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Where Have All the Boxcars Gone?

After I tagged along on the North & East Patrol last Tuesday night  (CBS-5 Features North and East Patrol, November 25, 2009), Shirley and I got up early Wednesday and drove to Carson City, NV, where I had to scope out an energy conservation program for the Carson City Federal Building. Interactive Resources will be specifying a window upgrade, solar photovoltaic panels and other retrofits for the 1960s era structure.


It was a head start on a Thanksgiving weekend with family near Graeagle in Plumas County.








Iíve never been to Carson City before. The newer part is about as ugly as a town can get, splayed out along a strip (US 395) of casinos, fast food and shopping centers. The older part, dating from the 1860s, including a short but civilized part of the strip adjacent to the capitol building, is quite nice. We stayed in a bed and breakfast about a block from the Governorís Mansion and took a walking tour Thanksgiving morning of homes dating from the 1860s through the end of the 19th Century.








As a part of my casino research pertinent to Richmond, we invested $20 in dollar slots. Although we were up $70 at one time, we eventually gave it all back to the house. The lesson is that what is wagered in Carson City stays in Carson City.












Driving up 395 near the California/Nevada border, we spotted thousands of boxcars stored on an unused track paralleling the highway near Hallelujah Junction. You donít see many boxcars on trains anymore; I guess this is one of the places old boxcars go to die. A couple of days later, we saw similar lines of boxcars on sidings along the Feather River Canyon UP tracks.
















Thanksgiving dinner, with our entire family there, was hosted by Danielís in-laws, Bob Knight and Donatella Scabini, at their vacation home near Graeagle. We did this last year but spent the entire Thanksgiving day and well into the evening searching for our dogs who had plunged into the Feather River Canyon and crossed the river but were reluctant to swim back across the icy water. This time, they stayed on leash the entire time.








On Friday, we drove up into the Plumas National Forest to cut Christmas trees. You have to buy a permit, with limit of two per person. Itís kind of like hunting without guns, searching for the perfect but elusive silver fir, cutting it and tying it to your car like a trophy. Just like a deer, you have to attach the permit to the tree to show you possess it legally. Fresh snow was over a foot deep, but no one got stuck, and the hunt was successful.









On the way back, we stopped at a city park in Davis to pick olives. We have olive trees in our yard, but between the cool weather and the olive fly, there is not much of a crop. The City of Davis has a policy of planting fruit trees in city parks and encouraging people to harvest the fruit. The location of the best olives changes from year to year. By the time we found the best trees, it was getting dark, and we only got about five gallons. We like to have twice that much to last a year.







If you want to go pick olives in Davis, take the Mace Boulevard exit just north of central Davis, head south and take a right on San Marino. Look for the park at the cul de sac where the street ends. There are lots of olive curing instructions on the Internet. We brine cure ours.