never the same, even though I've been through a zillion times, and done the wild cave tour something like 6 times, too. I also know the proper things to say to establish myself in the company of cavers---I've done caving with SFBC. But I was startled with the owner mentioning my visit to Boyden in the '70's. And the thumb piano making cave music, which folks weren't really supposed to know about. But then he said "you said it was in honor of the guy who died in Church Cave." No. That wasn't me. I didn't know the story of the Union soldier in Church Cave, then. And I didn't really admit to doing a lot of odd stuff in my "mad biologist" days, though I vaguely recall the little experiment with "caol sidhe," a.k.a. "music of the mounds." Maybe it was Ardis!

It's funny, though. Everywhere I went, seems like I ran into folks where I had one degree of separation, and we had mutual friends. I stand at the nexus of worlds, and Calaveras County is a nexus in itself...

It was what I needed. And surprise, surprise, I came back to work today to find they'd pushed out the deadline for the realease by 2 weeks. Life is good.

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