Washington

Map of Washington289With so much attention focused on “that other Washington”, maybe we should step back and take a day trip to the one that’s closer to home. Marvel at the beauty of fall leaves turning color, the spectacular view from the overlook on Hiway 20, a juicy burger on the deck of the hotel, and then on to the serenity of just sitting on a rock at the Yuba, contemplating your navel. There aren’t any car chases, or disturbed individuals setting themselves on fire, or insane, pontificating politicians. This is the world as it ought to be.

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9 Responses to Washington

  1. Great advice Bob. Our recent visit to ‘our’ Washington confirms your picture and prescription.

  2. Ryan Mount says:

    My favorite part of this town is how the locals just stand in the street and hang out. Also the swimming hole just outside of town, by the bridge is bitchin’.

    • rlcrabb says:

      Washington is an anomaly in Nevada County. It is one of the few places left untouched by progress. No coffee shops, overpriced foo-foo restaurants, huge yuppie Mcmansions, or tourist traps. The residents tend to be ragged and a little gruff. The Fourth of July parade has to traverse the main road through town two or three times to last more than fifteen minutes. It endures despite the chaos of the the civilized world.
      If only people would give the thought, the care, the judgement to international affairs, to politics, even to their jobs, that they lavish on what to wear to a masquerade, the world would run on greased grooves. -John Steinbeck, Sweet Thursday
      Washington is our Cannery Row.

      • Ryan Mount says:

        Profound. Your comment is so insightful, that the inner hoarding conservative part of my brain wishes we wouldn’t talk about it and keep it secret.

        But maybe that’s the point? Even if hoards of tourists descend upon the Washington, it won’t change. But look what happened to Cannery Row!

        So if our country produces another Steinbeck, let’s hope s/he doesn’t write about Washington lest we end up with an aquarium.

        • rlcrabb says:

          Yeah, there’s a part of me that says I should just shut up and not attract attention to the sleepy little hamlet of Washington, but I know that eventually the old coots and miners and river rats will die off and the culture vultures will swoop in and gentrify the town. But then I have to consider that if someone doesn’t leave a record of what Washington was and still is, its history will be confined to another monument of California’s reviled gold rush days. No one will remember that the old crumbling hotel almost became a drug rehab center, a vision that caused the town to collectively soil itself. And it might have happened if Hank DeCorte hadn’t stepped up and bought the place. In the following years he and his wife, Mama Su Morgan, lovingly restored the building, brought it up to code, and kept it as it was meant to be: the civic center and watering hole where most of the town’s business was conducted over whiskey and horseshoes.
          The hotel holds a special place in my heart. Like the weekend the Shifters took over the place for a toga party. The night was one of those magic moments that are all too rare in life. Old friends I hadn’t seen in years showed up. We danced the night away, and when we drug ourselves out of those soft feather beds in the morning, we discovered a light snow had covered the town in a sheet of sparkling white crystals.
          A few years later, Mary Ann and I were married in the yard outside, next to the barbecue pits. It had been raining like crazy for weeks before the event, but providence and the sun came out and saved us from a soggy ceremony.
          Nothing lasts forever, but I do hope that when civilization comes to Washington, it will be after I’m long gone.

  3. Brad Croul says:

    Cool map, Bob!
    I see potential income stream creating maps imbued with your unique style!

  4. Don Baumgart says:

    Su once told me the class of people staying at the hotel was improving. “It’s great to have people here who want to look at the river from the deck rather than pissing off it.”

  5. Chris Peterson says:

    Having made my share of trips up there alone, and with Su or Rick Williams, what I loved about it was that it was like taking a trip back to my youth, when things were as they were growing up, and no one expected anything of me, good or bad.

    Inevitably, having danced the night away at the hotel and woken up in a new bed or on the couch of a good friend, there was always that sinking feeling that the brief glimpse of mental freedom was gone, and it was back to town for another dose of the idiocy that NC had become for me.

    And you’re absolutely right; call it paradise and kiss it goodbye. Maybe that’s the secret; you have to have a connection to it to really love it, ’cause it ain’t no paradise at first blush. Others just see it as a run-down little town in the hills by a river. Long may it have that effect.

  6. LTodd says:

    Nice! I was just in Washington last week taking photos of Poorman’s creek for a little research project. Many times my family picnicked in a spot just above the bridge. Watermelons cooling at the water’s edge, floating downstream in a real inner tube, and Shasta sodas opened with a church key. Ahhh.

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