Why This Blog?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Moving Time

Non-river posts on this blog are slowly being copied to another blog, "Bill's Two-Lane Travels: On the Rural Roads of Northern California," at http://billtwoltravels.blogspot.com/ .  Future non-river posts will not appear on this blog but will be on my two-lane travels blog.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Ah, Platina. When Yvonne “Sue” Mills died, she left behind a plaque that said, “Her soul is in heaven but her heart is in Platina.” You can read that plaque on a bench on the porch of the Platina Store.

Or you can step inside, eat a great burger, and buy a shirt that tells you in Platina you have left the world three miles behind.

Some 200 people live in and around Platina, according to Wikipedia. Nearby is the Saint Herman of Alaska Monastery, a monastic community of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Also nearby is the R-Wild Horse Ranch, a resident-owned, family oriented recreational property. Other than that, it’s hill-and-forest country, with a few cattle and people thrown in.

The town was founded as Noble's Station in
1902 by Don Noble. It served as a stage stop for stagecoaches traveling to and from Red Bluff and points west. A boarding house, general store, and post office were located in the settlement.

During the 1920s, platinum was discovered in a nearby creek, causing Noble's Station to become known as "Platina," an alloy of platinum and other metals.

Platina is 45 miles west of Red Bluff via California Route 36. The route is a favorite of motorcyclists. To see why, go to YouTube and enter “California Route 36" in the search window.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Igo and Ono; Down the Ditch Grade

There I was, up to my fetlocks in the dung of this year's presidential politics, and I wanted to get away from it all.

(Incidentally, if you've read this piece on my Facebook page, you don't have to read it again here. There'll be no test.)

I wanted to go for a drive in the country. Not the country around Sacramento–I’ve seen enough of that–I wanted to see Igo and Ono.

Signs hint at ponderous possibilities, such as the population of Igo is zero, or unknown, and the pace of life is faster in Ono.

The names sound like two kids quarreling.

"I go."

"Oh, no!  I go!"

"OH, NO!  I GO!"

Igo and Ono are towns in the hills southwest of Redding, out in the boonies. Six miles of pavement separate the two. They share a common elementary school and the same volunteer fire department.

Don’t ask me where the names came from. The web offers folklore versions and guesses about biblical or Native American origins.

Each has its own general store–the Igo Store and the grandly named Ono Store and International Cafe.

And they feed into a great drive down Platina Road and the Ditch Grade. There’s a lot of twisting and turning in that stretch of road, with up- and down-hill grades, switchbacks, blind curves, few pullouts, little or no shoulders, and light traffic.   Curious naming is present here too, as you pass Gogo and Nono Roads, both of which appear to be privately owned.

The drive is a rural one, populated by scofflaw cattle that freely saunter across solid double yellow lines

And every now and then a barn appears to let you know that this really is farm country.

Then there's the dive (not drive; you read it right) down Ditch Grade.

Views from Ditch Grade are truly impressive--forested canyons, deep valleys, and endless skyline. And the views ought to be good, with no guardrail in the way.  And it’s one very, very long plunge to the bottom of the “ditch.”

Just for the heck of it, I pulled into a rare turnoff and punched up my cell phone: “No Service.”

At the bottom of Ditch Grade, the town of Platina could be worth seeing, but I saved that for another day.


From downtown Redding, take Placer Street west-southwest.  Placer Street becomes Placer Road, then County Road A-16.  A-16 goes into Igo, then intersects with Platina Road. Go right onto Platina Road and stick with that all the way to the town of Platina.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Northern California Veterans Cemetery

(You can’t believe a lot of stuff you read in the blogs.  In February of last year I posted that this blog was kaput, that I would no longer be posting new items.  Well, from time to time I come across a topic that interests me, and it becomes a new item needing a place to be posted.  Therefore, the blog will resume, with an emphasis on the valley and away from the river.  If you’re looking for posts pertinent to the Sacramento River, those are the older entries.  A contents list appears on the right side of the page; a blog-specific search engine is at the upper right.)


I was leaving Redding when I saw a sign pointing the way to the Northern California Veterans Cemetery. Cemeteries are not usually on my itinerary, but being this close was an invitation to at least drive through the place.

The cemetery sits at the top of a hill.  A few clouds scudded by, pushed by a strong wind that set the American flag snapping against its pole.  The flag was at half-staff, an indication that a funeral was in progress.

The public address system softly broadcast the U.S. Navy’s official song, “Anchors Aweigh.” Some two dozen nicely dressed people of various ages stood at a pavilion.  I parked some distance away and stayed in the car.  The group walked from the pavilion to stand by a bank of vaults built to hold cremation urns.

A young woman wearing navy dress blues came out of the administration building and marched toward the group.  She did not walk nor stroll, but marched–back straight, eyes ahead, white-gloved hands cupped the way we were shown on the first day of basic training.

Near the edge of the group she stopped, stood at attention, and saluted.  A man in the group saluted her to return the greeting.

As she walked up to the group, two young men in navy dress blues left the administration building and marched toward the group.  One man carried a triangularly folded American flag, the flag that is presented to next of kin at a military funeral.  The other man carried a cremation urn.

As they melded into the group, “Anchors Aweigh” stopped playing.  Four gray-haired men got out of a car parked nearby.  One carried a bugle; the others carried rifles.  They wore black, their jackets showing the emblem of a veterans service organization such as the American Legion, VFW, or Amvets–from where I was parked I couldn’t read the emblems.

They formed into a line facing the group.  The bugler played a flawless rendition of Taps.  Then the riflemen fired the traditional three-volley salute.

It had been a short, profound ceremony, respectful and moving.  I could not blame the wind for the tears welling up in my eyes.

Directions: The Northern California Veterans Cemetery is just south of Redding, at 11800 Gas Point Road. Gas Point Road is accessible from Interstate 5, going westbound at Exit 664, 145 miles north of downtown Sacramento.

(A similar version of this post appeared for a time on my Facebook page.)

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Blog Is Dormant

Thanks for visiting this blog.  I am no longer posting new entries, but will update previous posts as needed.


Updated May 5, 2016.  None of the above is true.  I resumed posting to this blog in May 2016.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Winners of the Annual Cold, Dead Fish Awards" (Article)

It's not often I get to read an article that nails all the villains--that is, all as far as I can count--in California's water mismanagement.   But just such an article appeared in Monday's East Bay Express

The article, by Dan Bacher, is "Meet The Biggest Threats to California's Environment: The Winners of the Annual Cold, Dead Fish Awards."  

Bacher runs through a substantial list of baddies and their offenses.  Topping Bacher's list is the state's governor:
In recent California history, it is hard to find a governor who has overseen more destruction of California's fish, waterways, and environment than Jerry Brown, yet the mainstream media and corporate "environmental" nonprofits continue to falsely portray Brown as a "green" governor.
The piece, an education about environmental villainy, can be read by clicking HERE .


Sunday, February 1, 2015

More Rock Art; Or, the Only Known Sighting of the Rock-Chested Gravel Dodo

Elsewhere in this blog is a post (HERE) about rock art at the Watt Avenue Bridge over the American River in Sacramento.  I ended that post by whining about pushing my rickety knees across the roughness of the gravel bar where the rock artist works.  There was a hint that I might not come back.

But, armed with a walking stick and Ibuprofen, I went back.  The day was just too beautiful to not be on the river.  A man was actually swimming from the opposite bank.  February 1.

I took the photographs shown here.  You can treat the first two like pictures in a Rorschach inkblot test. What are your perceptions of what is being depicted?  

I've never been any good at interpreting symbols, and all I see are rocks.

But keep in mind that it is Superbowl Sunday.  Maybe the tall figure is a disgruntled fan.  Or a ticked-off spouse whose mate has been rooted in front of the TV for so long that tendrils have bored through the carpet.

One never knows about these things.

And what is that perched on top of the tall figure?

A bird? With its chest puffed out beneath its little head?

Actually it is a bird, a species so rare that only one has been spotted, this one. 

It goes into the record books as a Rock-Chested Gravel Dodo.

And now it's time for a little intra-family promotion.  For more on the American River, click on https://americanriverramblings.wordpress.com/ .   That's the link to a blog recently started by our youngest son, Mark.  Although my posts are about rock art on the American, I have very little to say about that river.  The Sacramento gives me enough work.