Road Trip 2020 - Part 4, Memory Lane, CA
When we left Tahoe, we headed down to the Sierra Foothills, a trip down memory lane. There's something about being in the Sierra Foothills. I can always tell when I'm there, I don't know, there's a sense of peace, a sense of coming home. I love it there, always have. I had not been back for about 20 years.
We started in Angels Camp, where I spent my senior year attending Bret Harte. It was a little intimidating going to a rival school my last year, most kids knew who I was because of track (I ran the 880, mile and 2-mile and was #1 in the league in all events). But everyone there was so nice and welcomed me with open arms. What a great year that was!!!
We lived at the top of a hill on 10 acres. Jose and I drove up the hill, walked to the 1st house and met the couple living there. I was shocked when he knew my family name (Wanamaker) and the time when we lived there. They were kind enough to give us a tour of the house. They had grown grape vines on the 5 acres and sold the grapes to a winery in Copperopolis every year. He gave me a bottle of wine made from those grapes. So special and so much fun!
A couple of years after I left for college, Mom split the 10 acres into two 5-acre lots, sold the house we had lived in and built on the lower 5 acres. We walked down to that house. No one was there so we didn't explore too much but I loved checking it out.
Look how big the trees are now!!!
We drove into Angels Camp and walked around the Bret Harte campus and the track. Then we drove over Parrots Ferry, stopped in old-town Columbia and walked around, before driving to Sonora. We had time for a little more exploring before meeting a sweet friend, so we went to Tuolumne and walked around the high school for my Freshman through Junior years, Summerville High. Quite a few changes from the last time I was there, especially the track.
When I was there (1975-1978), the track was dirt. The stands were there, as before, but part of the cross country route was up the steep hill to the left of the stands. It was brutal! Not anymore, from what I understand.
It so enjoyed walking around and seeing all the changes.
We drove up to Twain Harte (where my family lived from 6th grade through my junior year of high school). What an incredible place to grow up! The pine trees, hills, it all felt the same. It even smelled the same. This iconic mug has been there forever, it seems. :)
We drove past the squirrel house that we lived in while our house was being built (called so because of the deck rail with squirrel cut-outs). I can't believe it's still there.
The folks who bought the house my Papa built weren't there so we couldn't go inside, unfortunately. I would have loved to see the changes. But from the outside, it looked as sturdy as ever. It was a great house and Brentwood Park was a wonderful place to live. The woman who lived next door returned from shopping and we spoke with her for about 20 minutes. She moved there about a year after we did and never left (40+ years later). She remembered Mom and my family. Wild!
We had dinner with a sweet friend of mine, the niece of my childhood BFF, and her family. I first met Laina when she was born, saw her here and there when she was a child until my BFF passed away. The last time I saw her was at my wedding to Jose. She was 12 or 13 years old. She owns a wonderful shop called Amala Detox and Tea Lounge in Sonora. During the pandemic, I reached out and helped her a bit, giving her the nudge she needed to make some great improvements on her website that kept her going when her doors were shut. She is a beautiful soul and I so enjoyed meeting her husband and 3 girls. We also had breakfast with Laina and Mark the next morning before heading out.
We drove over the Sonora Pass to cross states and get to Utah (the final stop of our road trip). I had to stop at Dodge Ridge, where I learned how to snow ski. It looks much smaller as an adult and in the summer but I'm so glad we stopped.
My family probably crossed Sonora Pass many times before...I only remember crossing it once. And I did not remember it being so nerve-wracking, or so beautiful.
I can't adequately express how special it was to take this trip down memory lane. Everything changes in life, but so much of it stays the same. Going back to Angels Camp, Sonora, Tuolumne, and Twain Harte reminded me of that.
Next up: Zion National Park, Utah