Last updated Wednesday, December 27, 2006 2:03 PM . Best viewed at a monitor resolution of 1024x768 or better.

Far Horizons 49er Village

March 31 - April 2, 2006

Movie Download

We just got back from our second camping weekend of the season, this time to Far Horizons 49er Village in Plymouth, California southeast of Sacramento in Amador County. The occasion was the annual St. Patrick's Day get-together of our Rainbow RV Group which is usually held within two weeks of the holiday. Complete with corned beef & cabbage dinner and side trips to local points of interest, it was a fun-filled weekend.

I'll be adding the story here in the near future along with photos, but in the meantime, you can download a QuickTime Movie set to music to get a sneak preview of all of the activities we enjoyed. BE WARNED: the movie is a HUGE FILE (22 mb) and will take several minutes to download. A DSL connection or better is recommended and you must have the QuickTime plugin to view it. For the record, I'm currently researching ways to get the movie to display a download progress bar like you see on most websites. Oddly, this is more complicated than one would think. However, I have discovered that if you're using Firefox for a web browser, a progress bar is displayed automatically. If you haven't already tried Firefox, it is a FREE DOWNLOAD and I suggest you get a copy of it now. Most websites that are quirky in Internet Explorer and Safari run just fine in Firefox.

Many thank-you's to Larry Lauszus for letting me “borrow” his photos. Larry's a people person and I'm a scenery person, so most of the photos of people at the corned beef & cabbage dinner and in the campground were taken by him; the rest were taken by me. For high-resolution copies of any of Larry's photos, please contact him directly via email.

Friday, March 31, I called in sick and the weekend began. Lee and I planned to go with our Rainbow RV Club to 49er Ranch for their annual St. Patrick's day event.

With the usual last minute packing and getting three (yes, three!) cats in the motorhome, which is a feat in itself, we were off at 10:07 a.m. under cloudy skies around 56°.

The trip took us over through Tracy and into a part of the state I hadn’t seen since my youth. The valley was filled with cows grazing on emerald green grass, lush from the rain that hasn't stopped falling since October, 2005. I had forgotten there were so many vineyards and wineries. The landscape was beautiful.

We arrived at Far Horizons 49er Village around 12:20 that afternoon. The weather hadn’t changed much but it was now threatening rain. We were one of the first ones there, or so we thought. The way our site was oriented we had a drop-dead gorgeous view of the local supermarket across the highway. Little did we know that behind us was the rest of the crew and we watched as other members of our group arrived in their rigs.

Pokerville Market, the view from our front window.

I busied myself getting lunch ready as Lee set up the electric and plumbing while saying Hi to the other RVer’s. As we were eating, a new arrival pulled in alongside of us. We both stepped out to meet Jeff from Manteca, a very nice guy but extremely shy. We asked if this was his first Rainbow RV trip and he said he had been with us at Olema Ranch for Halloween. Someone had talked to him, then simply walked away, so, feeling rejected, Jeff stayed in his rig all weekend believing it wasn’t a friendly group. Well, we wouldn’t have that, so we dragged him to the Meet & Greet that evening where we met a lot of people from past events and new people too. It was fun and I really enjoyed myself.

Jeff, our next-door neighbor

Deb & George

We got back to the Bounder around 9:15 and promptly crashed. Well, tried to. Three cats who had spent the better part of the day under the covers decided to sleep with us. NOT! It’s amazing how many times you can kick a cat out of bed, bounce it off a wall, and, after ten minutes or so, have it crawl right back in with you.

We got up Saturday morning, perked the coffee on the burner, and eased into our day. It was cloudy with no rain in sight. We headed off to the breakfast, picking up Jeff along the way, and running into Deb and George, friends we’d met at Collins Lake but with whom we had lost contact. Little by little, the sun came out!

Above: Pat heads down the gold mine shaft.

Right: Pat points to the mine's canary who tells him he could never fit into a miner's pants.

After breakfast Jerry drove Lee, George, and myself to the Sutter Gold Mine and dropped us off. I am a tad bit claustrophobic but managed the tour very well, even when the guide switched the lights off to demonstrate the darkness of 500 feet underground. We camped it up and carried on during the entire trek and were surprised when the tour guide asked us back, saying we were the most fun people she had ever taken into the mine.

Pat, George, & Jerry browsing in Sutter Creek

Pat & George at Amador Flower Farm

Jerry picked us up after the tour and took us on a drive through the countryside. We went antique shopping in Sutter Creek then drove back through Plymouth to a few miles outside of town to the Amador Flower Farm spring fling. The flowers, the day, and the company couldn’t have been nicer.

Arriving back at our campsite, we lazed around until dinnertime. Officially this was California Rainbow RV’s annual St. Patrick’s Day get together albeit two weeks after the holiday. Dinner was the traditional corned beef & cabbage, salad, rolls, and, of course, lots of booze. The group held a raffle and silent auction to raise money for the NorCal AIDS Challenge. Lee took pictures while I schmoozed and secretly put in two bids for a gift box of Irish Cream. When they started announcing the winners of the auction, Lee helped by calling out the names in his very quiet, Martha Rae style. When it came to the Irish Cream, my name was announced and Lee went “Pat Lu… Maude??” He liked it!

Pat wins the Irish Cream at the silent auction.

Jeff finds the courage to accept the scooter he's just won as the grand prize of the evening.

Next was the raffle. One prize, two prize, even the last prize, we didn’t win anything… and that was after spending $30 on tickets! The Grand prize was a battery-powered scooter. I told you Jeff was shy. When the winning number was called, he scooped up his tickets and shoved them over to me saying, “you go up and get it.” I found the ticket, shouted out “here it is” while flinging my arm in the air and pointing to Jeff at the same time. He was RED, but oh well.

Gordo rules the kitchen with iron tongs!

At the end of the dinner I stepped outside for some air. Lee caught my attention and motioned for me to come back inside where I found him at the kitchen sink elbow-deep in soapy water. “What’s up,” I asked? “Start cleaning up,” he said. Gordo came by and said, “Good! Now go out and find two more people.” I couldn’t but Lee and I helped clean up. We were having fun feeling that we were contributing to the club.

We walked back to the Bounder and went to bed around 11:30 leaving the cats locked out of the bedroom. By 3:30 in the morning, Mouse woke me up with her pounding on the bedroom door to get in, so I relented knowing I’d never get back to sleep if I didn’t.

Next morning was time to pack and say goodbye. We all went to the dine & dash continental breakfast. A lot of the guys thanked us for chipping in and helping the night before. We didn’t tell them that Gordo had ordered us to. Having lost an hour from the overnight switch to Daylight Savings Time, it was noon by the time we pulled out of the campground. Lee stopped just outside the gate to get a picture of the entrance for our website. A few miles down the road, he took the cutoff over to Amador City and the Sutter Gold Mine to get outside pictures of those spots as well.

The tiny burg of Amador City

Sutter Gold Mine is tucked into the hills between the small towns of Amador City and Sutter Creek.

One more stop in Lathrop to get the cheapest gas we had seen on the way up ($2.55/gallon) and we finally arrived home at 3:20. We no sooner got the Bounder backed into our driveway when it began to rain… again!