This year, for Thanksgiving, we took the long, windy way home. By “home” I mean Aaron’s home town, Twain Harte, where his family mostly lives.
I have been doing the drive between Tahoe and Twain Harte for almost 30 years now. Sometimes to visit Aaron’s family, other times to go whitewater rafting on various High Sierra Rivers. For whatever reason, though, I had never before taken “the long way” – Highway 49 the entire stretch from Auburn to Sonora. Usually, we take a short cut here, a detour there, a bypass here and there. But this time we just took our time since we didn’t need to arrive for Thanksgiving Dinner until early afternoon.
We set out early from the tiny house in Lotus (at the South Fork American River) and spent the morning driving through Gold Country. The weather was beautiful, around 65 degrees with gorgeous skies and the most vibrant fall colors. Not just the trees, but also the grape vines, were reds, oranges, and yellows. Different then where I grew up in Eastern Canada, but I’ll reluctantly admit equally spectacular.
We drove through the quaint Gold Rush towns we all know – like Coloma already decorated for Christmas, Plymouth with it’s wineries, Sutter Creek with it’s historic Main Street, Columbia with it’s State Park, and of course Sonora with Mark Twain’s cabin. We contented ourselves with the view out the car window though there were many places we wished we had more time to stop and visit. We also drove through towns I had never noticed before. Tiny towns like Nashville, CA population 67 and a few other even smaller towns whose names weren’t as obvious to remember. We found ourselves wondering what living there must have been like during the gold rush in the 1800s.
We arrived at Thanksgiving Dinner just in time to help set the table. All afternoon the dogs played, the kids (most of whom are teens and young adults now) caught up over dinner and around a fire pit roasting marshmellows, and the parents and grandparents lingered, soaking it all in.