Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Volcano & Indian Grinding Rock, California - April 2018

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Camping with Cathy

Cathy is a school teacher too. Even better is that she has only a month to go until retirement. One day she told us she wanted to go camping with a small trailer. "It looks like fun. That's what I want to do!" Next thing we knew, she bought a pickup truck and a small 14 foot trailer. And she wanted to go camping with us. No better way to learn the ropes and gain experience than doing it. The Lady and Cathy have an upcoming adventure together in June when I'm working at a music festival, so the two of them were a team, getting acquainted with the processes of camping trailer life.

With the weekend's weather forecast a mixed bag with possible snow over the passes on Sunday, we decided to stick close to home and camp at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park just north of highway 88 in the Mother Lode country on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada Range.

Spring was the perfect time to visit this peaceful setting.

I will let the photos and interpretive signs tell the story.

Cathy arrived with her trailer around 6:00 pm Friday afternoon. We had reserved two sites and saved the one that looked easiest to back into for Cathy. She nailed trailer placement on the first try.

"I forgot to fill the water tank!" Cathy exclaimed after the trailer was unhooked and leveled.

"I heard, since water is so heavy, it's a good idea to travel with the tank empty and fill up at the campground," she explained. "I should have stopped and filled up at a water faucet before backing in!"

Lesson number one.

The Lady grabbed our funnel and a gallon bottle and the two of them carried water to the trailer and poured it into the outside tank fill.

After only  a few gallons, the tank was filled. It was not empty. The two women climbed into the trailer, looked in the owner's manual, and reviewed how to read the water level in the tank. Lesson number two.

Saturday morning we enjoyed the tour of Black Chasm Cavern which is about a mile from the campground.

The Mother Lode area boasts several limestone caverns that are fun to visit.

After the cavern tour, we wandered about Volcano, a small Mother Lode town that is off the beaten track. It was once doomed to be flooded under a planned reservoir, in fact its official historical plaque was placed 4 miles away and then relocated when the town was spared.

Before we hardly got started exploring Volcano, I was wondering who would be driving a 1966 Volvo home.

Once again, I'll just allow the photos and signs to tell the story of our visit to Volcano, California.

Moose Milk - mix bourbon, rum and heavy cream. Drink.

The campground at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park was a excellent choice. As expected, this was a quiet, subdued place. The other campers we chatted with were pleasant and nice folks.

We wandered about the area Saturday night after dinner.

Sunday morning was relaxed and lazy, at least for the women folk. Their personal chef and man servant whipped up a heaping batch of blueberry pancakes. But, the women folk earned their keep by packing up the trailer and getting it hitched back up to the tow vehicle. A little problem arose, lesson number three, but it was solved and it was time to head home. The Lady rode with Cathy to get experience with helping navigate a larger package rolling down the highway. We regrouped in Sutter Creek and enjoyed getting reacquainted with another Gold Rush community.

We again regrouped in El Dorado where the Lady climbed back aboard and we headed home. Cathy had another chore to attend to, another skill to practice - dumping the black tank.

It was a great weekend and we were again reminded how lucky we are to have so many wonderful close by places to visit.

I should note that Sunday night the Lady booked a campsite on the east side for the girls trip in June.


  1. Thanks Monte,well did the Volvo make it home with you?
    Nice trip and close to home.

  2. This could start a trend. Monte in developed camp grounds. Great pictures need to get back up to the gold country.

  3. I've seen a fair number of bedrock mortars but have never seen one with grooves radiating from the center -- very interesting! I guess it was for catching the acorn flour??

    1. Dan, it is said that the mortars are decorated with petroglyphs, therefore the grooves are artistic.