21 November 2014

Guns & Beer - What Could Possibly Go Wrong? {Old Californian Mining Towns}

After our visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California, we stopped at a very dodgy motel for the night in Oroville. It was the type of place where I'm pretty sure at least every other person had an outstanding warrant for their arrest. And I'm not talking about traffic violations either. You wondered if your car would be broken into when you woke up in the morning or if your car would even be there at all. Scott got quite the shock when he came out of our room early the next morning to find the cops standing out there looking for someone. They shone their lights at Scott to check him out. You'll be glad to know he wasn't the guy they were looking for. It might not seem like a big deal to our New Zealand readers, but remember, cops in the States carry guns. All the time. It isn't like in New Zealand where they keep them locked up and only bring the out for special operations. Who needs coffee to wake up when you get armed cops shining bright lights in your eyes?

Needless to say, we got out of Oroville fast. By 6:40 AM, we were on our way! Our plan was to head down to Yosemite National Park. That was the extent of any planning or research we did about the journey down there. So it was quite the pleasant surprise to find that Route 49 is littered with quaint old mining towns nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The great thing about not having any real fixed plans is that when you run across something interesting, you can stop and explore without worrying about where you need to be and by when.

We stopped at Auburn, Plymouth, Placerville and Jackson. Great places to snap some photos of old buildings and signs. Sorry, now you have to look at some of them.


We spent the night in Sonora at a decidedly less dodgy place than the place in Oroville. It was clean, nobody was making porno movies and, best of all, the cops never stopped by. We had a fantastic dinner at a family run taquiera. Great food, amazing salsas (especially the tomatillo one!) and half the price of the Mexican restaurant across the road. Delicious.

After dinner, we stopped by and had a beer at a combo bar and gun shop. Yep, you read that right. They sell beer and guns at the same establishment. What could possibly go wrong? Fascinating place. The bartender was a nice guy and the folks drinking beer seemed pleasant enough. Of course, their conversation revolved around what guns they owned and what guns they wanted to buy. I've never owned a gun and don't plan on owning one so I couldn't really relate. However, I did admire how they decorated the bar for Breast Cancer Awareness Month - have you ever seen taxidermy and pink garters before?

We explored old Californian mining towns, avoided getting arrested and only bought beer (no guns) on 23 October 2014.


  1. 'Merica. Guns. Beer. Police. Porno. You are seeing all the attractions! Plus classic antlers in decorating. Welcome!

    1. So true - let's just hope we don't see them all at once!


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