Hidden California Travel Blog

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Welcome to our new travel blog. Where do our readers like to go? Please tell us about your favorite California travel spots with one or two images to share, and we may post them here.

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Bridgeport Bridge

Bridgeport Bridge
Bridgeport, CA


One of the most beautiful bridges in Nevada County, if not in all of the Gold Country, is the Bridgeport covered bridge on the South Fork of the Yuba River in the South Yuba River State Park. The present road to French Corral, Nevada County, leaves Highway 20 midway between Smartville and Rough and Ready. That paved road twists and turns for 5 miles before passing close by the longest single-span covered bridge in the nation.

The 233-foot-long Bridgeport Bridge, or Wood's Crossing, was originally constructed in 1862 and was part of the Virginia Turnpike Company Toll Road that served the northern mines and traffic to and from Virginia City and the Comstock Lode in Nevada. More than a century ago, pioneers and miners paid a $2 toll to drive their wagons and horses across the river. Now, traffic is limited to pedestrians only and there is no toll.

On October 20, 1997, there was a flood on the South Yuba River that almost took out the bridge. It was 135 years old at the time and workers put in 10-hour days making repairs on the landmark wooden bridge. But it still needs more work. On April 24, 2014 the State Assembly Budget Subcommittee voted 4-0 to support the State Senate's recommendation to fully fund restoration of the bridge. Visitor Center hours: 11am to 4pm all days from Memorial Day to Labor Day and Thursday to Sunday from Labor Day to Memorial Day.

Hubcap Ranch

The Hubcap Ranch
Pope Valley, CA

Hubcap driveway

Wouldn't you stop if you were driving along and came to a spot that has more than 5,000 hubcaps, hundreds of old license plates, highway signs of every description, odd-shaped tail lights that defy counting, and zillions of beverage can bottoms fashioned into little fans that twinkle in the sun? Such a spot can be found north of Pope Valley on the road to Middletown. It is rather difficult to miss because the entrance stands out like a diamond in the rough.

The man behind this unusual collection was Italian-born Litto Damonte, who spent most of his life in San Francisco before retiring to Pope Valley in 1942. The hubcap king started his collection of "highway art" by nailing pieces to the garage in back of his home. Over the years his collection grew to the point where it covers the house, patio, porch, trees, fences and outbuildings.

"Anything that hit the ground and broke, he made into art," says his grandson Mike Damonte."He really liked anything that was shiny." In 1987, two years after Litto died, Hubcap Ranch was named a State Historic Landmark, complete with a plaque proclaiming it an "exceptional twentieth century folk art environment." Mike Damonte took over the ranch in 1982 and has been a faithful servant of the hubcaps, allowing a steady stream of car clubs, preschools, European tourists and biker gangs to stop and gaze upon the gleaming assemblage.

If you go, be polite and quiet, people live there!

Olema Fault Line

Earthquake Walks
Olema, CA and
Pt. Arena, CA

Point Arena Cove

When we talk about land movement, we normally associate it with big real estate deals that boggle the mind. But in the case of a little spot near Olema, in Marin County, we're talking about earth-shaking news! In 1906, the San Andreas Fault shook, rattled and rolled, causing widespread damage throughout California.

At Olema, the effects were noted mostly by terrain movement. Fences and trees moved more than 10 feet, primarily because the Pacific Plate and the Eastern Plate converge at this point. Pressure between the two plates far below the surface builds up over time, setting up stresses that cause upheavals when they let go. During the 1906 upheaval, the Point Reyes Peninsula moved 16.4 feet to the northwest.

Just west of Olema, Bear Valley, which is a part of the Point Reyes National Park, offers visitors the opportunity to walk the earthquake trail and learn more about our shifting and ever-changing world. A short paved loop explores the Fault Zone and interpretive signs describe the geology of the area. This trail begins at the southeast corner of the Bear Valley Picnic Area, across the street from the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

A lesser-known place to view the San Andreas Fault is from Point Arena Cove in Mendocino County. One could say that the fault's lowest point is in the Pacific Ocean west of Point Arena. You can have lunch at the wharf and enjoy a glass of wine while looking across the cove to the telltale streaks in the cliff, hoping that they don't move anytime soon.






Please tell us about your favorite California travel spots!






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