Visiting Auburn

Auburn sits in the Sierra foothills about forty miles northeast of Sacramento. In November, it glows with reds, yellows and the dark greens of evergreen against a blue sky, or, as we had, a blue sky filled with brush strike of white wisps. The town’s population is about 14,000 and it’s the county seat of Placer County.

Baby, official host of the American Made Homes office.

Baby, official host of the American Made Homes office.

We went there last week because Linda was in town and needed to complete some paperwork as part of her plan to put a modular home on a lot she owns in Sonoma. Since Auburn is a three-hour drive from where she was staying, we decided we’d stay over if necessary. I had visions of lots of time to take photos, find a local regional park and maybe even visit the river. None of that quite happened.

The paperwork took 6.5 hours the first day and 3 hours the second. I had a book, and I played about seventeen games of Solitaire on my phone. Once in a while I zoned in to listen to the discussion. It was interesting and I may have learned a bit more about modular homes than I knew before. Here are a couple of nuggets: they are NOT mobile homes (that you probably knew); they are under their own, specific federal code sections, and probably California building code sections too; like a liquor license, a modular home must be included in a trust if there is one for estate planning purposes. Who knew?

Because I recently was the victim, er, recipient of mansplaining by a complete stranger in a deli, I was somewhat entertained, in a turn-the-tables way, when my friend “lindasplained” the Sonoma Count plan check process to the contractor who assembled six modular homes in Sonoma County in the last year. It didn’t matter that he is a professional and his experience was current, not in Linda’s mind. I did have a moment of thinking, “Dude, now you know how women feel all the time.”

The California, a bar with some fine neon.

The California, a bar with some fine neon.

We also had rain, which made the first day trip into old town discouraging for pictures. The historic area is well restored and very touristy, which I didn’t mind. I got a few good pics, including maybe a candidate for this year’s holiday card. We went to lunch, then went back to the office at 2:30 for the second round of discussions that ended about 7:15. By a quirk of fate, our hotel was about three minutes away from the modular home brokerage office.

Old "Glass Beads" advertising painted on brick wall.

Old “Glass Beads” advertising painted on brick wall.

We stayed at the Red Lion Inn and Suites. I would describe the hotel experience as Not Good. It wasn’t as bad as Bad, but still. The one person on duty in the lobby was friendly and nice. She gave us our keys and directed us to parking, telling us to come in through the double doors. We were in Room 126. I assumed, based on some experience with other hotels, that once we found 122 and 124 we might be close to 126. That assumption was not correct. We were close to room 118, which came after 124. On the other side of the hall, we were already into the 130s. I walked all the way down to Room 138, and decided there was no logical way 126 could be down there. I was right; there was no logical way, but there was apparently some non-logical way because 126 was down the hall across from room 143.

Continuing the slight sense of dislocation, when we got into the room I noticed that the clock was one hour ahead, because no one had changed it from the time change the previous Sunday. So the room was out of numerical order, and out of time as well. In retrospect, I’m starting to like the room a little bit more!

The cable in our room did not work, and the front desk said they could move us to another room because the cable company had said it was too late to come out. (So, when they gave us the room, they knew the cable wasn’t functioning.) I had visions of us wandering the halls for another hour, and Linda was just tired, so we said no.

The bed was comfortable. The bathroom was clean but there were gray spots in the corner above the shower, where moisture is collecting and encouraging something to grow, or where, maybe, in the past, they had a leak. There was no ice container in the room. I went to the lobby and after hunting for a few minutes the staffer found one, but she didn’t mention that the ice machine on the first floor wasn’t operational. I found the stairs, eventually, and a functioning ice machine.

The next morning we did go downtown first. We had breakfast at the Edelweiss 2. The food was good, and plentiful. I had the “mini-breakfast” which would have fed me and at least one other person. Serving staff were friendly, attentive, and very busy.

Auburn Courthouse and Museum, not open Veteran's Day weekend.

Auburn Courthouse and Museum, not open Veteran’s Day weekend.

The majestic building that is both the courthouse and a museum was closed for the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend. We shopped, we got coffee at Auburn Coffee and had a great chat with the two male baristas, who referred us to the Edelweiss.

Auburn's joss house, a part of the Chinese legacy of the railroad.

Auburn’s joss house, a part of the Chinese legacy of the railroad.


Back at the office, Linda finished up the paperwork. I wanted to spend some time in Grass Valley, another small gold country town about half an hour away.

The "Ladies Entrance" of the Owl Tavern was both discreet and discrete.

The “Ladies Entrance” of the Owl Tavern was both discreet and discrete.

We drove there. The town has revived somewhat since the last time I was there and I thought it looked good, but Linda commented on how many empty storefronts there were. It was drizzly and cold.

The Nevada County Bank Building

The Nevada County Bank Building

We went to Booktown, a fascinating 4,0000 square foot used book collective, to a rock shop that specialized in polished crystals, and to the Cult of Gemini, a genuine Wicca shop on Mill Street, and by then, it was time to head home.

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