Schmidt's "Famous Tunnel" now has a group of
"friends" trying to preserve and protect the
the photo to visit their Website.
the photo below to read more about Cerro Gordo.
Gordo now has its own Web site. Click the link below to visit.
Join us at the Nevada Boom
Town History Conference, Feb. 3-5, 2006 in Amargosa, Nevada.
Click the drawing for
is a new publication highlighting the history and legends
California and Nevada.
on the logo for
Dreamin' On A Thanksgiving Day
Cecile Page Vargo
As a child I don't remember a lot about family Thanksgiving
dinners, except that once or twice we got together with relatives in the
San Fernando Valley and sat down to the traditional roasted turkey,
gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, a vegetable of some sort, dinner
rolls, and pumpkin pie. I also have an image of spending the day before
the meal with my cousins sitting under a large tree picking pecans and
eating them. I remember that my father being a baker, he normally had to
work on the major eating holidays of the year, so family Thanksgiving's
were not a big deal most of the time. As a young teenager, I do have
memories of our little family of five getting in the car and heading a
mile up Ocean View Boulevard
from our house. Traditional Thanksgiving weather always seemed to bring
warm dry Santa Anas that cleared the autumn fog and the heavy layers of
smog to reveal great views of the vast body of water that borders the
state of California
from our high foothill vantage point. Driving to enjoy that ocean view
is probably the closest to a Thanksgiving tradition, that I can
Visions Of The First Thanksgiving
While my family Thanksgiving memories are probably not comparable
to most family memories, I do have very strong images in my head of the
Pilgrims first Thanksgiving. Of course that includes the Pilgrims in
their black outfits with oversized white collar and cuffs, the wide brim
hats, and the Indians with painted faces, fringed buckskin outfits, and
head feathers, sitting down to an oversize picnic table feasting on all
the foods mentioned in the previous paragraph and more. And somehow, I
always imagine they enjoyed a bowl of popcorn after it was all said and
done, although I doubt, like many 21st century families, that they sat
down and watched a football game or a
favorite DVD while they ate their popcorn.
and endangered turkey caterpillar (gobble wormus) may have
been served at an early California Thanksgiving celebration if the
Pilgrims had arrived on the Pacific Coast instead of Plymouth
A quick search on the internet and I find that the Pilgrim
Thanksgiving was not at all as most of
have been brainwashed to believe. Let us refer to Edward
Winslow's account of the original 1621 Thanksgiving event in this letter
dated December 12, 1621 which was published the following year and
appeared in chapter 6 of "Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the
Pilgrims at Plymouth":
corn [i.e. wheat] did prove well, and God be praised, we had good
increase of Indian corn and our barley indifferent and good, but our
peas not worth the gathering, we feared they were too late sown. They
came up very well, and blossomed but the sun parched them in the
blossom. Our harvest being gotten in our governor sent four men on
fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together
after we had gathered the fruits of our labors. They four in one day
killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company
almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised
our arms, many of the Indians coming against us, and among the rest
their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three
days we entertained and feasted and they went out and killed five
deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our
governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not
always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the
goodness of god, we are so far from want that we often wish you
partakers of our plenty.
by Harry Cornwell
following the Pilgrim and Piute Thanksgiving in California, the Indians passed a pipe around and told stories, while snacking
on left over piaghi. The dove that flew when they first came
together, and the coyote that howled as the night grew long,
may have inspired this story:
Among the people at the Creation was Haiwee, the most
charming young lady in all the land. She was dressed in a soft gray
gown, and we now call her the dove. There was also E-sha, the
cunning and tricky coyote, who was a doctor in general practice. His
principal rival was Que-da-goy-goy, the magpie. Another little old
man, in bright green and blue, named So-ah-hi, we call the humming
bird. Near the lake lived an old hermit, the mudhen, with
unbelievable healing powers.
Esha tried to meet Haiwee, who avoided him. When a chance
came he offered her everything, even a pearl necklace, a most valued
possession because it guaranteed ownership to the owner's
descendants. Dove declined his gifts.
By chance, while hunting, Esha saw Quedagoygoy place a
bronze-blue necklace around haiwee's neck, in token of their
marriage. Enraged, he later sought the campfire with arrows dipped
in rattlesnake venom. He drew his arrow on one whom he took to be
Quedagoygoy, but as the eagle and the sagehen interrupted his deed
he saw that he had aimed at the crow.
The next day he sought the dove, who asked him for a knife to
remove a sliver from her finger. He gave her a poisoned arrow
instead. She became ill, and Coyote was called to doctor her. She
got worse, and coyote blamed Rattlesnake for her condition. Then
Humming Bird was called in, and blamed Coyote. Coyote decided that
he didn't want Dove to die, so he went after Mudhen. But Mudhen knew
he was coming, and filled his tepee with so dense a smoke that when
Coyote plunged in he was almost suffocated. Mudhen refused to go
unless Coyote would give up the precious pearl. At last coyote
agreed to give the pearl if Dove were saved. Under Mudhen's
ministrations she recovered.
Coyote was blamed for her illness, but denied his guilt. He
challenged Magpie to a test of marksmanship, the winner to take Dove
as his bride. The crowd objected, but Magpie was willing, and gave
Coyote the pick of his arrows. Coyote shot at the mark and missed,
then claimed that he had slipped and it was not a fair test. Magpie
magnanimously gave him two more arrows, taking only one himself.
Coyote shot again, almost piercing the center of the mark. Magpie
shot, striking the center exactly. Magpie again gave Coyote a
chance, leaving it to Dove to make her choice. Magpie was chosen.
Then came a great change, and every one except Coyote, who
was despised by all, was permitted to choose his way of living.
Mudhen announced that he would always bear the pearl on his bill, in
token of coyote's disgrace. The glossy necklace is still to be seen
on Dove's neck.
Story of Inyo
We're back on the road again!
on the photo for current schedule details.
Our 2005 tours are history! Thanks
to all who joined us on our dirt road travels.
Our 2006 schedule will be
available in December.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
for additional information or reservations.
Explore Historic California!
Not too many years ago, the family station wagon was the
magic carpet to adventure. Today, that family station wagon is likely to
be a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle or pick up truck. SUV's and
other 4x4's are one of the best selling classes of vehicles. Ironically,
industry statistics show that once purchased, few owners will dare to
drive their vehicles off the paved highway. Click your mouse through our
website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them.
If you are interested in taking one of our guided tours with your
vehicle, please contact us at: email@example.com.
Several years ago, we bought our first SUV. We went to a one-night class
at a local community college entitled "How to 4-Wheel Drive" by Harry Lewellyn.
The following weekend we attended the hands-on day tour. We liked what we were
doing so much that we began going out nearly every weekend and learned how to
negotiate a variety of dirt roads. Our spare time was spent doing research on
the history and ecology of our favorite areas. A one-day outing turned into 16
years of leading others on mini-vacations throughout Southern California and the
Our 4WD outings involve driving on easy to moderate dirt roads and are
ideally suited to novice and intermediate level drivers. All tours are suitable
for stock vehicles in good condition, although some tours do have vehicle size
Our tours are
operated under permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S.
Forest Service, and other authorities.
We share our knowledge of the backcountry over the CB radio with our
guests. We frequently stop to explore mining areas, old and new, and ponder the
rocks, plants and animals we may encounter. We'll occasionally visit an old
cabin or deserted mountain lookout.
California has a fascinating history, from geologic unrest and
prehistoric petroglyph scribes to the "Radium Queen of the Mojave" and the
"Human Mole of Black Mountain." Load up your 4X, fasten your seatbelts and get
ready to explore historic California.
Roger, Cecile and Marty