Miners & Cowboys

When last we left you we were crawling through Labor Day Monday traffic going over Donner Pass.
The plan was to camp on the Bear River just outside of Colfax, Ca. Colfax was about halfway to Sacramento from Tahoe. We needed to do some touch-ups to the camper before showing it off to a potential customer in Sacramento. Cate is promoting a Mobile Mural company for painting food trucks, campers, etc. After a brief stop at the car wash to rinse the dust off of TrayTray, we wound our way through the hills and down to Bear River campground. This was to be the first time we payed for camping since our last minute Zion camp last fall. The campground was unexpectedly full, considering it was the end of the holiday weekend. We deftly backed into a narrow spot on the riverbank and unloaded the generator, bike, and chairs. It didn’t take long for one of our neighbors to swing by and complain about the generator. It also didn’t take long for us to charm-to-disarm our new friend.

His name was Happy, and he had been living and prospecting at Bear River since may. He seemed to be the mayor of the campground, and gave us the low down on crime/ gold/ history and he makes a damn fine cup of joe! Bear Creek was the spark that fired the gold rush, and apparently they have only found %15 of the gold in placer county. We just happened to have a gold pan on us and in the subsequent three days tried our hand at panning. We did not come away empty handed though. We had our lucky strike! Here is a picture of our magnificent nugget.

While collecting supplies to work on the camper, we were referred to an awesome vintage RV parts store in Sacramento. It was time for a day trip! We took of in search of RV Dr. George, and find him we did! What an incredible place…. an entire warehouse filled with every conceivable RV part, old or new. Hubcaps, fans, trim, stoves, windows, awnings…. I could had stayed there for days and spent an entire year’s pay. We got off light however and only purchased a vent Motor I had been looking for.
With the RV clear-coated, screens redone, some extra stain on the wood, and some general touchup, it was time to make our move to Davis. Cate’s father had met a man at a retreat who was a rancher with an interest in Airstreams. He had kindly offered us a place to park while Cate did her commission. Pete was phenomenal! A wiry cowboy with a huge personality and a heart of gold. He let us park beside his barn and hook up to his power. Although Cate’s job ultimately fell through we enjoyed our stay. Pete invited us out to one of his other ranches on Lake Berryessa to see if we wanted to park there for a while. The lake was gorgeous, and just so happens to be the same lake that has the giant hole in it! See below!

Pete’s barn also had a stock pen that could hold Maggie and Franks, and although Frankie complained a lot we were able to get away without animals for breakfast at Posh Bagels (Cate’s new fave… considering the Great Bagel Debacle in Jackson) and even a date night. We even made it to the movies! BTW, go see the new IT movie, it was great! On our last night in Davis, Pete invited us to a land trust function. There was plenty of great California wine and local small bites. We got to hobnob with valley bigwigs! Fun Stuff!

Pete invited us to go on a cattle drive with him in Nevada, but it was time for us to be heading towards Oregon. The summer is drawing to a close and hopefully the fires in Oregon are too. Frankie had to say goodbye to her annoying six toed kittens, and the cage she hated so much. Hooked up and headed North, we thought fondly about Pete and hope to see him soon. Just as the sun set we were settling into possibly our final campsite before Grant’s Pass, on the side of mount Shasta.


  1. Love your posts so much. Grew up in those areas and finally graduated HS in Oregon. Just reading the names of the towns and lakes and your descriptions brings back wonderful memories.

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