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Thursday, August 11, 2016

where's the gold?

the next stop on our fantastical norcal road trip brought us to empire mine state historic park.  the hub had spent some time doing a little research on seeing things that might be fun-slash-interesting-slash-educational, and thought that maybe checking out what's billed as one of the oldest, deepest, and richest gold mines in california would work just fine.

inside the visitors center are lots of displays and things that tell you the history of the place, gives you a layout of what's out on the grounds, and their mineral collection.

there are miles and miles of trails and pathways throughout this park, but it was a warm day and we weren't really prepared for a hike, so we headed out to explore the historic area.  now, i'm a little fuzzy on exactly what was what here, but i'll try my best.  i *think* this was the garage:

the greenhouse for the extensive gardens that once surrounded the main house:

the walkway up to the main entrance of the house.  i bet this place was really pretty in its heyday.

this is the clubhouse that was used by mine supervisors for meetings and things, and was also used for entertaining any guests who came to visit the family.  it wasn't open that day, but it's available for private parties and weddings and other gatherings.

creepy mine shaft.  i don't remember if the miners used this as an entry/exit into the mine, but it was kind of interesting to peer down into it through the grate anyway.

this explained what the various buildings were and what they did there.

most of the original equipment was sold off when the mine closed back in the 50s, although there are some pieces here and there, mostly through donations to the park.

the miners used to get strapped into cars that kind of looked like a roller coaster, and then it would take them hundreds of feet below ground to do their jobs.  that would've been a really shitty ride, man.  no thanks.

there's a blacksmith shop where volunteers come in to work on pieces that provide entertainment to visitors and are sold as souvenirs.  hey, the money to run this place has to come from somewhere.

old shit is just endlessly fascinating to me.  with our society full of disposables, it's always interesting to see things that have managed to stay intact after so many years.

before we left, we took another one of those fabulous family selfies that became a staple on this trip.

we stopped at the little town not too far away to see if we could find a snack or a treat or something.  there wasn't much there, so we moved on.

we ended up at a little ice cream shop a little further away.

and then we were faced with a decision:  stay in the area, find a hotel for the night and just chill?  or suck it up, get in the car and drive the 3.5 hours down to the next destination?  we ended up opting for the latter, and pulled into monterey just before 8pm.

finding a restaurant was the easy part.  the hub called a friend who knew the owner of the fish hopper on cannery row, and we were led to a table with a pretty fantastic view.

the old lady and i shared this super fun cocktail that was like drinking rocket fuel.

the food was really good, fresh and tasty.

trying to book a hotel for the night wasn't as easy.  it took a handful of phone calls to a bunch of different places before we finally found a couple of rooms at a nearby best western.  the girls were excited to have a room of their own, and we got them settled before trudging down the hall about 10 rooms away.

i'm sure you're probably wondering if this road trip is ever going to come to an end.  it does, i promise!  we're almost there.

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