So way back when, we spent a lot of time at, and on, Lake Berryessa. Very rarely did we ever drive to the north end of the lake, but we did putt up here in the boat once in a while. I can remember seeing the ranches on the east side of the lake, and a road.
Asked my dad a couple of times how you got over there?
It was then that he told me that there used to be a town here before they built the lake. Now to a seven or eight year old, building a lake was a BIG deal. How on earth do you build a lake?
I always enjoyed the lake, especially in my teens (and High School cut days) but being the history buff that I've always been, I thought it was sad. Not sure at what age that I realized that they had flooded an entire valley, and destroyed a town to make that lake.
And somewhere in those early years, dear old dad told me that there was another town on up the road called Knoxville. "But it's a ghost town now, used to be a gold mine up there."
Ghost town? Gold mine?
Guess who bugged dad to no end to take him up there.
So to appease the "Dad, dad, dad, dad..." we set off one Saturday to go see what we could find.
AND, dad packed along the old .22 pistol.
I'm sure I probably popped off that night with "This was the best day of my life Dad!" what with looking for a ghost town and a gold mine. Neither of which we ever found, but we did find an old panel truck we could shoot at.
Now once you get passed the north end of the lake, the road gets really narrow, and has those cool water crossings.
Then sometime in the 70's we discovered BLM land up there that was designated a "off road vehicle area". And it was a safe place to go target shooting. One of the trips up there later, when I was around thirteen or so, he let me drive our old Datsun truck. Another "Best day of my life" moment.
AND... They found gold again! They opened up the Homestake Mining Company nearby and the area was booming again.
But as with any gold mine, like the first one up there, it ran out. And when they close down a mine now, they start to erase it for environmental purposes. Buildings, GONE, pits, filled in, collection ponds are treated over & over. All that's left is a lot of land where stuff used to be.
Behind locked gates.
So of course when my son was old enough to learn to shoot, we took off for Knoxville with the same old Ruger 22, and spent the day roaming the hills in the truck looking for that fabled gold mine that they might have overlooked, and shooting bricks of 22. And of course, I took him to the old panel van for target practice.
So now when I cruise the area on the bike, it's a real sentimental ride with lots of great memories.
And that old panel van? That was used by who knows how many of hundred target shooters?
Yep, still there.
Thanks for coming along for the ride down memory lane.