|The tour began on Saturday morning with a quick bite with coffee, pastries and good conversation at the Timber Lodge in Roseville. Then we were off on the back-roads towards Reno through some of the forgotten gold country towns, over the Sierras to Reno. Our motto was “no Interstates”. Our caravan made a grand parade thought the main drag of old Nevada City for a quick stop and then on to Downieville for lunch. Downieville now has only 300 residents whereas during the gold rush heyday it boasted over 3000 rowdy miners. The wooden sidewalks, false front stores, and quaint town square reminded us of its once vibrant and colorful history. Out of Downieville our route took us up the Yuba River climbing over two passes near the 7000 foot elevation. Here the luxuriant pine forests were sprinkled with patches of Aspen trees in full color.
Arriving at our hotel in Reno, the Siena, had arranged special parking for our gold country traveling mechanical gems. After a short cocktail hour at the hotel, we walked across the street to the National Automobile Museum (NAM), where we had a special catered dinner inside the galleries of the NAM. After dinner, wine glasses in hand, we had the NAM to ourselves. We wandered among the horseless carriages of the 1900’s, the classics of the ’20-30’s and wild and wonderful cars of the ’50’s –‘60’s. Good memories were sparked by the sights of the old Duseys, Stanley Steamers, the movie stars cars, or the hot rods and vintage race cars. Many thought that this visit to NAM was the highlight of the weekend.
Sunday morning dawned bright and clear for our short drive up the mountain to Virginia City. The views of the Carson Valley were beautiful as we snaked up the winding road to the old mining town. Maybe the bright morning sunshine made Virginia City look a bit worn about the edges, but its history made this famous gold and silver mining capital come alive. We saw old boot hill cemeteries, old saloons, old churches, and of course, wooden sidewalks and false front stores.
After lunch, we concluded our gold country/ Reno cruise with hugs and handshakes as everyone left for home. We all will have memories of the great weather, smooth winding roads through the spectacular Sierra mountains. We’ll all remember the dinner at NAM, where the “cars are the stars”. But the friendships made during the weekend were the “gold standard” that we took away from this gold country cruise in our prized mechanical gems.|