Water Is An Important Political Issue Everywhere:The Battle For The Hetch Hetchy Valley

It is true isn’t it??  Water really is an important political issue everywhere you go and no matter where you live.

Why this post today?  Hetch HetchyYosemiteSan Fransisco.  Water.

I always traveled a lot.  For business and of course, for pleasure.  What is more fun for you and your family than to travel to new lands or to old familiar places, visiting friends and family, learning new languages and cultures.

When I was young, before I retired and air travel was luxurious, I sometimes would get on a plane Friday night after work, go somewhere and be back at my desk Monday morning.  I had friends in the airline industry and was lucky enough to do some flying for free on Stand-By.

One of the things I enjoyed no matter where I visited was to drive the local communities, get out in the countryside and see how people lived.  And you could not miss seeing what the hot-button political issues were.

And Number 1?  No matter where you were?  Water!

Everywhere there would be signs about local water issues, statewide water issues.

Signs covering each race, Republican or Democrat in the U.S., local parties in Canada or Mexico.  The fences in  the country would often be covered with signs about water.  Water Rights.  The cost of water.  The need to damn a river or a creek.  The desire to remove the turbines.  What politician was o n what side of the issue about water.

Signs covering opponents signs.

And nearly every sign asked for money.  Money to fight the good fight, whether that be Yes to a Dam or No to a reservoir.  They all wanted money.  And they wanted more money.

It was the same everywhere.  Moe water, Access to water.  Farmers needed it more.  Cities needed it more.  Developers needed it more.

My god.

So what started me on this tirade today?

Growing up my Grandmother was always against building dams and reservoirs.  Against sending “our” water to other areas and people.  They always trucked it out in the middle of the night sending it down south to Los Angeles.  And she just knew we needed it more.  And the farmers needed it the most.

Now there is a very significant political issue in California.  A water issue.

Even if you don’t live in California you have heard of the Yosemite Valley.  You may have even visited.  Or want to.

But you may not have heard of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

So what is the Hetch Hetchy and why is it important in 2012.

Hetch Hetchy is the long-lost geological twin of Yosemite.  Long-lost because California politicians and big businesses dammed the Tuolumne River and flooded the Hetch Hetchy Valley in  1923, after a decision a century ago, creating a reservoir that continues to provide water to the citizens of San Francisco and the surrounding areas even today.

Important today because the current citizens of San Francisco will soon vote on whether or not to “un-flood” the Hetch Hetchy and find new water supplies for the people of San Francisco.

How do you un-do a dam and a reservoir?  Where do you find water for more than a million people in a state that often is big-time thirsty due to droughts.

Understand this:  due to the decision 00 years ago to build the dam and flood the valley, sending the water to San Francisco, the people in the city today have pristine, pure drinking water coming out of their faucets.  I have no idea how much bottled drinking water is sold in San Francisco but I would bet it is much less on average than other California cities.

An unending supply of water for more than one million people, 7 of California’s population, the turbines in the dam provide hydroelectricity to homes and skyscrapers, streetlights & traffic signals, swimming pools, restaurants, and fun spots, and all of this for less than $30,000 per year.

Politics?  Money?  Big business?  City vs country?  Developer vs farmer??

It is all revisiting San Francisco and the State of California today.

Eventually it will be broadly understood what an abomination a reservoir in a valley like Yosemite Valley really is,” Donald Hodel, the former interior chief, told The Associated Press. “I think it will be hard to quell this idea (of restoration).  It is like ideas of freedom in a totalitarian regime. Once planted they are impossible to repress forever.”

Over the past decade, studies by the state and others have shown it’s possible for San Francisco to continue collecting water from the Tuolumne River further downstream.

But the city never seriously has considered giving up its claim to the valley.

“This is a ridiculous idea,” Mayor Ed Lee said. “It’s a Trojan Horse for those that wish to have our public tricked into believing we have an adequate substitute for the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. We do not. There isn’t any.”

Read more here
I don’t quite understand the current dynamics.  This Bee article above say the Republicans want to return Hetch Hetchy to its’ natural state while Democrats, led by Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein  want to leave it flooded.  That means the Republicans support John Muir and the Sierra Club??
I guess times have changed.  I don’t know the thinking of the current Sierra Club.  Perhaps they don’t want to see the natural beauty of the Hetch Hetchy Valley??  Yes, they do!   Read their thoughts right HERE.
 Even with Republican support. Even with Democratic opposition.
David Brower, former Executive Director of the Sierra Club  says in the above article “The Hodel proposal produced the expected panic in San Francisco. Mayor Dianne Feinstein wanted it shredded. Alarmists (and I can tell one when I see one) warned that the alternative to Hetch Hetchy would be the proposed and despised Auburn Dam and Peripheral Canal and other adjustments, the cost of which would probably total six billion dollars. The media reported all this with but a halfhearted attempt to check. A forester told them how long it would take the trees to grow, and a reclamation writer told how long it would take for the lake bed to dry out and be usable. The mayor understandably did not want San Francisco to lose the thirty million dollars a year from the sale of Hetch Hetchy project electricity.At the time I had been advocating that the Sierra Club initiate a second Remove Secretary Watt petition campaign, this time aimed at his successor. And now I was confronted with the need to praise Secretary Hodel for his brilliant suggestion. Here at last, I could assume, he had realized that because he had been wrong he didn’t have to stay wrong.”
 And I have no idea why the Republicans are supporting the effort, they are the folks who flooded it to start with right?  They must smell money somewhere in the deal.  Increased water rates, utility rates and more.
And the other side is afraid that San Francisco will lose their water, certainly their clean drinking water and that water and electricity will cost more.
I guess times have changed.  I think I just heard my old friend John Muir roll over in his grave!  Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet joining his beloved Sierra Club and supporting their causes?  What is it?  Opposite Day??
Do you Twitter?  You can follow @HetchHetchy  and @Sierra_Club and check out all of the Sierra Club Twitter accounts to find your local club.

Peach Season and California Peaches

English: Autumn Red peach. Français : Pêches E...

English: Autumn Red peach. Français : Pêches Español: Durazno cortado por la mitad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My years seem to be driven by fruit seasons here in California and summer is peach season (well melons and strawberries too).  But back to California peaches.

I used to have a friend down near Modesto, kind of hot and dusty but great peach country.  And Smith Ranch was among the best.  My friend would buy a few flats and ship one to me!  Heaven.  A peach that ripens on the tree and is packed with care.  Don’t let supermarket peaches fool you.  Don’t let their advertisement about “they continue to ripen after they are picked” fool you.  Most fruit dies when it is picked and immediately begin to spoil.

Peaches are one of those fruits, and they are best when they fully ripen on the tree.  If you can’t get them directly off the tree shop at your local farmers market, definitely.  As they say, Dare to eat a peach…

It is almost the season for California’s famous O’Henry peaches, but I don’t bake.  I like to eat them in my hand, juice running down my arm and all over my mouth!!

So it is also almost the season for beautiful Cal Reds.  I learned about Cal Reds shopping with Frog Hollow Farms.  They have a few California fruit stands including one at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  Their farm is nearby so their products are same-day fresh.  They also have baked goods so check em out on their website if you can’t get to one of their market sites.

And buy Cal Reds, O’Henry’s, as well as the juicy & sweet California white peaches.

David Mas Masumoto, the Fresno organic farmer and author of the beloved book Epitaph for a Peach. makes me dream of peaches until summer.  Check out his farm….or his book.

Apples are good….but eat a peach every day!

So now that you have all of those peaches–what do you do with them?

Well check out this link with 13 great Peach recipes with beautiful photos!  It will all make your mouth water for that sweet peach taste!

Things like Swizzle Stick Soup

Pork Chops with Peaches,

And, Peach Salsa

They have Peach Ice Cream (my favorite), milkshakes an d Peach Pies too!

Outdoor Dining In The Sacramento Region


Springtime brings many things:  warmer weather, flowers and plants as well as the gardening & cleanup that goes along with those things, kids looking forward to summer break (those who get one), the concert season, tomato season in Sacramento, NBA basketball championships (sorry Sacramento) & March Madness, allergies (achoo) vacation planning…..so many other things.

And one of my favorites each year.  outdoor dining!

When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s Sacramento actually had an ordinance prohibiting sidewalk seating.  All we had was restaurants like the Firehouse that had enclosed patios.

We had to go to San Francisco to actually enjoy sidewalk dining, and it was such a treat.  Almost a taboo!  People fought real hard to get the city to approve sidewalk dining.

Now we have so many choices, from simple fare to fine dining.  Lunchtime and dinner and late night dining as well.

Downtown, midtown, East Sacramento and all regions in the city and the county as well as surrounding area like West Sacramento, Folsom, Elk Grove, Roseville, down the Sacramento River, up the American River.  Who does not have at least one restaurant with sidewalk dining?

There are so many outdoor dining spots it i hard to pick your favorite.  If the choice is favorite place to eat outside my is…still the Firehouse.

If the choice is limited to sidewalk eatingit is a little more difficult to choose for some reason.

Well we can choose an alley-walk rather than a sidewalk and pick Old Soul 1716 L Street, rear alley.

If the choice is a real sidewalk I would pick Three Sisters on J Street with their wonderful dining area with a bit of a wall next to the sidewalk or  33rd Street Bistro on Folsom Boulevard.  I enjoy both of these places, they have different styles of food but both try hard to provide good service and quality food.

What other places outdoors?

Well, check out the recent article in the Sacramento Bee for a lot of selections, all good.  It got me thinking about the subject, made me quite hungry and led to this post.

They list some places that I enjoy like

Mulvaneys, 1215 19th Street

Restaurant Thir13en, 1300 H Street

Juno’s Kitchen & Deli, 3675 J Street

Paesano’s 1806 Capitol Avenue

Zocalo, right down the street at 1801 Capitol Avenue

and many more that I still must try out.

What other places?  Leave me comments here or Tweet me @zenDR and tell me about your favorite joints, where and why.

San Francisco Bay Bridge Closure—President’s Day Weekend

*****NOTE:  The bridge will REOPEN early.  The Bridge will reopen on Sunday night, February 19th starting at

8 pm.  This is well ahead of the original Tuesday morning reopening.*****

If you have been asleep—

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will be shut down over the President’s Day weekend.

It is a long holiday weekend so plan ahead if you are going in to visit the City by the Bay or if you live in San Francisco and are planning on being out of town over the holiday.

From Friday, February 17th at 8 pm to Tuesday, February 21 at 5am the Westbound lines (heading into San Francisco from Interstate 80) will be closed to traffic.

The Eastbound lanes will be open.

The Golden Gate Bridge will be open.

The Ferries, BART, donkeys and helicopters will all be in service.

If you plan right you will e ok but you may experience delays.  Especially getting into the City.

My advice?  Go early (like Friday morning) and stay longer (like Wednesday) and have more fun with less stress!

Roll Out The Barrel in El Dorado County

El Dorado County is the place to be for Roll Out The Barrel, a fun event featuring 27 wineries.

Everyone has heard of NapaSonoma wine in California but some people have not heard of the El Dorado wineries.

They bottle some of the very best California wines.

El Dorado Winery Association (EDWA) invites you to hunt for your next favorite wine during their annual Roll Out the Barrel event January 28-29, 2012.

The event is a self-guided tour of the El Dorado county wineries.

You get wine tasting hors d’oeuvres, cheese and prizes.

You can even win free tickets HERE

El Dorado County is just a short drive from Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, and about 90 minutes from San Francisco.

You can find a map of the various wineries here

And you can check out the Apple Hill farms while you are there.  Buy or pick apples and other fruit, and get lunch and baked goods as well as some handmade crafts at some of the ranches.

And you can even visit Placerville and see that old Hangtown Motel sign made famous on the Dodge truck commercial this past fall.  Remember the “We parked it here, and if you find it you can keep it” commercial?  Placerville was named Hangtown in it’s early gold rush years.

Why?  ummmm…all the hangings?

Go, and have fun!!!

voodooDr Receives The “Versatile Blogger” Award And Passes It On To Some Great Sites

Wow.  Imagine my surprise.  I had a new linkback and comment notice this morning.  Went to look at it, half expecting something that has nothing to really do with my blog or someone trying to link to me and sell something or some porn site.  Get way too many of those.

But this was different.

My blog had received an award!  Really, I said?  Still half disbelieving….kind of my normal first response I must admit.

So I almost just deleted the comment but instead clicked on the guys link.  And lo & behold it is a real award thingie called the Versatile Blogger Award.  As I read thru Seans post I began to realize this was a real award that he was offering to me.  Seans blog is called Censorship in America and I have enjoyed reading his posts as he promotes intellectual freedom.  Such an important issue especially with growing threats to the internet and freedom of speech in public.

All I have to do is comply with 7 simple rules and then post the award opn my site.  OK, I think I can manage to do this.

The rules

1.  Thank the person who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post. (see above)

2.  Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post.

3.  List 7 things about yourself. (end of post.)

I have an older post about blogs that I read but I have to admit I have not updated it and it is always good to take time to publicly recognize and honor those folks that we value, so here are blogs/websites that I enjoy and read as often as possible:

Photography sites:  the web provides such a perfect platform for photographers that you may never otherwise hear from to allow you to share in their art.  Some sites I enjoy include:

  • Wild*Lives Trish Carney Photoworks:  Wow….such beautiful nature photographs, primarily from one of the greatest parks in the USA, Yellowstone.  Her latest post “Trading stares with bear, pleasures of place” takes you straight into the lives of these giant grizzlies and black bears.
  • John Wall’s Natural California:  I was born and raised in California and sometimes become jaded thinking I have seen it all.  But California is so diverse and John shares so much of it in his photographs of landscapes, flora and his fur & feathers.  You start looking at one picture and by the time you know it you have missed dinner and spent hours looking in awe.
  • Native Images PhotoGraphics:  My native blood craves opportunities to share the past and the future with others.  This blog satisfies that craving and stays true to the dreams of our ancestors.  Photography and words of wisdom primarily from Native Americans of California.
  • Emad Islam’s Photography Blog:  Emad is a young guy who sometimes just astonishes me with both his art and his wise words.  His latest post, I Wish I Was The Moon, includes a breattaking shot and a bit of poetry.  Perfect.
  • Bird Light Wind:  I stumbled into this blog accidentally and fell for his post on a family of Owls living in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  If you have not been to San Francisco, Golden Gate Park is stunning for it’s natural and cultural diversity.  It is a huge park on the order of NYC’s Central Park.  The photographs of the owls and the story that Walter told had me jumping at the chance to subscribe.  he also turned me on to some of the other sites that I still visit today.
  • Stories From Home, Photography, family and friends:  What more could we want than out passions, family & friends?  The latest post is about fall foliage in Acadia.  It’s still sprintime in my part of California so it always surprises me when other folks are already into the real season.

Cultural blogs:  My interests vary and so do the blogs that I enjoy.

  • Newspaper Rock, Where Native America Meets Pop Culture:  This could be a car crash with multiple injuries, but instead it is a true pleasure.  The latest post is on a Diane Sawyer report “A Hidden America: Children of the Plains”  can make your heart weep for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  If you missed the piece on October 14th I’m sure ABC will show it again and you can search Youtube or the ABC website for the video online.  Rob educates us with his blog and he provides us with a great “Decolonize Oakland” poster.
  • Project 2,996:  This project was started a decade ago with the goal of having one writer each write a piece about individual souls that were lost in the September 11, 2001 attach on the New York City World Trade Centers.  Over time some of the posts were lost/forgotten, links became disabled and now there are 900 stories.  We seek writers to complete the project.  Please join.

Blogging:  I know I still need help with blogging, the technical as well as the writing.

  • Life & Bits, Easy to follow blogging tips:  Reynaldo says his blog provides tips and help for “beginners” on “wordpress.com”.  I am not a beginner but I am always learning, and I do use wordpress.com but most of the help on lifenbits can assist folks on any platform self-hosted or not.  I ran into the blog when I wanted to learn about site counters and Reynaldo’s straight forward writing style helped me gain a fast understanding of a complicated subject.  I later wrote a post about counters trying to provide some measure of help to others and credied lifenbits with the little bit that I do know.
  • TheBloggoSchloggo:  I’m calling this one “blogging”.  It has it’s own little niche though.  Cultural, political but not “slanty”, funny, interesting.  Definitely check it out.  I had to add it to my list and issue another award in November (which I will do when I find a good blog).  He was nice enough to mention one of my posts which is how I found the Bloggo.

Techi:  ok, I am about 50% nerd way back to my time building clone PCs for myself and family & friends.  But as with most subject, I learn something new almost every day,

  • Adam Savage From Mythbusters:  Not a blog, but a nice site from an interesting guy.  Even if you don’t care about the show you can appreciate his site and even more you can appreciate his Tweets.  I don’t know how he finds all of the curious videos, photos and posts that he shares with folks on Twitter, but I say “Thank you Mr Savage”!
  • Dan’s Wild Wild Science Journal:  I bumped into this blog and found “Scientific Facts That Are Not True”.  Excellent explanation of a tough subject about things we believe are true but it turns out that they are flase.  Science is cool!!  Dan is a Chief Meteorologist in Alabama, and thank you Dan for sharing your knowledge.

Motorcycles and Hot Rods:  I am a nut for hot rods and badass bikes.  Always have been since I was a kid and we would sit on the steps, watch cars go by and have to name them.   I wanted a ’44 Ford pickup and a ’56 Buick Roadmaster SOOOOO bad!!  In fact, I still do.

  • Deus Bali, The 2 Wheeled Bicycle:  I enjoy getting notifications about new posts on this blog and checking in to see whats up.  Not only do they write a great blog about one of my favorite subjects, they make some really nice stripped down motorcycles and have great pictures.  And now I really want one of their motorized bicycles.  They look like old 1915-ish motorcycles.  The real deal.
  • Between 2 Wheels:  Just a lot of stuff about the 2 wheeled life.  Pictures and good posts about a lot of different bikes and links to other good sites.  I like the fact that they understand and share the importance of history.  They say “Explore, experience and evolve”.  That is a bit of motorcycle zen right there.
  • Classic Velocity: a good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.  That’s the way brother.  This blog is primarily about vintage vehicles.  Classics.  My favorites, most definitely.  He has some mother blogs in his “Garage” mostly about his cars, some of which he still owns.  And a store with a coffee mug and a baseball cup.  I love coffee!
  • ……..THE 6.9%er…….. :  Steve says “This Blog is about my interests, my friends, my
    bikes…..nothin’ more..nothin’ less… & nothin’ to prove”.  Nice and simple.  I like that.  Great pictures and nice stories.  Plus links to other great chopper and hot rod sites.
  • Eat The Rich, UK:  It almost looks like a 1940s motorcycle site.

Travel blogs:  I love to travel.  Who doesn’t?  But I hate to fly.  It used to be so much fun.  Comfortable, lots of space (I am 6’6″ and space on a plane is a requirement), nice employees who treated you well.  Now?  It’s just a damn bus and too many rude employees, restricted space and airlines that just don’t care about their customers.  Enough of that.

  • Flights of fancy…travel  :  Actually a travel and photography blog.  2 of my favorite things.  And Mary is a good writer too which helps tell the story of her travels and make her photos come alive.  I always look forward to her new posts and the latest, about the Taos Pueblo was a thrilling read with stunning photographs.
  • Backroad Journal:  Karen and her husband moved to a small town in New Hampshire after 30 urban years in Florida.  They live in a 1730s home with a small apple orchard and I am so jealous!!  Karen shares their local and long distance travels with humor and some really good photographs.  I wish they would adopt me and take me on their treks!!

Politics and stuff:  I was always involved in politics and even in my retirement I make my voice heard.

  • The Upside of Inertia,  when life gives you alligators you make gatorade:  Mostly the liberal sidee of things because the right is wrong.  I don’t Facebook so I like it when he says “Don’t look for me on facebook, twitter or anywhere else.”  Cool.

Note:  The Upside of Inertia is moving to a new address HERE

  • Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner  I am sticking this one under politics, but it coulda gone under music or culture or just general good stuff!  Bumped into by accident on his post about the Oakland General Strike.  Well thought out crap I tell ya.  Check this blog out if you are like me and appreciate politics, hip hop and urban culture.  That’s the way to roll Davey D!

Poker:  It’s not just a game.

  • Dr Check Raise:  OK, it’s not a blog it’s a forum.  With some bloggy aspects.  And you have to register to see anything, but the Dr doesn’t give out your name to anyone and doesn’t bug you with a ton of useless emails.   Just an opportunity to check in and learn about the world of poker.  I bumped into the Dr when I played at an online club.  Not a regular gaming site but a place where you paid a monthly fee and played all the poker you wanted for free or small money to medium money pots.  I followed him because we were both Dr’s.  I don’t play much anymore but I check in to see what the Dr is up to.

About me:

I never enjoy this.  Will I get a date with a hot chick out of this??

  1. I was born & raised in California and still live here in the Capitol, Sacramento.  It’s a good city and I can’t imagine living anywhere but California.  Except maybe in Italy.  Or Spain.
  2. My family was in California just before the gold rush and then steady on both sides of my mother’s family since 1850.  Always in or around Sacramento.  We have deep roots and a sense of history and our place in it, things that are  important to me.
  3. O worked nearly 30 years in local government.  Almost always a boss, retired as Deputy Director of a county department.
  4. Retired to take a job as the Director of a small non-profit.  I loved it and learned a lot about running a small business.
  5. After being diagnosed diabetic I took a prescribed medication that pushed me into heart failure and eventually retired from the non-profit.
  6. I developed more (!!) health problems (like dialysis 3 days a week) and am now in a wheelchair but am working hard to get out of it.  Many docs don’t believe it but I promise you I will walk again.
  7. So that I can travel and visit friends and get involved in local politics again and play poker and drive my Cadillac…..
  8. So now I bore peeps with my blog and crap.  That’s the way it is.

So now I can accept my award as The Versatile Blogger!!  Yay!!  thank you, thank you.  Speech speech….uh, no I don’t think so.

The Sacramento Comedy Festival, September 29th thru October 2nd

Sacramento will host the Comedy Festival in Midtown starting Thursday, September 29th through Sunday, October 2nd.

170 comedians will take to the stage during 17 different shows at The Sacramento Comedy Spot.

Where is the Comedy Spot?

1050 20th Street


You can find a map and directions here.

Brian Crall owns the Comedy Spot and is the primary coordinator of this event.  “Since the festival is all about including different types of comedy,” Crall said, “we try to offer every night a different sampling of each of those things.”

The festival will feature four different comedy mediums for folks to enjoy:

  • standup
  •  improv
  •  sketch
  • and film

Comedianswill be featured from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento.

What’s the cost?

$8 to $10 with a $12 charge for the Sunday Night San Francisco Standup Showcase.

Copperopolis, A Gold Rush (??) Town In California

Calaveras County, California, USA.

Image via Wikipedia

Of course, California has many many gold rush towns, even a few ghost towns.  But it may have just one old copper town.

Copperopolis is a special gold rush town.  It is definitely not a ghost town although the spirits of some of the old-time miners may still be hanging around the town.

Especially in the historic Old Corner Saloon.

Copperopolis is south of Sacramento, a little past the small city of Stockton in Calaveras County.  Have you heard of the famous Jumping Frog Jubilee in Angels Camp, CaliforniaMark Twain wrote a story about it?  Well, that is in Calaveras County.  Pretty area and historically important.

Copperopolis has a population of some 3,600 residents and was founded in 1860.  And, of course, the town was named after the copper strike in the area.  Shortly after the town was founded. copper became very important in the U.S.  The Civil War created a boom for copper miners because the ore was needed to make bullets.  The boom ednded as the war ended and the mines closed.  The population dwindled.  But World War I and World War II both created new boom-times for copper miners, the mines reopened and the population grew once again.

Now Copperopolis hosts Dog Days, in 2011 this event will be held on October 22nd.  Dress your dog up and come to Copperopolis.  There are special categories for Lady GaGa and Johnny Depp lookalikes.  (I’m trying not to laugh here).  But, that is not what this post is about…..thank god.

“Tucked away among the rolling hills covered with oaks, Copperopolis in the Copper Valley looks much as it did when miners first discovered the riches the valley had to offer.”  With their new Town Hall, Copperopolis has a lot of events, you can find a list here.

The Sacramento Bee had a nice article recently about Copperopolis about both the old and the new Copperopolis.  The little town has seen a 35% population spurt in just the last 10 years.  There are authentic gold rush and copper rush buildings and brand new structures.

The Old Corner Saloon was built and opened in 1862.  There is a general store that opened in the late 1860s and an old brick armory (remember the bullets??) built in 1864 but now closed.  many of the old Victorian homes have been converted to mom-and-pop stores including a flower shop and a take-out grill.

Old timers drink a bit, chat and play pool in the Old Corner Saloon.  On the wall is a picture of the famous highway robber, Black Bart.  Bart used to throw back a few whiskeys in the Old Corner Saloon way back in his stagecoach robbing days.  The Saloon is an authentic cowboy, wild west and trucker kind of place.

The walls are covered with hats nailed, tacked and stapled in place.  The ceiling is covered (every inch) in dollar bills that customers place there.  Many many years of hats and dollar bills.  Make sure you take one of each and join the party!!

On the website for the Saloon, there is a great story about the old covered bridge in the Copperopolis area.

If you go to Copperopolis there are some very nice, well-appointed “bungalows” at the Saddle Creek Resort where a rich halibut will set you back 24 bucks, but oh what a halibut!  The bungalows cost $125-$165, a bit more for a suite.

The resort has a great gold course too.  it is a fine example of that 1860s vs 2011 dichotomy.

At Matt’s Take-Out on Main Street, they  have a great Angus beef cheeseburger for just $4.95.  Nice deal!!

“While it’s far from the every day hustle and bustle, the Copperopolis Town Square is close to it all. Ideally situated less than two hours from the San Francisco Bay Area and one hour from the Central Valley, the Copper Valley is
perfectly positioned between San Francisco, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Foothills.”

Here is a map:

in the Copperopolis area.

2011 American River Music Festival in California, September 16 & 17

The American River Music Festival is an annual, 2-day music event held on the banks of the American River in friendly little town of Coloma about one hour east of Sacramento and two hours east of the San Francisco Bay area.

Coloma is one of the original gold rush towns in California.  in fact, gold was first discovered in Coloma.  In 1848 John Marshall, who ran John Sutter’s mill in the settlement of Coloma, noticed something sparkling in the sluices in the American River.  What sparkled turned out to be gold and sparked the biggest gold rush in history.

In 2011 the American River Music Festival will run from September 16th to 17th.

How do I get tickets and how much?

  • You can get tickets online here.
  • You can buy tickets by phone:  530-622-6044
  • You can buy tickets at the Main Stage of the event beginning at 10 am

Adult tickets are $35.00 per day plus a $2 fee.  Youth(youth are 8-17) tickets are $15 per day plus the $2 fee.  Under 8 years old are free.

Tickets for 2 days are $59 for adults and $20 for youth plus the $2 fee

There are also campground tickets which include entry for the music, you can check those prices here.

You cannot enter the campground without a music ticket.  There are three campgrounds and you can find out more about them at this link.

Check-in at the campgrounds begins at 9:30 am on Friday, September 16th.

Are you adventurous??  Check out the whitewater rafting. camping AND music package!!  This ticket includes lunch at the “gorge”.  Click here for more info on this package

How do I get there?

The map is here.

OK, so what kind of music are we talking about??

.This is the schedule of musicians on the Main Stage.

Saturday, September 17, 2011 Sunday, September 18, 2011
11:00 A.M. Jill Knight Trio   11:00 A.M. Ma Muse
  12:15 P.M.       Elliot Randall and the            Deadmen   12:15 P.M. The Brothers Comatose
  1:30 P.M. Keith Greeninger with  Dayan Kai, Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald   1:30 P.M. The Band of Heathens
   3:00 P.M. Ryan Shupe and the         RubberBand   3:00 P.M. Blame Sally
  4:30 P.M. Truth and Salvage Co.    4:30 P.M. James McMurtry

They will also have shows and workshops in the campgrounds.  Check the list here.

Here are three videos where you can check out the music.

BiPolar Pizza, Hope In The Truck

Truth And Salvage Company, Call Back


Blame Sally, Bird in the Hand


What can I bring?  What can I NOT bring?

There are lists here for what you can/cannot bring to the Main Stage concert area and into the campgrounds.

So tell me more about Coloma.

You know I am from Sacramento and that my family has been here since 1850.  Actually one relative traveled to San Francisco by ship around the Horn and tip of South America, in 1847/48 and traveled inland to Sacramento.  He returned to his home in Washington DC before gold was discovered….dammit!!

His relatives eventually made it back to California after the Civil War.  So, we have been in this area for a bit.

Coloma is an interesting site and has been preserved and restored.

The discovery of gold and the stories of James Marshall and John Sutter and the subsequent gold rush has been told in thousands of books and I could not even attempt to tell it here without boring most of you.

But, take my advice:  when you go to the American River Music Festival take some time to visit Coloma and explore the area.  Even try panning for some gold.  They say the American River still holds four times as much gold as the 49ers removed from the riverbeds.  People still find very big gold nuggets.  hard work, definitely.



Family Day & Kite Day in San Francisco, September 18th 2011

The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA a...

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In 1978 Mayor George Moscone proclaimed a Family Day & Kite Day in San Francisco, California.  Kite Day is sanctioned by the American Kite Fliers Association (AKFA).

In 2010 the festival featured kite-flying, kite-boarding, kite-boating and other examples of wind power as beautiful, educational, and healthy entertainment for families of all ages.

The 2011 Family Day & Kite Day will be held on Sunday September 18th on San Francisco’s marina Green.  The Marina Green is a beautiful green area in San Francisco just east of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is a panoramic waterfront park.

There is always a bit of wind on the Marina Green and it is a perfect open expanse for kite flying and a family picnic.  The Family Day & Picnic Day will run from 11 am to 6 pm.

You will find a list of performers and some fantastic kite photos here.

There will be contests, kite making as well as kite flying demonstrations.

If you are interested, you can apply to be a volunteer at Kite Day at this link.

This little video is a class project.

Note:  There are a lot of links here for hotels, restaurants and places to go so make sure you take your time and check them out.

How do I get there?

The Marina Green extends 0.4 miles east to west, between Scott and Webster Streets, along Marina Boulevard, San Francisco’s picturesque northern shoreline.”

If you come from the North, you will drive on Highway 101 and cross the Golden Gate bridge and travel east on Doyle Drive to Marina Boulevard and a few more blocks and you are there.

If you enter San Francisco down Interstate 80, you will cross the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge and follow the signs thru the Embarcadero past the Fisherman’s Wharf and continue past Fort Mason and there is Marina Green.

You can take the MUNI bus straight to the Marina Green from almost anywhere and you can take the Hyde Street cable car down to Beach street and walk a couple of blocks to the Marina Green.  San Francisco has excellent public transportation and it can be the best bet for out-of-town visitors.

A map of the Marina Green and surrounding area is here.

How about parking?

More than 600 free parking spaces are immediately next to the Marina Green.

Another 500 spaces are available at Crissy Field, 0.5 miles west of the Marina Green.

Who do I contact if I have more questions or need information??

For questions or more information, please contact:

Barbara (415) 383-0500   byoungold@yahoo.com    or
Alexis (415) 420-2827     atbusch@gmail.com

I want to stay in San Francisco, what is a good hotel/motel in the Marina District?

The Hotel Del Sol is an affordable family-friendly 1980s motor lodge that has been transformed into a boutique hotel in the area.

The Marina Inn is a budget bed and breakfast hotel in the district.  Marina Inn provides easy access to the city’s cable car and bus lines.

Near to the district are hotels including the Travelodge Golden Gate, Ramada Limited, Days Inn on Lombard Street and other affordable hotels/motels.

Things to do in the Marina District:

San Francisco is full of fun things to do and always has special events going nearly every weekend.  Some things to do in and around the Marina Green include:

  • walk or ride a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge  It’s a beautiful spot to see the City, across the Marin County, the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island and so much more.  Then check out the Golden Gate Park.  Nice place for a picnic.
  • Across the Golden Gate Bridge you can travel to the Marin Headlands and the Point Bonita Lighthouse.  Beautiful area.
  • go down to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Yes it is touristy, but it is legitimate and worth a look and wander around.a wander around.
  • take the Cable Car or bus anywhere in San Francisco, just enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of all of the unique San Francisco neighborhoods:  North Beach, Chinatown, the Marina, the Fillmore, the Mission and all of the other districts in the City.

Where do I eat?

San Francisco has tons and tons of excellent restaurants including some very expensive ones.  But you can find some good, affordable places to eat.  Rather than list them all here, you can go to the SDan Francisco.com site and walk thru their retaurant list.  This link will take you to a list of Marina eateries.

Places to stay outside the Marina District.

The nearby Fisherman’s Wharf area has some very good mid and upper class hotels, including a Sheraton, a Marriot and some boutique hotels.

Nob Hill is home to the famous Huntington Hotel and other top notch spots to stay.  The Huntington has been on top of the highest hill in San Francisco for many years and remains in the same family that has owned the hotel for most of that time.  Modern conveniences in a very classy older hotel.

The Fairmont is the other large, older & classy hotel on Nob Hill.  There are other hotels on the Hill and you can’t go wrong picking one.

San Francisco has many great hotels like this.

Such as The St. Francis.   The St. Francis is my favorite large older hotel in San Francisco.  You’ll find yourself just a breathtaking cable car’s ride from the Palace of Fine Arts, Nob Hill, the Filbert Steps, or the cliffs of Lincoln Park.  Beautiful, classy yet modernized.  Do you want to be pampered?  The St Francis or the Huntington are excellent choices.

Union Square is home to many smaller, hip boutique hotels as well.  Check them out at this link.  The Square is a  great spot to stay especially if you plan on shopping in the big department store or want to attend the theater.  A lot to see and do at Union Square.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is within San Francisco’s financial district.  The district gets pretty quiet at night once all the stock broker types go home.  The Oriental Hotel sits way up in the San Francisco sky on the top floors of one of the City’s towering skyscrapers.    You can walk to the Bay, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building so the Oriental is a great, but somewhat expensive, District.  The hotel has to compete with other properties in areas of town that are just much more exciting.  The views from this hotel are simply stunning, especially the rooftop restaurant.

I cannot talk about even a small percentgage of the great San Francisco hotels.  There are so many it is hard to choose.  The best thing to do is select an area of the City and then research the hotels within that area based on the type of things you want to do depending on whether you are a couple of a family bringing young children.

What about staying outside of San Francisco?

Another option is staying across the Golden Gate Bridge in the many smaller communities in Marin County which is just North of San Francisco.

Sausalito is a great spot with nice hotels and B & B’s, such as the Casa Madronna Hotel and Spa.  This hotel was once owned by one of the famous San Francisco madams.  Yes, that kind of madam.  it’s a great spot if you get a room facing the harbor.  Sausalito is a quaint little artists colony and a lot of residents live on houseboats docked in the harbor on San Francisco Bay.  The Casa Madrona is a great place for couples on a get-away in any of the 63 guest rooms

For Sausdalito B&B, The Gables Inn is very nice.

Sausalito, and the surrounding area, has great dining and shopping spots.  Most are smaller more intimate places.  The Spinnaker restaurant has been there for over 50 years and has great harbor views in addition to quality meals.

Taste of the Himalayas is an interesting restaurant.  The food is very good and it’s always nice to try new cuisines, so if you have time make sure you try this one.

From here you can also visit Angel Island, Audubon Canyon, Mt. Tamalpais, Muir Woods Point Reyes  and Stinson Beach.  All are within a short drive.

From the Sausalito area you can also take a great, fast ferry ride into San Francisco.  You can leave your car at your hotel!

The great wine country of the Napa Valley is not far away and definitely worth a trip.  You will love the scenery, the food and the wineries.

Another good choice on the Bay and in Marin County is the quaint town of Tiburon.  Tiburon is just across Richardson’s Bay from Sausalito, an easy drive along the water.  From Tiburon you can see Angel Island, Sausalito, and the San Francisco skyline.

The name Tiburon means ‘shark’ in Spanish.  There are (were) leopard sharks in the bay but they really are not dangerous, but the water is quite cold so peeps don’t go swimming there anyway.  The Audubon Society operaters the Richardson Bay Sanctuary where you can observe a lot of wildlife.  There are early rock carvings by the Native Americans in the area on Ring MountainMill Valley is a great place to visit if you stay (or visit) Tiburon or even Sausalito.

You can take the Blue and Gold Fleet ferry to San Francisco.

Tiburon is served by two ferry companies:

  • Blue and Gold Fleet, +1 415 705-5555  [2]. Offers ferry service between Tiburon and San Francisco. Most ferries go to Pier 41 in Fisherman’s Wharf, but a few will go to the Ferry Building in the Financial District. Adults $9.50 one-way, children $5 one-way.
  • Angel Island – Tiburon Ferry, +1 415 435-2131  [3]. Offers service to/from Angel Island State Park. Adults $13.50 round-trip, seniors $13.50 round-trip, children $11.50 round-trip, small children (ages 3 – 5) $3.50 round-trip.

So if I am in Tiburon where to stay/eat??

Guayama’s, great water views and excellent food.  Can’t be beat.

Guaymas Restaurant
5 Main Street
Tiburon, CA 94920

Phone: (415) 435-6300
Fax: (415) 435-6802

Tiburon has hotels and nice B&Bs.

The Water’s Edge is another small hotel in Tiburon , perched on a historic dock.  Continental breakfast, fireplace in your room, seagulls (!!), free wine & cheese in the afternoon.

No matter where you stay or eat, you will enjoy San Francisco and the Bay area.  go fly a kite!!!